Do you envy the suicide bombers their firm faith in life after death? Probably not: you think they are deluded. People in the west have quite recently lost all their old ideas about a Better World Hereafter. We now accept that we are already in the Last World, the world with no further reality beyond it, and that we'd better live our life to the full while we have it. If so, then what happens to the traditional problem of Christian origins?
Jesus preached the arrival of the Last World, and urged us to begin a new 'solar' kind of living. His message was one of secular fulfilment. But the Apostolic Faith, by raising him to the supernatural world, took us all a whole dispensation back, to the Penultimate World, a world dominated by supernatural fears and hopes, a world of watching and waiting under strict discipline.
The new era announced by Jesus was thus aborted, probably during the late 40s. But today we need, not the New Testament message, but a Last Testament for the Last World, which is our world. Don Cupitt attempts some midwifery. It is time for the faith to be born properly, and to become public property, not a clerical monopoly.
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