Grateful Undead on the Titanic

Gavin (at Otagosh) has a post puffing, 95 year old, Lloyd Geering’s new book From the Big Bang to God. I have not read Geering’s writing, I’m an OT scholar and John Robinson was the theological thinker frightening the horses when I was young (at least in the UK). But Gavin’s post and especially one of the comments got me thinking about why such extreme forms of theology the ones that are a whisker away from Atheology don’t work for me.

It’s all to do with worldview. In the film “Titanic” there’s a nice scene that sums up some popular1  worldviews . Jack a hobo won his ticket (3rd class) in a poker game, but is invited to dinner in first class2 and in course of conversation tells how he won his ticket.

One rich buffer responds, in suitably plummy accent: “I think life’s a game of chance.” This, it’s all about luck, worldview is remarkably convenient for the comfortable, for there is nothing you can do about luck except enjoy it. And if life, the universe, and everything are just luck then there are no inconvenient moral rules – do as you like as long as it “works for you”.

Another RB trumps that: “Real men make their own luck!” This view of life is even better for the comfortable, it means that somehow I deserve my privilege.

In contrast to the Lucky Bastards and the Bootstrappers3 Jack’s worldview is simple and works. “I think life’s a gift.”

That’s how I experience it. What the Bible and traditional theologians, often call “grace”. I get what I don’t deserve. Now this worldview both requires, demands forcefully even, moral thinking, because gifts make relationships and relationships impose obligations.  But if life is a gift, then who is the ‘giver’? Because ‘gift’ differs from ‘luck’ only in the ‘giver’.

Thankfulness is at the heart of my faith, I try to make it a heart of my living, and it is why (despite everything else) and all the powerful Atheist arguments and all that (some) Christians can do to discredit ‘him’ I am a Theist, I believe in God – the giver of life.

So I guess for me theology starts with the ‘Spirit’ (the giver of life), and moves via the ‘Father’ the Creator to recognising Jesus as their expression in creaturely form.

  1. As we’ll see at least in the modern Western world and elsewhere among the rich and powerful. []
  2. Because he saved Kate Winslet from suicide. []
  3. I call them that because they apparently believe they have elevated themselves by tugging their own bootstraps. []