Friday, March 11, 2011

Giles Fraser's Thought for the Day, and the Christian hope of conquering death

Giles Fraser gave the Thought for the Day on Ash Wednesday. I have had two people ask me what I thought about it! The transcript is here.

What Fraser actually says - so far as it goes - I would actually largely agree with, ie I also don't "subscribe to Platonic ideas about the immortality of the soul. When you die, you die", and also, "When theologians... speak of entering eternity they mean something altogether different from this: for eternity is outside of time". So far so good (nb great weight on 'Platonic ideas' about immortality, not immortality per se). Where Fraser goes against orthodoxy, so far as I can tell, is that he stops there. What he has missed out is the rather central teaching about resurrection!! Orthodoxy doesn't teach a disembodied future, it teaches that there will be a general resurrection, wherein we will each experience in the future what Jesus experienced in the past. If I am right in how I read him, I have to say I have difficulty understanding how he can do what he does. Without some sort of anchoring in this non-symbolic conquering of death I think Christianity loses its point, and becomes just another form of feel-good therapy.

For a good summing up of orthodoxy see Byron's recent post here and listen to this:



UPDATE: a little more from Giles Fraser here, which would suggest that he does accept the resurrection! Well that's alright then :)

1 comment:

  1. Without some sort of anchoring in this non-symbolic conquering of death I think Christianity loses its point, and becomes just another form of feel-good therapy.

    Rev. Sam, I have to disagree with this.

    Christianity - as we've discussed before, I think - is really, really hard. To really love others, as described in 1 Cor 13, for instance, is a monumental task.

    The fruits of the spirit are "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." I don't think we see much of this around even among Christians.

    Further, to be fearless in the face of death is not something to sneeze at - but people have found this kind of serenity in Christian faith. (Granted, belief in the Resurrection does play a big part here, I think.)

    But to stop judging your neighbor and work out your own salvation in fear and trembling - this is not something that's either easy or feel-good. I think Christianity could and should stand on its own without life after death.

    Actually, I just realized I'm in a "non-arguing" phase for Lent this year! And was supposed to be staying off the blogs in the main because I get involved in argument too easily. So I should really post this - but I've been thinking about it myself, so I will and then will disappear (which I know isn't really fair!).

    ;-)

    I'll be back in late April! Blessings for Lent.

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