Letter: Not my creed

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The Independent Culture
Sir: John Walsh's satirical item "I say there, are you absolved?" (31 August) and Eamon Duffy's letter (2 September) should stir the Church, especially the Church of England, to do something about the required recital of the creed in its services.

I squirm when my good priest friends invite the congregations of which I am a part "to affirm our faith by joining in saying the Nicene Creed". This creed does not affirm my faith. It affirms my awareness of the historically ever-developing nature of the Christian faith. It came from a noble desire in the fourth century to express the Christian development of Jewish religious thought in terms of the then current Greek philosophical view of the world - and from having more than half an eye on Roman ideas of organisation and political unity.

The theological education of the clergy equips us to understand that the gospels are not historical accounts of the life of Jesus, but creative writing a generation or two or three after his death, and that most liturgical language can be understood symbolically. There is, however, a deafening and deadening silence from the hierarchy about these issues. It results in depressed people in congregations walking sadly away from the Church.

When will the bishops and other church leaders give an honest lead by sharing publicly their knowledge of the development in biblical and theological scholarship of the last 150 years?

RONALD PEARSE

Secretary, Sea of Faith Network

Loughborough, Leicestershire

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