25: RADICAL THEOLOGY

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Here are a few preliminary ideas on this topic which will probably be developed at much greater depth over the next few months as it looks set to become a core theme in my developing Christian- Atheist “credo”. However I already have reservations about some parts of it!

(1) Basis: Nietsche, Marx and Kierkegaard.

(2) It’s not the same as Radical Orthodoxy, quite the contrary!
It’s also not quite equivalent to Radical Christianity. Taking the 3 most prominent American Christian Radicals at the time of writing:  Ched Myers, Shaine Claiborne and Lee Camp, their stand within and against the church is socially and politically radical and challenging to fellow believers but at heart their theology is quite traditional – they just take it at face value and the church has never liked that. Their views parallel my own in many ways and I shall be returning to them in future blogs.

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(3) The main trends in Radical Theology  appear to be:-
from heavenly concerns to earthly ones
from certainty to uncertainty
from supernatural concepts of God to seeing him as non-supernatural/ non-mythical/ non-real
from Jesus as mythological cosmic redeemer to de-mythologised human teacher
from blandness to blasphemy

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(4) It is also claimed that:-
Radical Theology is a moral necessity
It reclaims the wisdom literature tradition (see Zingcreed Posts “Jesus was a sage, not a priest, prophet or king“, Blueprint for a school of the historical Jesus, Fowler’s 6 stages of religious faith.)
Having no certainty of the truth it can engage more effectively in dialogue in a post 9/11 world
It points toward a world theology (?)
Christianity is a transforming social force, and
Jesus’ message has a reformative power

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5) A few quotes from Trevor Greenfield (lecturer in theology at the Open University)
” Christianity in the post-modern world is individual and atheistic and no longer informs culture.”
“The church still needs Christianity but Christianity no longer needs the church.”
“Faith in a Christian context is no longer required…faith is anachronistic.”
“…for myth read metaphor.”
“Christianity is using symbols people increasingly don’t  relate to e.g. redemption and original sin.”

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Sources:
Myers, Ched “Binding the Strong Man. A political reading of Mark’s story of Jesus” Orbis (1988, 2011)
Myers, Ched “Who will roll away the stone? A political reading of Mark’s story of Jesus” Orbis
Camp, Lee “Mere discipleship. Radical Christianity in a rebellious world” Brazos Press (2008)
Claiborne, Shane “The irresistible revolution. Living as an ordinary radical” Zondervan (2006)
Claiborne, Shane “Follow me to freedom. Leading and following as an ordinary radical” Regal (2009)
Robinson, John A.T.  “Honest to God” SCM Press (1963)
Greenfield, Trevor  “A Brief History of Radical Theology” O Books
Greenfield, Trevor  www.sofn.org.uk/theology/brief_history.html
Rodkey, Christopher http://www.Muse.jhu.ed/journals/jsr/summary/v003/3.2.rodkey.html
Cupitt, Don “The Sea of Faith” etc
Lloyd Geering “Christianity without God” (1967)
Bishop John Shelby Spong

Related Zingcreed Posts:
Radical Christian attempts to define god
What conservative Christians believe
What liberal Christians believe
Progressive Christianity
Theology for the masses
To be a pilgrim: Seekers v. believers (Evangelicals v. Progressives)

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2 comments

  1. Please find some related references on this topic – or why “radical” theology is just more of the same power-and-control-seeking hokum (while pretending otherwise)
    http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/Aletheon/ontranscendingtheinsubordinatemind.html
    http://global.adidam.org/truth-book/true-spiritual-practice-4.html
    http:/www.beezone.com/AdiDa/jesusandme.html
    http://www.dabase.org/Reality_Itself_Is_Not_In_The_Middle.htm
    On the doubt-mind that mis-informs the conventional mind
    http://www.beezone.com/AdiDa/nirvanasara/chapter1.html
    http://www.beezone.com/whiteandorangeproject/index.html

    1. hi John, thanks for the links and titles, I shall definitely be checking them out – they’re all new to me.

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