Those secular Europeans…they’re almost there. Klass Hendrikse is a Dutch minister who is apparently reasonably typical of the breed. He doesn’t believe in gods.
“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.
“When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that’s where it can happen. God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience.”
Oh, yes, god as blithering bafflegab. It’s mostly harmless, it’s entirely pointless, and you might as well change the name of his church to the Gorinchem Social Club and be honest about it all. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a social club.
So finish it, and do one more thing: read that Bible you keep waving around.
Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.
I’ve read the Bible; I think most Christian’s eyes must glaze over before they hit the second chapter of Genesis, and then they skip ahead to Revelation. This version of Jesus as the loving wise man isn’t in there. Instead, he’s a patriarchal rabbi with an apocalyptic vision who wanders the land, doing cheesy magic tricks and making extravagant claims about himself. I certainly don’t think he modeled a good life, and the nice humanist bits in some of his purported sermons you can get just as well by reading some of the Greek philosophers.
So the Dutch have a little bit further to go, but at least they’re further down the road of reason than the typical American preacher.