Don Cupitt is my kind of theologian. Of course, I generally like theologians. What I don’t like are apologist. In other words: I’m keen on the search for God, I’m not on the process of trying to shoehorn God into some existing dogma. To Cupitt, God is an invention: first there was Man and He created God. This is discussed in the chapter “Non-Realism About God” in Philosophy Bites.
What I most like about his thinking is the idea that God is an evolving concept. He argues that Christianity managed to evolve well enough up to the 17th century, but it has had trouble since then. This is understandable. After all, life wasn’t all that different between the time of Jesus and the middle of the 1600s. But I have long wondered why it is that people in the modern world continue to cling to a religion that was developed for people 2000 years earlier. Certainly we have very different needs.
Just look at the diversity of our culture. The 2000 year old solution to dealing with neighbors who were gay or worked on Sunday was to stone them to death. Admittedly, modern Christians have chosen simply not to abide by their religion on these points. But they continue to stick with it in less drastic ways. This is what leads to Christian calls to deny gay rights and close liquor stores on Sunday.
There are much more fundamental ways that Christianity fails the modern believer, however. To me, the greatest modern problem is social alienation. And to this, Christianity offers nothing but the shared belief of the one belief people most distinctly do not share. And this leads to things like new age mysticism, which may lack much depth, but at least is devoid of dogma.
I’m not sure why the modern era lacks any important theological movement. A 2000 (or 1400 or 3000) year old religion has little to offer us in concrete terms. But it sure is great for justifying the worst kind of bigotry. And that’s another issue we could use some help on.