• Brexit, Babylon and Prophecy: Semiotics of the End Times

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (MDPI, 2018-12-03)
      This article examines the predilection some Christian premillennialist preachers and teachers have with the semiotic association of geopolitics and biblical prophecy concerning the end times. This was epitomised in the run up to the United Kingdom’s referendum on continued membership of the European Union in June 2016. Since its inception, many premillennialists have interpreted the European Union as the place where the Antichrist emerges. Material objects associated with the European Union such as architecture, sculptures, currency and even posters, have been routinely highlighted as providing clear signs of the coming eschaton. Prophetic links between the European Union and satanic agencies, purported to be behind the ambition for an expanding European confederacy, ensured that many premillennialists voted to leave the European Union or were advised to do so in light of such prophetic signifiers. Utilising Webb Keane’s notion of representational economies, I argue that a premillennialist representational economy drives the search for signs in the everyday, and specifically those associated with the European Union. In this case, such semiotic promiscuity ratified the need to leave the European Union.
    • Brexit, prophecy, and conspiracy: A necessary rejection of an endtime empire

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (University of California Press, 2018-02-01)
      This study examines why some pretribulation premillennialist Christian leaders in the United Kingdom instructed their followers, both implicitly and explicitly, to vote to leave the European Union in the referendum in June 2016. The formation of the European Union is regarded as central to the fulfilment of prophecy by many premillennialists as it is purported to be the revived Roman Empire found in the books of Daniel and Revelation in the Bible. On the face of it, to vote to leave the European Union would seem to be contrary to such prophetic conjecture given the importance of the United Kingdom’s role in the Union, and the perceived destabilising impact this would have on it. This article argues, utilising evidence from interviews with two premillennialist leaders and other contemporary sources, that voting to leave did not necessarily contradict previous teaching. Rather, voting to leave was not only consistent with this teaching but also reflected the rejection of many features of the late modern condition. However, the rejection of the latter has sometimes resulted in a move beyond the premillennialist prophetic framework into the realm of conspiracy beliefs.
    • Brian Bocking: Making the Study of Religions

      Scharbrodt, Oliver; University of Chester (Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 2016-06-31)
      Writing an academic biography of Brian Bocking is a formidable task for various reasons: first, there is the anticipation of a witty, self-ironic comment from him mocking the whole exercise itself and his own person at the same time: “Has my obituary already been written?” is the kind of comment one would expect from him. Second, there has always been something intimidating about Brian’s physical and intellectual stature. Third, in a professional context, Brian has always been very discreet about his private life, first and foremost about his own religious convictions. Brian has been part of a generation of Study of Religions scholars who clearly separate their religious beliefs or unbeliefs which they hold in private from their professional engagement in the academic study of religions.
    • Bringing Barth’s critique of religion to the inter‐faith table

      Greggs, Tom; University of Chester (University of Chicago Press, 2008-01)
      Although he criticized Barth under the enigmatic phrase “positivism of revelation,” Bonhoeffer saw Barth’s criticism of religion as “his really great merit.” In the present age in which inter-faith dialogue has become more pressing than it has perhaps ever before been, theology can at times engage in two conversations that are not only separate but at worst self‐contradictory: in its discussions with secular society, theology can engage in critical discussions about religion, drinking deeply from the well of criticism offered by the likes of Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Durkheim, and Marx; yet, in its discussions in inter‐faith settings, the danger can arise that these critiques are thrown out altogether or at least lie in abeyance.
    • Can the Bible mean whatever we want it to mean?

      Thiselton, Anthony (Chester Academic Press, 2005-05-27)
      Thhis book discusses current debates about Biblical interpretations and textual meanings, as well as the impact of postmodern perspectives on Biblical interpretation and Christian theology.
    • Can there be theology after Darwin? The Dawkins delusion

      Greggs, Tom; University of Chester (2008-11-26)
      In a novel approach, Dr Greggs asserted that far from a foe to be combated, Dawkins’ thought was of significant benefit to theology in order to help theology recognise its true and proper object – the study of God. Comparing the use of Dawkins to the benefits theology found from engaging with Feuerbach, the lecture pointed to the need for Christian theology to carefully differentiate differing forms of knowledge, and for theology to understand its genuine role. Dr Greggs then went on to consider how theology must not (like Dawkins) confuse God with religion, and how Dawkins’ work mirrors much of 20th and 21st century theology in wishing to get rid of the deus ex machina or the ‘god of the gaps’. Where Greggs discovered a problem with Dawkins’ account, however, was with regards to its anti-pluralist intolerance, and the potential (a)theopolitical dimensions to his thinking.”
    • The category of “religion” in public classification: Charity registration of the Druid Network in England and Wales

      Owen, Suzanne; Taira, Teemu; University of Chester & Leeds Trinity University ; University of Turku (Brill, 2015-05-27)
      On 21 September 2010 the Druid Network was registered by the Charity Commission for England and Wales as a charity for the advancement of religion for public benefit. The decision document explores in detail whether it is possible to consider the Druid Network as ‘religious’ according to the charity law definition of religion. This chapter examines the decision itself as an example of how the category of ‘religion’ functions in public classification and extends it to the analysis of its significance for the field of Druidry in Britain. By extending the analysis to Druids themselves and to the media response, we investigate how the category of ‘religion’ functions in regulating, controlling and enabling different agencies.
    • Christ and evolution: Wonder and wisdom

      Deane-Drummond, Celia; University of Chester (SCM Press, 2009-02-18)
      This book is about Christian theology and evolution.
    • A Christian Case for Farmed Animal Welfare

      Adam, Margaret B.; Clough, David L.; Grumett, David; University of Chester; University of Chester; University of Edinburgh (MDPI, 2019-12-11)
      It is now common to blame Christianity for broader society’s general inattention to the needs and comfort of animals in general, and farmed animals in particular. This critique of Christianity claims that certain biblical themes and biblical passages form the foundation for an anti- animal position that Christianity has imposed on Christians and on wider Western society. This article concedes that Christianity has often been used to justify exploitation of animals, but argues that it is a mistake to consider Christianity inevitably opposed to concern for animals. After reviewing the views of critics such as Lynn White Jr., Peter Singer, and Tom Regan, the article demonstrates the complexity of interpreting biblical passages and the possibility of readings that affirm the importance of treating animals well. It shows that Christians have indeed been advocates animals, notably in relation to the first legislation against animal cruelty in the early nineteenth century and the formation of the RSPCA. Finally, it proposes a constructive framework for a Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare that could provide the basis for Christian action to reduce consumption of animals and shift to higher welfare sources.
    • Christian Salvations in a Multi-Faith World: Challenging the Cult of Normalcy

      Wayne Morris; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-08-27)
      This paper explores that alternative understandings of salvations from within Christianity may be useful for developing new forms of Christian praxes for a multi-faith world today, conscious that the future of the planet is largely dependent on respectful forms of human co-operation that were not necessarily observed in the past.
    • Christianity and the new social order: A manifesto for a fairer future

      Atherton, John; Baker, Chris; Reader, John; Manchester Cathedral ; University of Chester ; Diocese of Oxford (SPCK, 2011-09-15)
      This book examines the direction and political vision of Britain, within a framework of the ideas of William Beveridge and William Temple.
    • Christology, vindication, and martyrdom in the Gospel of Mark and the Apocalypse: Two New Testament views

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2014-11-20)
      This book chapter discusses the persecution of early Christians and martyrdom in the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Revelation.
    • Claiming Barth for ethics: The last two decades

      Clough, David; Leyden, Michael; University of Chester (Brill, 2010-01-01)
      This article discusses various studies of Karl Barth's ethics written since 1990.
    • Confessional theology

      Greggs, Tom; University of Cambridge (2006)
    • Consuming Animal Creatures: The Christian Ethics of Eating Animals

      Clough, David; University of Chester (SAGE, 2016-10-20)
      This article argues that Christians have strong faith-based reasons to avoid consuming animal products derived from animals that have not been allowed to flourish as fellow creatures of God, and that Christians should avoid participating in systems that disallow such flourishing. It considers and refutes objections to addressing this as an issue of Christian ethics, before drawing on a developed theological understanding of animal life in to argue that the flourishing of fellow animal creatures is of ethical concern for Christians. Since the vast majority of animal products currently available for purchase are derived from farmed animals reared in modern intensive modes that fail to allow for their flourishing, and this practice is harmful for humans and the environment as well as farmed animals, the article argues that Christians should avoid consuming these products.
    • Convergence and Asymmetry: Observations on the Current State of Jewish-Christian Dialogue

      Vincent, Alana; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-11-06)
      Drawing on a survey of forty-five statements on the status of Jewish- Christian dialogue, this article argues that the theme of convergence which underlies a substantial portion of this dialogue programme arises from an asymmetric power relationship, in which Christian institutions have been insufficiently attentive to the issue of Jewish self-understanding.
    • Creating Charisma Online: The Role of Digital Presence in the Formation of Religious Identity

      Tee, Caroline; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-04-23)
      This article investigates the construction and transmission of charisma through online channels, and its role in the formation of religious identities. Mindful of Max Weber’s observation that charisma inhabits the relationship between a leader and their followers, I argue for a critical reappraisal of the theoretical model in light of the ubiquity in the 21st century of new, virtual forms of social encounter. I focus my analysis on the Christian creationist movement in the USA, and particularly on an influential leader called Ken Ham. Using digital ethnographic methods, I show how Ham constructs charisma online, and how a virtual community forms itself around his charismatic claims. I illustrate how this virtual community intersects with offline worlds, and suggest that the theme park attractions that Ham’s organisation runs (Creation Museum, Ark Encounter) are imbued with deflected charisma by virtue of their association with his online avatar.
    • Creation and Animals

      Clough, David; University of Chester (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017-07-27)
      The chapter discusses the implications of considering non-human animals and the wider creation in the context of atonement doctrine.