Published on his own Homepage, by Theo Hobson, March 23, 2008.
… Christians tend to be bad at explaining themselves in a clear, intelligent way. This is because faith is highly personal, and rather complex: to speak about it goes against the grain of media discourse, where personal writing is fine as long as it’s trivial, affected, “witty”. Those of us who want to see a more intelligent religion debate should risk the charge of self-importance, and try to explain ourselves …
… It should also be said that I am a rather eccentric Christian in that I’m sceptical of all conventional forms of church. I dislike the idea of a big holy club, with rules about morality and doctrine, and political weight. All this gets in the way of the vision of the Kingdom; it ties it to reactionary political habits, and it ties it to the sort of legalism that Jesus rejected.
I became semi-detached from the Church of England when I realised that its establishment was indefensible; and I stopped semi-regular church attendance when I saw that its educational policy was divisive, and that it cared more about defending its political position than addressing this. I have found the Church to be intellectually cowardly and dishonest: unwilling to discuss awkward issues. It is more interested in defending its subcultural power than communicating the Kingdom of God afresh. Instead of going to church, I try to plan alternative worship-events, free of institutionalism.
So that is why I am a Christian: I affirm the utopian hope of the Kingdom of God – and I affirm the idea that we are all prone to evil, and so constantly reliant on God’s grace. I want these ideas to spread – but not by means of political privilege. My eccentric view is that Christianity can only really be communicated in the context of freedom. The churches attack secular liberalism as a threat to their power bases, but actually it’s the ally of true Christian culture. We need a secular state, in which we can develop a new sort of Christian culture that has left institutionalism behind.
So that’s my Easter offering: a glimpse into the idealism, psychological realism, and institutional dissent that is one man’s Christian faith. I apologise if it doesn’t conform to what Dawkins has told you Christian faith is about. (full text).