A senior Uniting Church Minister, the Reverend Dr Francis Macnab, recently launched 'a new faith for the 21st century', from his church in Melbourne, Australia.
Macnab and his 'new faith' claim that:
- Abraham is a 'concoction'
- Moses is a 'mass murderer'
- the Ten Commandments are one of the most negative documents ever written
- Jesus was 'just a Jewish peasant' and definitely not God
- there is no Heaven or Hell
- and there is no interventionist deity
Macnab's new faith transcends denominations and religions and rejects dogma.
Dr Macnab says a new faith is necessary because the old faith no longer works.
"The old faith is in large sections unbelievable. We want to make the new faith more believable, realistic and helpful in terms of the way people live," he said.
Dr Macnab's church, St Michael's, is promoting the new faith with a $120,000 campaign over several months, involving newspaper and radio advertising, the internet, banners and billboards. The church has engaged a PR company to help promote the new 'godless' faith.
Dr Macnab, a member of the Jesus Seminar, says the Biblical record has been embellished a great deal along the way.
"Allegedly [Moses] went up the mountain and came down and said "you shall not kill', so how come he was such a genocidal man?" Dr Macnab said.
The closest Macnab comes to suggesting some kind of 'supernatural' base for his 'new faith is a suggestion that, "We can all feel a presence beyond ourselves and are trying to get in touch with the presence better than ourselves." He rejects, however, the idea of a personal deity and says he's trying to bring about a more 'humanitarian understanding'.
Responding to criticism from within his own church, Macnab said:
"I have done what many others have done. I have discarded a belief in a class society ordained by God, beliefs that diminish the role and status of women, beliefs in the church's long acceptance of slavery … beliefs in a vengeful and violent God. These beliefs have been upheld by the Christian church for the best part of 2000 years, but I submit there is good reason to discard them."
Source: "The Age" newspaper, Melbourne, Australia
and "The Age" here.