Showing posts from August, 2012

Impossible Things

“I can’t believe that,” said Alice, “It’s impossible!” “Then you’ve not had any practice,” said the Queen.   “I’ve had so much practice in believing the impossible, that I can believe six impossible things before breakfast!” (Lewis Carroll:   Alice Through the Looking Glass)     We Unitarians think of ourselves very much like Alice.   We’ve given up believing impossible things.   Centuries ago Unitarians gave up believing in impossible theological things.   The Trinity we discarded very early, and it wasn’t too long after that the Virginal Conception of Jesus, and the Resurrection of Jesus were excised from our individual and collective credos.   Then, all the miracles were thrown out, as was the idea of special revelation.   Unitarians have just about given up on the idea of God; in a recent survey, 48% of American Unitarian Universalists declared themselves to be humanists, presumably implying a disbelief in all so-called supernatural things, coupled with a comm

Are Unitarians Really Radical Thinkers?

A month or so ago, I received an email from Amazon, the booksellers.   ‘We thought you might be interested in the following titles,’ it said. One of them was a series of lectures by Gerald Massey, a radical thinker of the early twentieth century, who claimed that Christianity was derived from the religion of ancient Egypt and was not simply a branch of heretical Judaism. I’d heard of Massey before and wanted some of his work, so I clicked on the link and decided to order the book. But, of course, they tempt you to buy more stuff, and underneath the information on Massey’s book it said, ‘Some of the people who bought this book also bought these’.   One caught my eye, Caesar’s Messiah , by Joseph Atwill.   I’d never heard of this book or its author, who makes an even more astonishing claim than Massey: Christianity, says Atwill, was an invention of the Flavian dynasty of Roman Emperors – Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian - in the second half of the first century A.D., in an attempt to

Champion Birthday

This little piece appeared in The Guardian on 13th August 2012 Planning on having a baby?   Want them to run a little like Mo Farah, cycle like Sir Chris Hoy or row like Sir Steve Redgrave? You could do worse than ring 23 March on the calendar and plan your efforts accordingly. For what these men have in common – apart from Olympic gold medals aplenty – is their date of birth.             Although separated in age by decades, a cluster of male British sporting greats were born on the same date in spring – from Redgrave, rowing’s most decorated Olympian (gold medals: five), in 1962, to track cyclist Jason Kenny (gold medals: three) in 1968. In between came Hoy (gold medals: six) in 1976, and Farah (gold medals: as of Saturday night, two) in 1983.               Add into the mix the four-minute mile runner Roger Bannister (born in 1929), Joe Calzaghe, the Pride of Wales boxing champion (born in 1972), and former England cricket captain Mike Atherton (1968), you have