In an era where a basic understanding of what Christianity is about cannot be taken for granted, Simon Barrow welcomes a new book by philosopher and theologian Keith Ward which clears some ground and opens up issues.
Sharing bread and wine is not just an odd church ritual, says Simon Barrow. It is an embodied symbol of a new world coming – one in which we need to be radically changed if we are going to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Religiously constructed rows over sorcery, metaphor and meaning in Harry Potter are hardly new, as Simon Barrow has personal reason to know. He suggests we all chill out and finding meaning not menace in the narrative.
At the root of death-dealing religion and ideology is fear, says Simon Barrow. The biggest challenge we face today is how to challenge cultures of death from within, replacing the logic of the sword with an invitation to life.
An easy assumption that religion is less dangerous when it is 'less religious' is wrong, says Simon Barrow. As an article in the International Herald Tribune points out, the path from death to life is found within as well as beyond each tradition.
Gordon Brown, artfully manoeuvred into Downing Street, will have little room to operate in for the social justice agenda. But what space there is will be created by the power of imagination, says Simon Barrow. Look at the example of Northern Ireland.
The determination of some religious and anti-religious people to blame each other for the world's evils is part of a damaging drift to fanaticism, argues Simon Barrow. What we all need is self-critique and hopefulness.
What is really at stake in the row between Sony and Manchester Cathedral over a violent video game? Simon Barrow looks at it in terms of Christendom, 'redemptive violence', image as commodity and the onset of the hyperreal.
To some the doctrine of the Trinity looks to be modern Christianity's achilles heel in a rationalistic age, but Simon Barrow argues that it points to the coherence of God-talk as well as the challenges the Gospel poses.