Anglican Samizdat

October 13, 2009

The John Shelby Spong Delusion

Filed under: Anglican Angst — David Jenkins @ 8:34 pm

Just what we need, another anti-God apologist: retired Anglican bishop John Shelby Spong. Move over Dawkins:

There is no God, there is no heaven and there is no afterlife. At least, not in the way we have traditionally thought of such things.

These days, with atheist arguments topping bestseller lists, such statements might not seem all that contentious.

But when a retired bishop says it, it’s worth noting.

“The institution of the church is more about seeking security than finding the truth,” he says. “It’s tough to be a human being. We seek security, and religion is a coping mechanism.”

But such notions, he says, cannot survive the insights of astronomer Galileo, physicist Isaac Newton and evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. Through them, says Spong, we discovered that the Earth is not the centre of the universe and that there’s space (not heaven) above us, that the workings of the world are due to basic physics (not Godly intervention) and that humans evolved from other creatures.

In his reasons for discarding 2000 years of Christian thinking Spong exhibits a theological naivety that makes the most fervent of fundamentalist atheists look like Thomas Aquinas. Only in Spong’s demented little pataphysical universe do Christians believe that heaven is contained in the material or that there are no physical laws to which the universe conforms. How did this nutter become a bishop?

One presumes that when Spong eventually finds himself in hell – or heaven – he will continue to stoutly maintain that he does not believe in the afterlife; just like the damned Anglican cleric in C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce who didn’t believe in hell even though he inhabited it.


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