Response from a non-theistic reader

A reader writes:

I really enjoyed your book. Thankyou. I would love to see more of your kind of Christianity. I have two problems, 1) that you still assume a belief in the reality of a God, which I can no longer affirm. Your analysis of the mistake of the Graeco-Roman version of Christianity and its basis of ‘salvation’ is spot on. But it still assumes a God. I seek to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth and his vision of the kingdom on earth, what I have called in my own little books ‘humanist spirituality’ ( 2) You are still, to me at least, too wedded to the Bible text as evidence for the words of Jesus, in John’s gospel in particular. Don’t we need to take more account of Biblical criticism?
But it’s a brilliant book and I am encouraging all my Christian friends to to read it.

Thanks for your encouraging note. On the existence of God, it would be interesting to hear more about what you mean by the God you can no longer affirm, and then to explore what you do affirm, and then we could talk about the God I do affirm and notice the similarities and differences. Is there a sense of meaning or sacredness in life for you? Is there some animating telos or hope or possibility that you believe invites creation towards growth, diversity, harmony, beauty? I think there are other ways to affirm God’s existence without defining God in an overly anthropomorphized/patriarchal (old man with a white beard) way. (I am a big fan of Richard Kearney’s work in this regard.) On the Biblical text, I don’t discount Biblical criticism, but I don’t dwell on it either. I try to approach the text in a post-critical way, aspiring toward the second naiveté described by Paul Ricouer and others.
Of course, in the end, we may simply disagree on these matters, which makes your affirmation of the book all the more gracious – and appreciated. Thanks again.