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The World to Come
 Author: Don Cupitt  Category:  Publisher: SCM Press  Published: 01 Jan, 1982  Pages: 159

9 chapters

Book is a religious / theological response to the contemporary context which consists of modern science and critical thinking, a response theologians have tended to avoid.  Science is Copernican, and so cold and empty; the culture / philosophy is anthropocentric.  An anthropocentric perspective views science as one human cultural activity alongside others, as opposed to a unique form of knowledge which can achieve objectivity.  What two aspects of modern life share is rejection of Christianity.  But what if Christianity is viewed as a ‘language game’?  Christianity practiced, not because it is true in a realist sense, but for its own sake; and people are creators of their own religious meaning and value.  This means rejecting realist language about God and religion, engaging with and overcoming our egotism, and understanding Christian language as expressive and action-guiding.

First chapter gives overview of contemporary philosophical landscape with emphasis on language games – Foucault mentioned alongside Darwin and Nietzsche.  Second chapter traces ways in which religious belief has changed historically with particular emphasis on recent ways in which Christianity reform itself in light of modern science.  chp 3 is overview of ways in which prophets are ignored and dismissed, including Nietzsche and Jesus who are discussed together.  Cupitt then constructs human originated Christianity which consists of ethics and spirituality.  The journey to this Christianity is hard and requires a painful, spiritual journey.  chp 4 begins process of seeing what is left of Christian belief after its dramatic change.  First topic is ‘God’; second topic is Christ who viewed in non-realist manner.  chp 5 argue that Jesus is an ‘ironist’ by which Cupitt means that Jesus taught so that people had a little distance between themselves and their experience of reality.  chp 6 discuss sin and salvation, via Jesus as saviour, in light of non-realism.  chp 7 revisits subject of Jesus’ nature exploring the emergence of the ‘Jesus cult’.  chp 8 tells the story so far and explains how Christianity can adapt to the contemporary philosophical and cultural context.  Final chapter discusses remaining objections and is wide-ranging in discussing contemporary Christian events in UK, i.e. then recent Billy Graham visit.

Mentions as a contemporary phenomenon ‘the philosophy of language’ (viii) & language games and pragmatism (x).