Simon Jenkins' article on Quakers and the report that some see belief in God as a barrier, and my godson's observations, prompted me to think further on my journey of faith.
As I have written before, I don't need the concept of God in order better to understand life or the universe. I fully understand that previous generations did, but I don't.
I do however value the life, death and teaching of Jesus.
I see the world as a miracle. A flower, a tiny insect, even a leaf take the breath away and this is a very long way behind human intelligence. It is all incredible, hence the adherence of previous generations to the idea of a creator. But it is credible, albeit not yet fully understood.
The world though is populated by human beings who are hopelessly flawed. The delicacy of creation is totally vulnerable to the idiocy of mankind.
This is where, for me, Jesus comes in. Follow his life and teaching and the world becomes safe for all, or nearly all: for them, the natural world is still capable of awful disaster. Mankind can nonetheless revere and cherish its environment and love its neighbour.
Is it naive? Of course it is, but that only makes it harder, not impossible.
As I have also written before, Christianity hi-jacked Jesus and shrouded him in religion. Jesus himself spoke in religious terms, but this is hardly surprising since Judaism was the very air he breathed. It is not though the air we breath and so we should be free to follow him without the trappings of religion.
I wrote about valuing the life and death, as well as the teaching of Jesus. Valuing his life is about valuing the stories in the gospels, with what I term the Pullman caveat. I have written about Philip Pullman's book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ in which he seeks to separate the two. I value the good man.
But, I also value his death. This is where it gets flimsy. I have read or heard the accounts of the passion of Jesus many times. They are intensely moving and rich in metaphor. I value them in the way they speak of that which is beyond reach.