The problem for Christians today is not primarily 'aggressive secularism', but the confusion of Christianity with power, says Simon Barrow. That and the the distortion of public debate about religiosity and secularity into a false dichotomy between dominating belief or privatised belief. A better way is needed - based on living by example, not the lust for control.
Many progressive Christians found themselves experiencing profoundly mixed feelings both about Pope Benedict’s visit and about the protests against it, says Simon Barrow. This is perhaps because neither imperial religion nor rejectionist forms of secularism are adequate to the task of remaking public life and public faith.
If you've ever campaigned for political change you've probably had someone tell you to “live in the real world”. But witnessing to the truth that Jesus taught involves acting in accordance with the realities our society denies.
When Christians explore nonviolence, we do so with the legacy of Christian collusion with militarism hanging over us. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the confusion around Christian attitudes to the armed forces.
Disputes over truth are often presented as examples of a clash between religion and science. Galileo's conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is frequently talked about in this way, as are more recent controversies about evolution and creationionism. But an exploration of the details reveals that conflicts over truth are often closely tied to questions of politics and power.
Some Christians throw around the word "sin" fairly unthinkingly, while others have become rather embarrassed by it. To talk about "sin" clearly and justly, we need to address the confusion of both society and churches around two major issues - sex and violence.
British Christians have firmly rejected sectarian party politics by offering almost no support at all to the Christian Party, who secured less than two per cent of the vote in each of the 71 constituencies they contested.
The status quo based on monopolistic politics and dominating religion is being challenged as never before, says Simon Barrow. This creates fresh and energising opportunities for cooperation across received 'religious' and 'secular' divides for a new era, and requires a new Christian vision too.
For the first time in a British general election, significant numbers of voters will today have the opportunity to support candidates from parties described specifically as “Christian”. Symon Hill hopes that very few of them will choose to do so.