Book Study Groups
An autumn Book Study group is presently being planned, in the interim look out for the Dean’s Contemporary Book of the Month recommendation:
The Dean’s Contemporary Book of the Month: July
Does Religion Do More Harm Than Good? Rupert Shortt
Have the New Atheists robbed Christian people of confidence? Is Christian theology on the back foot?
My own hunch is that there is some truth lying behind those questions. Churchgoers do, I sense, feel that belief is challenged. However, the situation is fluid, and there has been a more confident feel to Christian theology in very recent years.
Where is the evidence for that? Last month I recommended a dozen booklets by leading Christian scholars on a wide variety of subjects – God, the Resurrection, the Incarnation, the Bible, and much more; all are published by SPCK, are very affordable, and are now centre stage in the Cathedral shop.
My book of the month is another SPCK publication, with a similar intent. While fully respecting and appreciating the case against religion, Rupert Shortt sets out the case for reasonable, rational, reflective belief. In eighty pretty accessible pages a very wide range of material is covered in accessible prose. The book warms up as it goes along, and there are plenty of references to further reading for those who want to explore more deeply.
Fundamentalisms are always the risk – when challenged belief can withdraw into biblical or churchy fundamentalism. There are other options – and Rupert Shortt gives us a fine sketch of what open, reasonable belief might look like today. The book is available from the Cathedral shop.
John Davies, Dean of Wells
Previous Book Study Groups:
With Professor David Thomas, Canon Theologian.
Religion is no good and should be abolished. This is a constant refrain among some critics of religion. Rupert Shortt, Religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement, examines it in Does Religion do more Harm than Good? (SPCK, May 2019), a mere three chapters covering 76 pages.