Christianity needs a newer testament
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is important to understand that human evolution is more about learning and adapting to new realities than anything else. Perhaps the book that best shows this is the Bible itself.
Although I am an atheist, I do think that in terms of being a moral guide for creating and preserving societies, the Bible is perhaps one of the better ones. However, I do think the time has come for Christianity to give itself a major overhaul.
When Jesus started the new version of his religion, he did so with the clear understanding that the Old Testament his people were living with had become outdated. For example, his instructions to his followers that they should turn the other cheek instead of practising an eye for an eye was recognition that the whole world would have been left blind.
It has been 2,000 years since Jesus gave Christians that New Testament. The world has changed greatly since then. I am proposing that Christians move on and accept a newer testament - one more in tune with our time.
Take the issue of gender equality. At the time when the New Testament was 'given', it was common to believe that a woman's place was in the home - having children. While the New Testament may not be very clear on the role of women, many parts of Christianity, like the Roman Catholic Church, still refuse to give women equal roles as men.
Since the First World War, women have proven that they can effectively take on jobs that were exclusively held by males.
Many would argue that the New Testament is out of sync with today's sexual realities. A newer testament must change its attitudes to today's version of sex. Same-sex and premarital sexual relationships, for instance, are now normal. Christianity's newer testament must now fully accept this reality.
Also, fewer people are being attracted to the call that salvation can only come in the next life. I do believe that the newer testament should focus less on the life to come and more on the life we now have.
Christianity has proven to be a great aid in promoting human moral evolution. It can still do so in the future - only if it changes.
MICHAEL A. DINGWALL