Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christian Atheism

It seems at the moment that all the challenging thinking is coming from outside my tradition. Recently an Eastern Orthodox writer challenged me on worship. Now another writer - Fr Stephen Freeman - has challenged me about my tendency to act as if I live in a two-storey universe. Here is an excerpt from his book "Everywhere present":

"What has been an integrated vision of God and humankind, of the divine and the created, in the "one-storey universe" has become a dualistic segregation of God from human life in the "two-storey" model, in which God is absent from the first floor, and people begin to wonder if there is Anyone home up there..... God has not disappeared from our world, but we have tried to exile Him to the second floor.

One of the most fundamental principles of the Christian vision of reality is that God is present everywhere, filling all things. This underlies the essential Christian task of becoming consciously aware of that Presence and bringing that awareness into every aspect of our life. Secularism is the compartmentalisation of God and religion, and everything else, into autonomous and unrelated parts of our lives. Secularism does not deny that God exists, but rather states that He has His place and does not necessarily affect other areas of our lives. But soon the compartmentalisation leads to an exclusion of God altogether, as we create a world in which we live by our own reasonings. Thus is born a kind of Christian atheism, where we operate as if God were absent, perhaps even non-existent. This kind of functional atheism then degrades into faithlessness."

From introduction to book by Fr Stephen Freeman called "Everywhere present: Christianity in a one-storey universe "

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