The case against Christian belief but for Christian faith - book by Robert M. Ellis

The case against Christian belief but for Christian faith - book by Robert M. Ellis

The Christian Middle Way - The case against Christian belief but for Christian faith Robert M. Ellis Publication Date: July 2018 The Buddha’s Middle Way applied to the Christian tradition. Ellis argues for a meaningful and positive interpretation of Christianity, without the absolute beliefs that many assume to be essential to it. Faith as an embodied, provisional confidence is distinguished from dogmatic belief, in a comprehensive re-interpretation of key aspects of Christian tradition.


well-researched and deeply thoughtful. Sofia Magazine

Challenging, dense… insightful… should make the reader think. Church Times

I’ve read and much admired The Christian Middle Way by Robert M. Ellis. I think he has understood the fundamental point of Christian practice. Jay Parini, author of ‘The Human Face of God’

Robert M. Ellis’ new book, The Christian Middle Way, has given me a path to walk on as I move through these new shadowlands in this segment of my journey. In this book, Ellis draws heavily both on the Middle Way philosophy developed by the Buddha and also the function of archetypes as articulated by Carl G. Jung.

Applying Middle Way principles including provisionality and avoiding the absolutizing tendency of metaphysical claims (whether religious or anti-religious) Ellis proposes a path toward integration that may helpfully include the archetypes of God and Jesus incarnate, crucified, and risen, as well as much of the symbolism and meaning of the Christian tradition on one’s journey. Lutheran Pastor (‘One Person’ Blog)

Robert M. Ellis is the founder of the Middle Way Society and author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy, including the introductory Migglism, the more detailed Middle Way Philosophy series and the forthcoming Buddha’s Middle Way (Equinox, 2019). He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Cambridge B.A. in Theology and Oriental Studies. The son of a Baptist minister but formerly also an ordained Buddhist, he seeks a sympathetic but critical path through both traditions.

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More questions from candid friends

More questions from candid friends

Dairmaid MacCulloch tells of a 'wise old Dominican friar' who informed him that God is not the answer. Rather, God is the question. The presumption is that the friar was Herbert McCabe. Another philosopher engaging with that suggestion is William Irvin writing in The New York Times.

God Is a Question, Not an Answer


The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

Near end of Albert Camus’s existentialist novel “The Stranger,” Meursault, the protagonist, is visited by a priest who offers him comfort in the face of his impending execution. Meursault, who has not cared about anything up to this point, wants none of it. He is an atheist in a foxhole. He certainly has not been a strident atheist, but he claims to have no time for the priest and his talk of God. For him, God is not the answer.

Some 70 years later, Kamel Daoud, in his 2013 novel “The Meursault Investigation,” picks up the thread of Camus’s story. In one scene late in that novel, an imam hounds Harun, the brother of the unnamed Arab who was killed in “The Stranger.” In response, Harun gives a litany of his own impieties, culminating in the declaration that “God is a question, not an answer.” Harun’s declaration resonates with me as a teacher and student of philosophy. The question is permanent; answers are temporary. I live in the question.

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“God is love.”.....These three words are our marching orders as Christians.

A few weeks ago, I flew up to Portland from Los Angeles and found myself sitting next to a woman, about 45 years old, who was on her way to her first face-to-face date with a man she met online. She needed to talk because she was nervous about the impending encounter. I asked her questions and offered encouragement, for which she seemed very grateful. She was a fundamentalist Christian who had never married. “My biggest test of faith was when I was in the Peace Corps in Nepal and fell in love with a wonderful man who was a Hindu. We were getting close to a commitment but I did not want to be “unequally yoked” to an non-Christian. I was afraid of God so I backed away from him. It was so hard,” she confessed. I just listened, but felt so sad for her. Her fear-based religion shattered the love of her life. And that fear even now dragged behind her like a useless anchor.

“God is love.” The Bible tells us so. Taking this short line from the first letter of John seriously results in a long list of significant consequences. These three words are our marching orders as Christians. They sum up the meaning and purpose of human existence. They open a window into a more compassionate, mindful, and progressive form of the Christian faith.

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The Bible - thought from PCN USA

The Bible - thought from PCN USA

We take the Bible seriously, we just don’t take it literally

“We take the Bible seriously, we just don’t take it literally.” A library of stories, poems, histories, gospels, letters, prophecies and devotional writings, the Bible records the struggle of our Judeo-Christian ancestors to understand their world, their God, and the challenges and joys of being a human being. Those challenges and joys are pretty much the same today, and so the Bible has much to teach us. The cultural particulars from two thousand years ago are, on the other hand, not the same today, unless we choose to revert to them.

Gays in the priesthood: Pope Francis’ muddled thinking

Gays in the priesthood: Pope Francis’ muddled thinking

Would someone like Fr Henri Nouwen now be disinclined to enter the seminary? asks Michael W. Higgins in this week's Tablet

Pope Francis set out to usher in a new era of openness, but some of his recent remarks suggest he isn’t going far enough – his thinking still seems fettered to the old ways

Papa Bergoglio continues to surprise. But the “Pope of Surprises” might want to grant a few less interviews; they expose him in ways that heighten his vulnerability – in this his critics rejoice – and inspire his admirers: such uncalculated openness is rare in high clerical circles after all. But when the result is befuddlement, no one wins.

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