"Hi Fred, In one of your addresses at Common Dreams in Melbourne in April you said that there should be some public recanting for the damage done by some Christian beliefs. That touched a chord with some people who were there. We have established a working group to develop the concept. That group has done a lot of work and is at the stage where we are seeking comment and advice from individuals and running some focus groups to test response to the idea.
We decided that "recant" was too much an insider religious term and instead have used the idea of a public apology- which also has resonance in Australia because there have been public apologies for wrongs done to indigenous Australians."
I must admit that it is a little daunting to think that something I said would have some impact and could actually affect change. However I thank you and congratulate you on trying to reach out to the hungry and the spiritually lost with a new perspective on a viable faith. I really want to spend more time with your five points but I think you are on the right track. I know that this is just the beginning stage but I would like to suggest that you do not publish anything without first noting some of the wonderful things Christianity and Jesus the teacher have provided the world for the last 2000 years. A few things that come to mind are for example: the idea that all people are worthy of love; a spiritual path that can lead to a new awareness of not only who others are in relationship with us(brothers and sisters) but who we are as part of one Whole; a sense of radical egalitarianism; non-violence as a workable means to better ends; compassion over judgment; and a body of teaching that has allowed good people to gather together for community and support. You get the idea. These a just a few things that pop into my head and could probably be stated more clearly.
I do want to be clear about something else. I believe that the real apology should come from those of us who have been trained and taught that most of the creedal things we have been preaching and teaching in our churches has not had solid scholarly support for over fifty years( actually 100 years but only got into the seminaries in the last 50). And we in the church have not done the work required nor have we had the courage to share what so many of us have known while the damage of things like “substitutionary atonement” continues to lead to horrible judgment and innocent children growing up with the idea that they were born flawed. Don’t get me started on the outrages like the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust let alone the unjust wars that have killed millions of innocent people over the years in the name of Christianity. In short the same kinds of things are going on today albeit in lesser degrees but we have not been saying enough. And for this I believe we should apologize.
If you read any of the stuff by the new atheists here in the US they will give you list of travesties that they believe are still going on. I find it humorous that so many of us complain that the moderate Muslims for not speaking out against the radicals, but are we any different.
Anyhow thank you for including me in this process. I do think it will be important to begin with something positive before you get to the “however." I look forward to continuing this discussion with you!