THE CENTER OF CHRISTIANITY by John Hick

THE CENTER OF CHRISTIANITY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A brief, suggestive summary of liberal theology for the educated layman. Hick teaches at the University of Birmingham and has many notable books to his credit. This one is a reworking of Christianity at the Center, which he published a decade ago. The change in title reflects what Hick considers the contemporary ""Copernican revolution"" in religious thought, namely the shift from the centrality of Christianity to the centrality of God, with all the great world religions ""revolving around the same divine reality."" The most significant change in content is the addition of a fascinating new section on death and the afterlife, viewed from a radically ecumenical perspective. For while Hick denies the divinity of Jesus and otherwise insists on a demythologized creed, he finds any theodicy which fails to provide for the eventual salvation of all men in another world inconsistent and ultimately unbelievable. Eschatological speculation is a risky business at best, but Hick knows this, and he tempers his theories with sober skepticism. He borrows the Hindu notion of kama loka (""the world of desire""), according to which the environment of the afterlife is mental rather than physical, and conforms to the memories and desires of earthly life, thus functioning as a principle of cosmic justice (karma). Then again he proposes that the afterlife may be a process of gradual perfection of the human self, as it becomes less of an ego and more of a person, blending finally into the ""universal Atman."" However abstruse the matter, Hick writes clearly, sparely, dispassionately.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row