Although we have moved on from the last series of posts where I examined the ‘Closed Universe’ of my background and tradition – I was reminded today that part of belonging to that universe was a distinct ‘them and us’ attitude – although it would not be couched in such stark terms.
Of course this is far from an issue reserved for religious people. It has been found in every culture, tribe and tradition since the creation of the human race. In or out – belonging or not belonging – our village or outsider – local or incomer – and so the list could go on. Continue Reading
In our last post we ended by asking how the simplicity we see in the teaching of Jesus morphed into abusive systems of religion, which, in concert with the state has caused so much war, killing, abuse and persecution.
This is true both in the history of the Catholic and Protestant movements and their various branches such as, in my own background and universe, the Calvinist/ Reformed tradition here in Scotland which we examined in more detail in our last post. Continue Reading
Sometimes in life it is an off the cuff comment or sudden realisation that changes completely how you see things or even changes how you comprehend your universe. Such was the case for me a few years ago when I happened to read the statistics of literacy throughout the ages. Even as late as 1820 it is estimated only 12% of the people in the world could read and write.
One of the watchwords of the ‘Reformed’ tradition, in which I was brought up, is ‘Sola Scriptura’. Most traditional reformed theologians emphasise the Bible as the unique means by which God communicates with men and women. Of course this raises a very serious issue. What about the other 88% in 1820 – and what about the millions of people who lived before them? Was it not until after this time that the bulk of the world’s population could know God? Continue Reading
This post and those that follow in this short series are of necessity longer than normal. So I will gave a spoiler alert at the beginning. If any of the following applies to you then you need not read these posts any further.
- You are happy to live inside your closed universe.
- You have no interest in any spiritual aspect of life outside your universe.
- If you are religious and you believe your church, denomination, tradition or group is the only true one.
- You do not have any nagging questions about your belief system.
- You are happy to be told what to think.
On the other hand if you have questions about any of the above – perhaps this post will be worth reading. Continue Reading
On the beach near Cairnbulg, some four miles east of Fraserburgh in North-East Scotland, on the morning of 10th May 1878, there is a bitter, bone chilling wind blowing. Looking out we see a lonely bedraggled woman scouring the shoreline. She is weak with the cold, broken in spirit and desperate. Christian Watt is searching for the body of her husband who had, a few days before, been lost to the sea upon which he had made a living. Continue Reading