6/7/2008-- Just out and excerpted in May/June Tikkun magazine is Michael Hampson’s book, God Without God: Western Spirituality Without the Wrathful King. I have not read the book yet, but it seems to follow the path begun by John Shelby Spong. Hampson is himself a former Anglican Priest. Hampson seems to be taking progressive Christianity as far as it can go, and maybe further, without leaving Christianity altogether. He writes that he accepts the atheist case against the God of presumptive monotheism.
Oddly, Hampson does not give Christianity enough credit and yet still seems to want to remain a part of it. The atheist case is not just against this wrathful King, but any King, or any creator, or any organizing intelligence. Christianity does not worship a wrathful King and never did. The atheist case is more serious than doing away with Hampson’s straw man God.
On the other hand, if there is no supernatural realm, why continue in the specifically Christian tradition? That is to say, why isn’t Hampson another Hallowed Secularist? I hope to have the chance to ask him that some time.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Michael Hampson: God Without God
Posted by Bruce Ledewitz at 4:38 PM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Google Alerts brought me here. ("Google has the answer".)ReplyDelete
"The atheist case is not just against this wrathful King, but any King, or any creator, or any organizing intelligence."
Of course. You totally underestimate the implications of my explicit rejection of "presumptive monotheism".
The mystery at the heart of the universe - "the ground of all being and the sum of all our ideals" - exists by definition. Presumptive monotheism, which I clearly and explicitly reject, is the presumption that this mystery must have human attributes such as personhood and will. I reject that notion. We may grasp at the mystery using metaphors such as personhood and will (science does exactly the same with its 'photons' and its 'light waves' and the rest) but the metaphor and the reality are not the same.
"Christianity does not worship a wrathful King and never did." Haha. Huge tracts of it do. Perhaps most of it does. The case I make in "God without God" is that the most authoritative documents at the heart of the faith reject not only the wrathful king but all versions of the God of presumptive monotheism: that Christian theology only makes any sense at all (and, equally remarkably, *does* make *brilliant* sense) when the God of presumptive monotheism is rejected.
"On the other hand, if there is no supernatural realm, why continue in the specifically Christian tradition?" ...because there is so much in it that is enriching for body, mind and soul; and indeed there is much more in it that is enriching for body, mind and soul once the God of presumptive monotheism has been despatched.
I am certainly a secularist. I hope I'm hallowed too ;)
"...seems to follow the path begun by John Shelby Spong ... taking progressive Christianity as far as it can go, and maybe further, without leaving Christianity altogether." Most liberals and progressives are crossing out the tenets of the faith one by one - as many as they dare. My radical agenda is that the truly progressive and radical agenda is right there at the heart of the faith waiting to be rediscovered, despite currently being ignored by liberals and fundamentalists alike. We find "hallowed secularism" by going deeper into the heart of the faith, not by playing games on the margins.
Get the book! It explains everything ;)