Note that this cleric is a minister-for-life. And why a minister? When did he loose his faith? Perhaps if he would have had the correct ‘dogma’…
“THE TEN Commandments, one of the most negative documents ever written.” With that provocative claim posted high over two city streets, controversial cleric Francis Macnab yesterday launched “a new faith for the 21st century”, a faith beyond orthodox Christianity.
- Jesus ‘just a Jewish peasant’
- Cleric launches new faith
- Ten Commandments ‘too negative’
Dr Macnab says Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God, in the usual sense of an interventionist deity – what we strive for is a presence both within and beyond us.
Dr Macnab, a noted psychotherapist and executive minister at St Michael’s Uniting Church in the city, said the new faith was necessary because the old faith no longer worked.
“The old faith is in large sections unbelievable. We want to make the new faith more believable, realistic and helpful in terms of the way people live,” he said.
St Michael’s is promoting the new faith with a $120,000 campaign over several months, involving newspaper and radio advertising, the internet, banners and billboards. Dr Macnab is being advised by Barry Whalen, who was the media guru for Cardinal George Pell when he was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne.
According to Dr Macnab, the new faith transcends denominations and religions. It is about searching, not dogma. It seeks the good, the tender and the beautiful, and finds it in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism.
“At the Jesus Seminar (a scholarly but sceptical international enterprise examining the statements attributed to Jesus, of which Dr Macnab is a member), we are inclined to think there was a real Jesus but we don’t know much about him. The record has been embellished a great deal along the way. He gives glimpses of something beyond him, and that’s the most powerful aspect of what he was doing.”
Dr Macnab said the Ten Commandments were full of what people could not do, and were given by a patriarchal figure, Moses, who was a mass murderer. The Bible records that Moses killed 3000 Israelites who worshipped the Golden Calf.
“Allegedly he went up the mountain and came down and said “you shall not kill’, so how come he was such a genocidal man?” Dr Macnab said.
Until 1900, people believed in heaven above, earth, and hell below. “We have given up that idea. He’s no longer the God up there, an interventionist God. We can all feel a presence beyond ourselves and are trying to get in touch with the presence better than ourselves. It’s trying to bring a more humanitarian understanding.”
Dr Macnab has been at St Michael’s, where he is minister for life, since 1971. He did not seek wider approval for the campaign, and said some in the Uniting Church would resent it, but some would agree.