Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales conducted a debate in a bar on the subject of Is Religion Bad? in front of around 50 people, wearing his clergy collar and a sports jacket. A mixture of believers, atheists and drinkers from the bar downstairs combined to create a lively debate.
Statistics published by Amazon suggest that the number of people buying books from it about religion or spirituality has soared in three years by 50 per cent. The increase has outshone all other categories, including history, which has grown by 38 per cent, and politics, which has grown by 30 per cent.
We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.
Churches have been providing sanctuary for illegal immigrants who want to stay in the United States to be with their US born children. Immigration sweeps have mounted since congressional measures to legalize the country’s undocumented immigrants were defeated this summer. Yesterday, one activist was arrested when she left the church grounds.
All eyes seem turned towards the next date on the Anglican Communion calendar, the September meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops will meet in New Orleans. Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola publishes his thoughts and others respond to his statement.
As a theologian Bernard stood in the Augustinian tradition. Like Anselm before him, St. Bernard believed it was necessary to grasp religious truth by faith before one could probe its meaning. His personal mysticism caused Bernard to look from the mind (as in Anselm) to religious experience for certitude.
I’m beginning to wonder if what we experience as children and, for some of us, as parents in this world doesn’t teach us how God functions as a parent/creator in the realm of our Christian faith. When we turn the equivalent of 15 in Christian years (however long that takes for each of us), does God start to treat us differently – not because we’re annoying – but because we’ve earned a measure of trust?