Lent 2012: Day Twenty-Nine

John 10.19 Again the Jews were divided because of these words.

(A suitable Bible verse I think, because of the diversity of opinion in the world, and in the lecture room. We can get along…)

A morning of two theology lectures in Durham University, the lecturers at opposite ends of the spectrum to each other.

The first was a Christian, showing how learning Hebrew can enhance our understanding of a passage. He talked about Abraham and Isaac, and how the idea of sacrifice and miracle has developed. I found it interesting and informative, but did not agree with his theories.

The second was an atheist, but fascinating and enlightening. He did not attack Liberal Christianity; he attacked fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist atheism. Basing his lecture on the writing of German philosopher Nietzsche, he asked if religion spent too much time relying on the transcendent for meaning (never enjoying life in the present moment), and if atheism spent too much time professing the sometimes shaky certainties of empiricism.

He looked more closely at the way in which words are defined, asking questions like ‘what is truth?’, and asking what fundamentalist Christians actually believe. Faith is trusting in something that cannot be proven – by taking a strict and literal reading of the Bible as fact, it is questionable whether they have any faith at all, as they rely completely on the empirical written word of the Bible (as fundamentalist atheists rely completely on the written word of physics and such) whilst the world around us changes and new information springs to light.

I am honoured to have been selected to study there, and hope now that I get the grades I need. If I do not, I know I will have a good and happy time studying in Lampeter, but if that be the case I know that one day I will return to Durham, to live and work.

I made a new friend with me while I was away, who decided to live with me. Meet Charlie…

John 10.19 Again the Jews were divided because of these words.

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