I was once quizzed by my high school R.E teacher about religion. I replied very intuitively that it is something that 'happens in day to day life'.
Religion especially spirituality has been and will remain a major part of my life. I am some what 'spiritually promiscuous' and my late Spiritual Mentor / Director sowed the seeds of exploration and reflection. I have travelled the globe in search of the 'truth' and been equally disappointed and enlightened whilst meditating in Zen Temples and Churches.
Thus I was aghast when I first encountered Nietzsche who claimed that 'God is dead' however his insights perhaps visions correctly foretold the World Wars and atomic age. And paradoxically in the post-modern and secular age people seem to be aching even more for meaning and contentment.
This week one of the PgCLTHE participants gave an interesting presentation about the University Multi Faith centre and its facilities. We cannot escape the fact that students have faith and no-faith which has to be respected and acknowledged. However I feel that it is not my role to formally facilitate or influence their faith or choices, and I am deeply conscious that there is a fine line between pastoral care and preaching. Furthermore University should be an opportunity to mix with people / fellow students or colleagues from different faiths or no-faith. Surely humanity and human rights are superior to any religious nomenclature or organised religion?
I am reminded of the great American poet Walt Whitman who exquisitely stated the following:
''We consider bibles and religions divine.
I do not say they are not divine;
I say they have grown out of you,
And may grow out of you still,
It is not they who give the life,
IT IS YOU WHO GIVE THE LIFE''.
In the recent public furore regarding the book by Stephen Hawkings, 'The Grand Design' which argues of the 'obsoleteness of God'. Tom Wright, former Bishop of Durham and Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews beautifully stated,''Knowing God is more like experiencing and playing music or falling in love or deeply knowing another human being''.