The task of the theologian
as we enter
the twenty first century

Being originally an essay in MA Theological Understanding of Contemporary Society

Note: This is based on an essay produced for my MA course Theological Understanding of Contemporary Society to a title As we approach the twenty first century, what in your opinion is the task of the theologian? As probably my final academic essay as a student I wanted it to be as experimental as possible within the rules of essay writing. Furthermore, within the theology course I wanted to criticise the whole enterprise of modern theology as an parody of an academic subject, in that its prime purpose seems to be to keep Church doctrine going while the thinking world all around it has utterly changed.

Rereading it the experiment only partly works, and it is a tough read, but I have added to it to help the reader where there are italics. The bold is original text, and illustrates the contrast between his male gender theology of holding on to the old scheme despite the use of postmodern devices and her female gender theology which lets Christianity pluralise into something much broader through the experience of postmodern thought.



Two broad strategies respond to the crisis in the credibility of theology especially relating to high modern or postmodern plurality. One involves devices of retreat to hold on to once apparent revelation or tradition in Christianity and the other embraces difference and a fully opening out of metaphors still with a commitment to critical and creative rationality.

Adrian Worsfold

Originally June 1997


By the end of the nineteenth century denominational varieties and biblical criticism affected theology but Darwinism provided the huge challenge to theological method. Writing twenty four years after the publication of The Origin of Species (1994), Charles Beard noted that although the hypothesis of evolution was presented for "minute enquiry", in fact:

...with quite unexampled rapidity the idea of evolution has established itself, not only in biology, but almost every other department of human thought. What was a few years ago a daring supposition in one one branch of investigation, has risen to the dignity of a general method... (Beard, 1927, 392)

Yet he was still optimistic for theology.

...again it is obvious that what is really involved is not the abolition of Divine action upon matter, but a change in the method of its operation. No form in which the doctrine of evolution can be put dispenses with a primus mobile... (394)

So the purpose of theology and the role of the theologian seemed secure.

Now science, philosophy, sociology, social anthropology, economics and politics have their own world communicative views and need make no reference to theology. The theologian has nothing essential for any explanation of the workings of the world.

The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. (Dawkins, 1996, 54)

So the real problem is with the status, purpose and direction of theology itself. There are a number of choices. One is to protect the old beliefs and their scientific, historical, philosophical and ethical elements. The problem is outlined by W. Donald Hudson:

There are generally-held, regulative beliefs, common to believers and unbelievers alike, says MacIntyre, but Christianity does not conform to them. Therefore, what a believer has to do, in order to make his religion believable, is 'to supply a social context which is now lacking and abstract a social context which is now present'. In other words, he has to suppose the rational system is other than it really is... On this view, Christianity demands an out of date physics and out of date ethics to make it credible. But this very fact makes it incredible. For the rational system of beliefs cannot be tinkered with just to suit the convenience of believers. (Martin et. al., 1980, 94)

Such a theologian must be condemned to social sectarianism.

Another approach is to try to combine inherited theological terms and science as does John Polkinghorne (1986, 1988). This seeks out oppositions to "common sense" in both trinitarian paradoxes and quantum matter-energy. As Daphne Hampson well argues, this is done either by beginning with doctrinal inheritance or by bad analogies of falsifiable science against unfalsifiable dogma. (Hampson, 1996, p32-34).The academic optimism of the past then is being replaced by the shrinking rationality and communicability of a lost older world.

Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells (1)

Astrology parallels Christianity in this. It reaches out to the world with its claims, and has a long world history. It contains suggested science elements. It has, apparently, trained professionals who are more "reliable" than the mass outpourings of newspaper columns using detailed charts and established knowledge. People get meaning and help from the encounters with practioners. We know, however, that the basis of such knowledge has moved on. Traditional theologians are in exactly the same parallel conundrum in that, whilst they are more thoughtful than the minor outpourings of pulpits and can offer cultural comment, they are still linked with the cult.

In fact, it is not just a question of whether we can 'understand' stories which are receding steadily into a lost world of the past, but whether we can go on believing - as we have to do if this is to be a case of revelation - that the stories are protean enough to communicate to twentieth century readers lost in a maze which changes all the time, and in ever more terrifying ways. (Kent, 1982, ix)

A larger religious system continues when its images are powerful enough to renew themselves. Kent's study of modern historical theology suggests that:

...if Christianity is nearing the end of its main, public line, this is because it has exhausted ways of keeping its public images alive. (ix)

Therefore some theologians attempt to shift the ground of theology to take account of high modernism or postmodernism. They allow more general and accepted modes of discourse to govern the basis of theology rather than the world view once held by everyone in the religion. So Some reuse Jurgen Habermas's modernist The Theory of Communicative Action (1984, 1987), which is a Frankfurt School style response to pluralism and the differentiation of "lifeworlds" of meaning cultures. As in Marxism, the "system" keeps an economic base to cultural lifeworlds. Unlike in Marxism, however, culture is important. But it has become separated into private and public, a decline in the old sacred canopies and undermined traditional given moralities. There are similarities with Berger's analysis (1967, 1974). Habermas's solution to the contradictions of current institutional and ideological arrangements which produce legitimation crises, and hegemony, and the clash of rationalities within such culture, is the intellectual's rationality of communication and conversation. The normative claims of religion are lost as are its integrative functions based on old authorities and inheritances. Therefore the only Truth now is conviction by the best argument in freedom although this modernist approach remains as a case for Truth.

Nevertheless, some theologians use this. To fit in with this scheme and method, Francis Shussler Fiorenza (Browning, Fioerenza, 1992, p75-77) points to theology's transformation by its uncoupling from traditional mythology and cosmology, its movement away from traditional authorities and towards a universalised anthropology, and that religious symbol systems are ethically evaluated and reinterpreted. Theology can thus continue to communicate widely. Jurgen Habermas himself in a wide ranging reply (226-248) accepts the attempt to separate theology and religion but raises the issue of whether this leaves Christianity intact.

...the more that theology opens itself in general to the discourses of the human sciences, the greater is the danger that its own status will be lost in the network of alternating takeover attempts. (Browning, Fioerenza, 1992, p231)

The price at this modernist level could well be Habermas's preference for a rationality based around methodological atheism. It is parallel to pluralism of world views producing the 'Homeless Mind' (Berger, 1974) and therefore for Habermas at the general level of dialogue. An alternative would be plural language games and only ad hoc alliances for discourse. As Gellner (1992, p.37) says, it is one step from the Frankfurt School (and indeed Berger) to postmodern hermeneutics, of which he is very critical.

As we approach the twenty first century a number of theologians note the emergence of high modernity or postmodernity. Pluralism intensifies so that truth itself becomes relativised into the process of language (away from Habermas's modernist truth maintaining communication) with a loss of the old objective-subjective division. Methodological non-realism (not atheism as such) becomes significant here where rationality is radically uncertain.

The consequence seems to be, metaphorically, a his and her split. His theology remembers the old tunes: doctrines are maintained as central even during an encounter with postmodernity which shifts the way of understanding them. This is one possible method or task. Her theology, on the other hand, becomes increasingly diverse, where a Christian inheritance is joined by other (e.g., Pagan, Buddhist, Hindu-like and secular) elements. It implies plurality of the most diverse kind, including facing the challenge of dialectic and "differance" postmodernity. This is another possible method or task.

His theology is all about preservation and retreat. It was asserted with Barth. Orthodoxy now involves an increasingly little relationship to the conversation of human knowledge or culture. God became completely and absolutely distant. Thus was a seed sown to this use of postmodernity because from this Hans W. Frei put meaning into biblical narrative without objective reference and George Lindbeck followed on with an inherited regulative doctrinal and traditional language in order to continue to define an existing community. In other words, God's distance and non-objective relativism met. There is no historical real, its just a community following a faith stance in itself. So community follows text, that's it:

The meaning of the text must not be esoteric: not something behind, beneath or in front of the text; not something that the text reveals, discloses, implies or suggests to those with extraneous metaphysical, historical or experiential interests. It must be rather what the text says in terms of the communal language of which the text is an instantiation. (Lindbeck, 1984, 120)

With this possibly ecumenical (he decides!) tradition, he wants churches to:

...socialize their members into coherent and comprehensive religious outlooks and forms of life. (126)

After summarising the sociology of pluralism he states that churches in fact are not regulative as he recommends but allow the pursual of the "commodity" (his put down because it is of the individualism he despises) of individual quests.

Would that they did! Rather, churches appear doctrinally fossilised, do socialise, regulate, and are increasingly sectarian (Lindbeck does not seem to want to pay this price). Even if it is language and not cognitive truth, the motive is the same as the sectarian's: protection of the tradition, to even pickle it. This is opposed by more open theologians:

My chief criticism of this position is that while it rightly stresses the formation of into a religious community, it neglects the other necessity of reforming the tradition. (McFague TeSelle, 1993, 240)

In any case active languages mix and match, and only then do they become successfully and openly regulative. As Daphne Hampson says:

I find it possible both to say that religion is a response to something that is experiential and also to acknowledge that experience can never be separated from our linguistic and cultural matrix. (Hampson, 1996, 316)

Postliberal approaches of the regulative kind reject proper enquiry. Enquiry exists from properly open critical realist liberalism through to diverse and semi-Christian postmodernism. Postliberal pickling should bring academic discredit.

In theological terms, there is no doubt that intellectually the more radical approaches have won the day. The clearest evidence of that is that there are virtually no new substantial and intellectually attractive statements of traditional Christian belief which counter successfully the well-established criticisms of it....

Many people are still prepared to be interested in fundamental questions like the existence of God, the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the basis of morality, not to mention the very nature of language and all issues raised by 'post-modernism'. But are the churches? There is little evidence that they are. All the signs are that they are concerned above all with the routine of 'business as usual', 'proclaiming the Gospel', being the churches as they have ever been....

Without a coherent intellectual foundation, what defence is there to the charge that much Christian teaching is brainwashing and indoctrination and that in ethos Christianity has become one more ideology - a closed society run along lines laid down by those who choose to belong to it? (Bowden, 1993, 82-83)

Real enquiry does not keep going round the same old roundabouts, to nod to plurality to pursue devices to hang on to a previous age's doctrine.

Liberal theologians were committed, as long as they wanted to remain theologians in the Christian tradition, to the belief that western religious thought and behaviour must stem from the Bible and the Church in history, whatever other sources were drawn on in addition. They were like politicians who perpetually proposed legislative changes which somehow never reached the statute-book. (Kent, 1982, 130)

We end up with the kind of nonsense from John Robinson who wanted "Honesty to the story-line wherever it may lead" (Robinson, 1980, 72) but does not as he stated beforehand:

...I want to hold to the irreducability of incarnation as a distinctive, perhaps the distinctive, Christian category, while at the same time sitting loose to many ways of stating it which have come to be associated with traditional orthodoxy (60).

His Church theology with interests in preservation should be confined to seminaries. But truly academic theology, if it is to be proper enquiry, must be pluralistic, or its existence is privilege and historical hangover.

A modern Unitarian hymn suggests openness:

Though the truth we can't perceive,
This at least we must believe,
What we take most earnestly
Is our living Deity.

Our true God we there shall find
In what claims our heart and mind
And our hidden thoughts enshrine
That which for us is Divine. (2)

A creedless Church, truly free to change, is a rather difficult principle, sociologically, to organise around, but it is the only kind consistent with theology as enquiry. Such a Church may be more theoretical than real (3). A pure open liberalism is thus a human, cultural and creative rebuilding process. It meets other faith positions, secular philosophies, political movements, and, in linguistic dialogue, changes. It is pluralist within itself, even individualist. A community identity is fluid: identities may arrange into camps (progressive and conservative). Theological language is going to be closer to poetry and literature, interested in the varieties of human meaning, even as a process of rewriting.

Still, even with plurality, there is the attempt to produce a revised system. John Hick (1989) thinks that the variety of faiths and ways all suggest that humans can transcend themselves to a Real, despite the contradictions between faiths. His is as an Hegelian synthesis. The problem is that Buddhists would certainly see Hick's Real to be another expression of Christianity. It has the quality of Martineau's theism beyond the beyond, the undefinable creative spirit within and without heard about in Unitarian churches. It makes the Trinity a specific subset of something greater - the theistic Real. It is its own package deal and an imposition on other faiths.

Using Hick's own comparisons and social anthropology it is equally possibly to say that the common religious strand is varieties of polytheism and magic, and this happens within different types of religion. Hick's Real is higher philosophy, as is so much theology, which is why Weberian sociology of religion usually classifies theology as a form of religion rather than necessarily its understanding.

Another higher philosophical approach refuses to close the system in theism. It keeps things open, plural, changable and unresolved. The fictional Professor Oldteaser debating with Miss Awdy rather well states its method.

OLDTEASER: ...That's dialectic. Negation is affirmation. Coincidence of opposites (coincidentia oppositorum). Isn't it exciting?

MODERN WOMAN: I suppose so.

OLDTEASER: Of course it is. And you have made the right beginning in negation. You start with the radical denial, negate that, and that negation of course posits the negation of the negation, which is the radical affirmation. Or did I put in too many negations. Never mind. The point is that you, Miss Awdy, are on the tao (way) to wisdom...

('Mercy for Miss Awdy, in a Vile Acting for the Sacred' by Walter D. Love, p243-266, in Cobb, J. B., 1970, 246)

The enemy for Mark C. Taylor is systems that unify and constrain. To make sure he achieves irreconcilable oscillating difference and diversity, he uses a number of writers who express "differance" [the postmodern spelling!] through language play, eroticism and scatology, for example drawing on George Bataille.

The relationship between cartesianism and Hegelianism suggests further aspects of the pineal eye. Speculative philosophy, I have stressed, aspires to panopticism. To realize its vision, the gaze of the philosopher must comprehend everything. Philosophy's penetrating insights are produced by a penal eye/I that disciplines and punishes everything that tries to evade its grasp and resist its control. (Taylor, 1987, 124)

The result of Bataille's eye is association with excrement:

...a scatology through which he attempts to subvert the eschatology of all speculative theology and traditional theology. While Hegel is preoccupied with securing the system "proper" by wiping or flushing away kote, Bataille struggles to close the gap through wihich the oppressed eternally returns. (126)

Thinking - penser - is associated with the belly and so the scatology and taboo breaking aims to break that reasoning which tries to encompass everything. Such is atheology is happy heterology and asymmetrical difference.

All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon. (4)

Scott Cowdell (1989, 21) thinks Mark C. Taylor's writings have a mystical flavour, and that although Don Cupitt developed a similar atheology his background of English Empiricism removes the mysticism. Indeed, one suspects Cupitt's interest in preserving something of English Anglican church ritual (Cupitt, 1989).

There is a Cupitt like result with Ernest Gellner's anthropological method. He favours constitutional religion like a constitutional monarchy. Just as the ritual and symbolism points to genuine monarchy whilst society is actually secular and unsacralised, so:

On the assumption that ritual theatre is needed, but that the 'new science' either cannot produce it, or will only produce a disastrous version, the ritual and real spheres of social life become separated. (Gellner, 1992, 91)

This might be a preferred option if we think there might be truth out there (in science etc.); but that religion is false if personally and culturally useful. So religion's activities become a theatrical drama of illusions on an atheist base, with an appearance of postmodern games and to some extent postliberal preservations. This is the argument for Catholic ritual rather than Unitarian chatter. Except for one key characteristic: entropy and transcience. All reality changes, degenerates, recreates and at the deepest level is uncertain. Quantum worlds and fractal structures are highly variable, magnifying error; ultimately the sun will burn out and the universe will either collapse or disperse away. Time will end as it began.

So we still get a kind of Humanist Pagan-Christian Buddhism. At high point is an atheology where samsara and nirvana, systematically contrasted to each other, are identical (Cupitt, 1992, 112), where one is conditioned and the other unconditioned yet are not differentiated (as both are emptiness); where nirvana to be attained cannot to be attained. Nagarjuna like and Dogen like absurdity-consequences abound. Within are gods and myths coming and going.

The myths reflect social and cultural anthropolgies, even if theism is to be illusory and difference highly significant. Her theology is human plurality. Douglas Davies (1989) suggests a human drive to spirituality, preferring process to structure of framework (25). The natural world is grounded in subjectivity, intuition, culture and therefore faith is about probabilities. Myth-doctrine is dynamic, not static. Myth is part of body-experience, and theology must be pastoral and derived from symbolism. Much must be left undefined and to be found.

...the radical pastor is a form of Shaman: a ritual specialist who takes journeys into far countries for the benefits of his people. Theologically this involves the exploration of ideas with all that involves in putting certainties at risk...

The Shaman priest emerges at a time when narrative theology and the theology of story have grown as modern forms of mythology, and as a style that almost inverts aspects of critical theory in theology (cf. Rudolf Siebert's The critical Theory of Religion: The Frankfurt School; Mouton 1985, largely on Habermas.) Myth involves reflection on identity through reflection on the past. (Davies, 1989, 30)

The remythologising approach only fully works if boundaries are left vague. They have to be if the theologian's task is to be like the Shaman priest. This is promoted by Davies and is McFague TeSelle's potential.

If one accepts... that metaphor is basic not only to new meaning (poetic metaphor) and to the formation of language (radical metaphor) but to all human thought of whatever sort - if, to put it most sharply, all our theories, revolutions, dreams, works of art, scientific discoveries and metaphysics, not to mention our personal lives, are attempts to "figure" the universe - then there is no way for theological reflection to avoid a return to its metaphorical base in parable, story, poem, and confession. (McFague TeSelle, 1975, 64)

The problem is she is still preserving by a system of communal definition.

It is the belief that the source and power of the universe is on the side of life and its fulfilment. The "risen Christ" is the Christian way of speaking of this faith and hope: Christ is the firstborn of the new creation, to be followed by the rest of the creation, including the last and the least. (McFague TeSelle, 1993, 191)

Such a "way of speaking" is potentially adequate for some - but "the Christian way" is a boundary game. Shaman like exploration, theology as enquiry, should avoid this. The Shaman adds whatever is logically relevant, and criticises whatever seems unhelpful. Preferences are open to debate and such in Shaman theology are Shiva like. Nicolas Walter puts it:

...religious people agree with me. The Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, said that 'belief cannot argue with unbelief, it can only preach to it'; I say that unbelief cannot argue with belief, it can only criticise it... (Walter, 1996, p.10)

So should the Shaman's Shiva like theology. It will see to some extent at least that Christianity is its own gravedigger (Berger, 1967, 129). It has no problem with quoting a humanist because such religion is as social anthropology, philosophy, and ethics in base. Religious people agree with him!

A practical example of destroying and building comes with a rather obvious contemporary question. Why should people in an early cosmic age on a planet at the edge of one insignificant solar system want to hold to stories of apparent historical events made up by inhabitants of agrarian and small town cultures and call these ongoing revelations? Why think that they offer supreme meaning in explaining the continuing world? When they don't, what is the point of hanging on to them? Story writing is continuous, understanding ever changes, questions remain unanswered, the irrelevant gets dropped.

Ye earthborn children of a star Amid the depths of space,
The cosmic wonder from afar
Within your mind's embrace
Look out, with awe, upon the art
Of countless living things;
The counterpoint of part with part,
As nature's chorus sings. (5)

For example, at the moment a current mythology is the mass of science fictions on television. Current story writing and entertainment concerns race issues dressed up as aliens, discovery, power, inner cities, war ethics, and pluralism. The Millenium approaches, and the future is unknown.

Star Trek is the best established in different series. The inventor of this saga was Gene Roddenberry, said to be a Unitarian Universalist. There are Star Trek conventions: even a Klingon dictionary! Reverend Richard Boeke was a real life Californian Unitarian minister, now ministering in Britain. He knew Roddenberry well, thinks Star Trek is a modern epic tale, takes services around its bigger themes and sometimes addresses conventions. If typically Californian in optimism, he is a sort of Shaman Star Trek Chaplain.

The original series gave a fictional expanding frontier to reimage the American move west. It reflected the liberal view of Civil Rights America and the "womens' lib" type feminism of the day in all it's contradictions. In the Klingons it saw the Soviet Union. The Next Generation invents religions and cultures, and preaches the message of each trying to get along with the other. It does not carry the scientific optimism of the original, and removed the Western cowboy style of one man heroics, but still represents hope of a perfect society (if naively). Human rights were granted to a sentient android removed from a threat of slavery and experimentation. Deep Space Nine is more pessimistic still and concerned with power (in competition with the arguably better Babylon Five). As with the original, when black woman first kissed white man on American television (even if she was a space based telephone exchange operator and then in a trance), so the 1990's space station produced a prime time lesbian kiss, again softened by dressing it up in the drama as female and male according to some other species!

Of course Star Trek lets itself down by its simplicities, especially the (racist?) shorthand of ascribing monocultures to planetary races, but it is a preacher of peace, goodwill and toleration to twentieth century humans, especially American audiences seeing increasing ghettoisation and entrenched divisions in poverty and wealth. It tries out ethical dilemmas. It also comments on American imperialism by its device of a Prime Directive not to interfere in the workings of other cultures. It is usually broken, of course, especially in the original. A key criticism is, as Habermas would comment, that it is part of the dream world of advertising surrounded mass culture while real communal and personal problems go unsolved. However, within this consumer world, it is popular art theology and popular preaching. It starts with infused values of American Protestant Christian-humanism and promotes liberal toleration and reaches out in a way many a church does not.

This Shaman (searching the new) and Shiva (critical and myth making) theology of television and film has then a key task to describe, point out, criticise and suggest better.

A more highbrow example of art theology is in the literature of Iris Murdoch. She can be regarded as expressing the "mystic Christ".

She is quite open about the fact that she does not believe in a personal God, nor in the divinity of Christ, nor in the resurrection... (Walker, 1990, 89)

She can be called a Christian Buddhist, being concerned about Christianity's future.

...she seems to want to hold on to the Platonic myth of the idea of the Good as the searching light revelatory of all. However, the application of this device alongside her doctrine of the absurd still reveals a markedly postmodernist inhabited universe. Nothing much predicatable happens in a place such as that. (Hart, 1993, 107)

Such theology can also comment on real social issues. The National Lottery illustrates the psychology and believing that favours good fortune regarding its jackpot ('it could indeed be me') and rejects pessimism (as in a more likely lightning strike hitting someone outside). Commentary shows how this Luck as a system of believing links up to astrology. This kind of her theology does not pitch one system (say Christian) against the other (Pagan), but simply opens out and deconstructs the rationalities of these systems for what they suggest. It criticises the realism in the myths which depend on unmeasurably tiny forces from planets on people as they are born, or on the dead being resurrected. The creativity is in better designs for living, in taking responsibility, neighbourly encounters and community art.

Her theology can equally turn on the religions of communal domination in sectarian situations. Religions as cognitive truths get conveniently used by nationalisms and identities. Churches climb upon nationalist bandwagons. If certainties can be undermined, and help religious institutions to withdraw from public life to private spheres, then domination and sectarian conflicts could be eased. There is a complex cause and effect question here, but in places like Northern Ireland religious institutions and its ideologies are part of the problem no matter how much entrenched religion offers to be part of the solution. Church sexual and financial scandals, supernatural beliefs to be ridiculed, and clerical political involvement are all means available for the theological campaign. Out of destroying may come creating, and hopefully a virtuous circle of pluralising theologies themselves and weakening Church power.

Of course his theology of doctrinal use and preservation (even when engaging in society) may also desire debate and social functions with wider society. The issue, however, remains one of insufficient rational credibility and conversation which comes from working out of a closed revelatory or Church doctrinal circle. Suspicions arise of motives and mission. Its dialogue and enquiry can never be genuine, such as when Milbank rejects "secular reason".

Churches, of course will provide their own theologians of meaning for their own interests. When actual enquiry is the purpose, and proper reformulation, then theology as metaphor and difference begins to dissolve into the wider culture. Theology criticises and so destroys and creates, and suggests new metaphors, which comes from it being a kind of world involved social anthropology with additional commentary. The Shaman sets out and makes her discoveries and inventions. She makes religion.

Come, my daughter, come with me
To where the rushing waters flow to the sea;
We'll share what has been and what's still yet to be
-For now's the time for living.
Tell your story, sing your song,
Seek for gentleness and learn to be strong:
For living it takes the whole of life long -
Your life is yours for living. (6)


(1) From 'Breathe Reprise' by Roger Waters in Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Pink Floyd Music Publishers Limited.

(2) Final 2 verses from 'The Living God' by John Andrew Storey in Hymns for Living, No. 35, The Lindsey Press.

(3) This is not to promote Unitarianism. The British Unitarian Church has no agreed view of liberalism (liberal or liberal about Christianity?), and its liturgical language is still coloured by a late Victorian theism. Independent congregations in decline become insular and difficult to change towards a more American situation. Therefore a fully pluralist theology with a rational 'conversation' methodology does not in effect separate Unitarianism from orthodoxy but undercuts Unitarianism too leaving it as a small alternative esoteric Church.

(4) From 'Eclipse' by Roger Waters in Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Pink Floyd Music Publishers Limited.

(5) First 2 verses from 'Star Born' by John G. MacKinnon in Hymns for Living, No. 36, The Lindsey Press.

(6) First 2 verses from 'Boldly Live, My Daughter' by Carolyn McDade in Hymns for Living, No. 217, The Lindsey Press.


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