I've a bit of a soft spot for Rowan Williams, our outgoing Archbishop. He's always seemed a perfectly lovely man, and I bet nobody can drink as much tea as he can. And he looks marvellous in all his finery, although it must be a bit disconcerting walking around with a comedy shark fin on one's head.
But who's going to step into the breach? And what qualities should we expect from any future candidate?
Well here's what I'm looking for. I'd want them to put truth front and centre, and demonstrate a desire to value reason and evidence. I would want them to be really honest about we now know. Its ok to promote evolution, and ok to honestly admit that vast amounts of the Bible have been changed and added to down the years. Christians deserve to know the history of their faith, so why not tell them that prior to the 4th century it just juddered along doing nothing of any importance. They should know that Constantine, under considerable influence, was the one who elevated it from being just another death cult into the religion of the empire. And why not be honest about the Gospels, too? It's acknowledged that nobody knows who wrote them, or where, or when. Given that many build lives around their contents do we not not owe these people the undiluted facts?
I'd love to see compassion as the cornerstone, too. Let's reach out to the needy, feed the hungry and educate the uneducated. And let's stop obsessing about who does what to who in the bedroom. The world won't end if a vagina get's too close to another vagina, or a penis enters someones bum. Rest assured, the Earth will keep spinning and no puppies or kittens will spontaneously self combust.
What I'm trying to spell out is our need to give reality and common sense presidency over myth and medieval fear-mongering. So no more talk about Hell, or eternal separation from God. And above, let's dare to be brutally honest and admit that we don't know what happens when we spring our mortal coil. In the unlikely event that there's something out there in the ether lets shrug and acknowledge that none of us know a darn thing about it. So in light of that let's use everything we've learned as a species to make this planet a kinder place, a more beautiful place, and one that we care for and steward and have at least an ounce of respect for.
Here endeth the lesson. Is the kettle on? I'm dying for a cuppa.