chapter  15
10 Pages

Arthur Peacocke

The challenges and possibilities for Western monotheism

The advent of a third millennium of the presence of Christianity in the world evokes variegated emotions in its followers. Looking back one could ask, with the apocryphal, and somewhat seedy, heckler of the Christian evangelist at London’s open-air forum in Hyde Park: “Christianity has been in the world for nearly 2,000 years and look at the state of the world!” To which the prompt reply was “Soap has been in the world for 4,000 years and look at the state of your neck!” Minimally, like all religions, Christianity has been both the focus of idealistic aspirations and the milieu within which human fallibilities, and even wickedness, have been exercised. The recent arrival of the year AD 2000, “Of the Lord,” cannot but provoke reflection on the whole sweep of Christian history and of the situation of that faith as we enter its third millennium.