Here’s the text of my latest article for the Newark Advertiser published on 08 September 2017.
This column’s title – ‘Credo’ – means ‘I believe’.
Everyone has beliefs. These can be opinions, or confidence in something that can’t be proved. Many religious people have a set of beliefs, and sometimes these are gathered together in statements that are called creeds. Of course there are various religions, and the beliefs of all these religions are not the same. Indeed even among one religion, Christianity for example, you will find a very wide range of beliefs.
But people who aren’t religious, who are atheists, also have beliefs – but these are beliefs that there is no God, rather than the belief that there is.
Despite claims on both sides no-one can prove the existence or otherwise of God, so it all comes down to what one believes.
Irrespective of your view of faith the ‘God question’ is one that almost everyone considers and has a view on, and this view will be based on what they know, their view of the world and what they mean by ‘God’. In the case of faith groups it will be influenced by what their religious texts (for example the Bible and the Quran) have to say and what faith leaders teach. For an atheist it might be that their knowledge of science leads them to think that there is no need of spiritual explanations – science will one day solve everything.
As it happens I have degrees in theology and science (my first degree was in Biochemistry) and I am firmly of the view that science will never answer every question – indeed that science cannot answer some questions; questions that ask about the meaning of life for example. I am also of the opinion that people of all faiths and none can learn from each other’s understanding.
In my last Credo article I gave a hint that I would be trying out something new in Newark and I am now able to give little more information. This month I am launching a ‘Pub Theology’ group. Pub Theology started in London and has become a very popular movement, particularly in the U.S.A. It is about people of all faiths and none coming together in a relaxed environment (a pub) to talk about some of the big questions of life. The idea is to learn from each other’s perspectives and improve mutual understanding, while having a good time. It’s not a religious service or an attempt to convert anyone to a particular way of thinking. It’s also free (drinks not included!)
If you like the sound of Pub Theology why not come along to the first session and give it a go. I will be in the Prince Rupert from 7.30 p.m. on 28 September. If you want more information, or would like to let me know you are coming, email me on Newarkpubtheology@virginmedia.com.