A new faith for the 19th century

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Francis Macnab. Photo: John Woudstra

Posing for photographs in front of a 19th century church organ, Francis Mcnab proclaimed a new faith for the 21st century.

Apparently a new faith was necessary because the old faith (orthodox Christianity) no longer works.

Out goes Abraham—a concoction. Out goes Moses—a mass murderer. Out goes the 10 Commandments—one of the most negative documents ever written. Jesus can stay, but not as God incarnate.

In fact, there is no “God”, in the sense of a God who intervenes in human affairs. God has become a presence we strive for both within and beyond us.

God was not available to promote this new faith, so Mcnab has hired a media expert. He has a budget of $120,000 for an advertising campaign, involving newspaper and radio advertising, the internet, banners and billboards.

Macnab is a minister for life at St Michael's Uniting Church in Melbourne. He has been there since 1971.

There is nothing “new” about this “faith”. It's a rehash of the 1960s theological liberalism. Which was a rehash of 19th century liberalism. Which was a rehash of the old the promise, “You shall become like gods.”

Far from the emergence of a new faith for the 21st century, this is a case study of a religious tradition in the terminal phase of its existence.