Saturday, March 08, 2014


by Peter Mullen
March 7, 2014

Christianity is concerned with the absolutes: life and death, good and evil. This is why the church proclaims its doctrines as true. They are dogmas. This is necessarily the case, for what would it mean to announce the words of life and death and to claim to define good and evil if what was being said were only relatively true, fairly true or, as the parody bishop in the satirical newspaper column has it, true in a very real sense? Sometimes I fear the parody is too much like the reality. For over the last century-and-a- half Christian theologians and authorities, speaking under the influence of the so-called higher criticism, have redefined doctrines and dogmas as metaphors or myths to be, following David Strauss (1808-1874) and Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976), demythologised. Thus the bodily resurrection of Christ is identified with the disciples' experience of new life and the feeding of the five thousand is a pretty story telling us that if we share what we have it will go a long way. The Virgin Birth becomes a fairy tale to inform us, after the style of children's TV programmes, that Jesus was someone very special. These interpretations are banal.

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