"The Calling of a Cuckoo" by David Jenkins, the former Bishop of Durham
Published on 31 January 2003 by Continuum
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A religious revolution took place in 1984 a few weeks after it was announced that Dr. David Jenkins was to be the new Bishop of Durham - number 4 in the Anglo-Catholic hierarchy.
This honest prelate came under a vicious attack from politicians who had ruthlessly used the Judaic-Christian ladder to obtain all the top positions in a country where the Church and the state were still established. In effect, Dr. Jenkins kicked this ladder away. His only "crime" was to do exactly the same as the great free thinking philosophers Thomas Paine and Arthur Findlay. He blew the whistle on the great religious hoax on the human race. The following quote from the Lord Chancellor Lord Hailsham, a devout committed Christian, sums up the whole rotten business:
"I much prefer the word of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because they were there and David Jenkins wasn't."
As Dr. Jenkins says:
"He has set aside the critical scholarship over the past 150 years about the authorship of the Gospels."
The staggering thing is that our Christian leaders like Bush, Blair, and many others actually still believe that the disciples of Jesus had some input into the Gospels. Apart from professional priests, the first thing we realise when talking to so-called Christians is that they know nothing whatsoever about their religion. They have been deliberately deceived in order to keep the old-boy network protected from the wrath of public opinion.
The leaders of the Church of England must bring their religion up to date or they are finished, as Dr. Jenkins makes very clear:
"I cannot believe in a God who has no capacity for discovery, invention and creativity. This is the absolute crux of faith, hope and of love for me. If religious faith must be tied to authoritarian rejections of human development then it is hopelessly outmoded bigotry - superstition constructed to shelter our religious fantasies of hope and sustain the material power of our religious organisations."
The Times of London's website published an interview and an excerpt from The Calling of a Cuckoo:
From the interview:
In his exceedingly frank memoirs, [Dr Jenkins] writes repeatedly that being a Church of England bishop brought him nearer to atheism than anything in his life.
The venom of the traditionalists within the Church affected him deeply, however. Used to open-minded inquiry as a theology professor at Leeds University, he was suddenly faced by clergymen who wanted to forbid women priests, considered homosexuality a sin and, laughably, read the Gospels as if they were contemporary historical records.
Historically, he believes the established Church went wrong by identifying itself with civic authority and then by rejecting the explosion of knowledge during the Enlightenment. It remains on the wrong track today. Entranced by doctrine and tradition, it sends out the message that God stopped in the 17th century.
It is a testament to the pitifully short distance the Church has travelled in the past 20 years that [Rowan] Williams's problems will largely be those that engulfed the Church in Jenkins's time. Female bishops will be the next flashpoint for the misogynist tendency, while the fudge on homosexuality threatens to melt over whether Williams knowingly ordained gay priests. Yet while Jenkins and Williams try valiantly to keep their old product on the shelves by modernising it, the wing of the Church that is actually attracting recruits is evangelical and fundamentalist.
What does he think of the Alpha movement? "Well, I mean, if I was marking it, I wouldn't even give it gamma."
From the book:
For many believers the appeal of faith in God is as a citadel guarded by ecclesiastical dogma resting on assumed scriptural facts. If knowledge of the world challenges ancient interpretations of scriptural data, then that knowledge is to be resisted. Indeed, faith even seems to require resistance to change.
The ministry of openness and exploration to which I had committed myself so enthusiastically plunged me into more controversy and angry confirmation than I had ever dreamed of. From the time of my consecration, events began to teach me hard lessons about the limitations of the present Church as a missionary community. I had come to find my own faith through fellowship within the Church and participation in the life of the Church. So to discover that in their very responses to my ministry, fellow Christians were making Christian faith in God less and less credible to our neighbours in the world at large brought me nearer to atheism than I had ever been in my life.
Related material on this site:
Christ will not return, says Dr Jenkins - an article published in The Daily Telegraph (December 14, 1993)
Church and State - Michael Roll's letter to Melody Mehta (January 9, 2002)
The Most Valuable Englishman Ever - Michael Roll's article about Thomas Paine (1736-1809)
This outstanding tribute to Thomas Paine - "The Most Valuable Englishman Ever" - is taken from Arthur Findlay's suppressed history of humanity, "The Curse of Ignorance".
The Curse of Ignorance by Arthur Findlay (1947), published in two volumes, and details of some of Findlay's other works.
This is the true history of mankind, totally different to the pack of lies taught in a country where the Church and state are established. This passage sums up just how badly the British people have been deceived:
"Such, however, is still [the Church's] influence that this book, which tells the story of the past honestly and fearlessly, will be kept out of our schools and universities by the authorities, and consequently, only in later life will those with enquiring minds discover the truth."
Findlay finishes with a call to the people of the world to throw off the shackles of priestcraft, to make a choice between two paths:
"One is the Secular way (non religious) and the other is the Theological (religious); one is the Democratic and the other the Despotic; one is the sane and the other the insane."
No priest believes in what they are selling! - E-mail from Michael Roll to Dene Jones (August 13, 2002)
Related material on other sites:
"The Calling of a Cuckoo" is also available from Amazon.co.uk.