Usually when I preach in church it’s because I’ve done some homework on a subject and think it might be useful to other people. Today I’m in the opposite situation. I’ve done a survey on Christian karakia. But the problem is more complicated than I realised, so I would appreciate your input before I come to a firm conclusion. As a second step, I would like to take your conclusions to other groups, such as atheists, Jews and Muslims, and then to the government.
My sermon today says Let’s stop making apologies for God. She’s a total nuisance.
In the Christian circles I grew up in, people were constantly saying how good God was.
They blindly ignored all the grief and harm in the world, and if anybody drew attention to it, they’d come up with excuses. Like: God sent this to test you.
If you pointed out that God did nothing whatever to help you through these troubles – after you prayed for help and nothing happened, they’d say: God aways answers your prayers: Sometimes the answer is Yes. Sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s wait.
I was not very old before I realised this too was crap, because that means absolutely any thing can be called God, and in practice that’s the same as there being no God at all.
So I’d like to talk about the claims religious people make for God, and the major excuses they make when she doesn’t deliver.
When I agreed to preach at this service a couple of weeks ago, I had to pick a topic off the cuff, so I said I’d talk about how we can help people who are especially hard hit by the lockdown. In our Prime Minister’s words “Be kind”.
But eight days ago that story was overtaken by Brian Tamaki running his protest against the lockdown ….
So I’ve changed the topic a little: Be kind, most of the time.
In July I was surprised to get a call from a member of the Association of Rationalists and Humanists asking if I had written a submission on the government’s new hate speech proposal. I hadn’t, but I was grateful for the suggestion.
I had written a a similar article a couple of years ago – taking a free speech approach, and found my thoughts had shifted a little in between.
For my sermon I’d like to start off with Plato’s comment that democracy is NOT a perfect system of government, because it encourages people who are selfish and irresponsible, and politicians who have to bribe them to stay in power.