There is a widespread belief around about the Bible that it is some kind of powerful patriarchal conspiracy that has been used to oppress women. As a female speaker I find that this question is frequently asked: ‘How can you as woman promote such a sexist book?’ ‘The Church has tried to keep women down!’
I am often asked how I can believe in God when there have been so many wars caused by religion. The implication is that if only people would leave behind their convictions about the existence of a God the world would be a much better, more peaceful place.
The question you have most been dreading comes – What is wrong with sex before marriage? What on earth are you going to say? It is the 21st century after all, surely God doesn’t hate you enough to make you say something so ridiculous and old-fashioned that you will lose all your friends? In the gospels, Jesus was asked many difficult questions and he frequently responded with a question, before answering more fully. He did this so often that I think we are probably meant to notice it and learn something.
It sometimes seems that you can never get away from the whole issue of sex in Britain. Our newspapers are full of the lurid details of celebrity affairs and the church is presented as “bigoted” and “out of date” whenever it seeks to uphold Jesus’ teaching on sexual morality. How do we even begin to tackle these questions when we are coming at the issue of homosexuality from such different perspectives? For so many of our friends personal identity is defined by what I do sexually.
The artist Damian Hirst who puts animals in Perspex boxes recently said this: “Why do I feel so important when I’m not? Nothing is important and everything is important. I do not know why I am here but I am glad that I am I’d rather be here than not. I am going to die and I want to live forever, I can’t escape that fact, and I can’t let go of that desire.”