There is no God, there is no heaven and there is no afterlife. At least, not in the way we have traditionally thought of such things.
These days, with atheist arguments topping bestseller lists, such statements might not seem all that contentious.
But when a retired bishop says it, it’s worth noting.
“My audience is not the people who go to church on Sunday morning,” John Shelby Spong, the retired Episcopal bishop of Newark, N.J., said on a recent visit to Toronto.
“It’s the people who have given up on going to church.”
Instead of the traditional concepts of heaven and hell, he takes a fresh reading of the Christian gospels – particularly John – and concludes our eventual demise makes it more important to think about this life than the next.
“The goal of religion is not to prepare us for the next life,” he writes. “It is a call to live now, to love now, to be now and in a way to taste what it means to be part of a life that is eternal. … It is the presence of death that actually makes my life precious.”