TWO-EYED TRUTH

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER … yesterday Bishop Robert Atwell asked “What is your vision of God? Be sure it will be reflected in the way you live your life” … and because he went on to recall his Cambridge days and Bishop John Robinson, I scuttled home to my bookshelves in search of the latter’s 1979 publication, Truth is Two-Eyed. Here with one eye on Christianity and the other on Hinduism John Robinson tells of his belief “that looking at reality with two eyes can enrich faith and understanding; it can also be a challenge, particularly to those who have taken the uniqueness and finality of Christ and Christianity too much for granted”.

What a gift Bishop Robinson was to the Church, and what a gift his words might yet be to contemporary synod or convention …

By temperament, training or tradition most of us have allowed ourselves to become one-eyed or so monocular in our vision of reality that effectively our ‘lazy eye’, spiritually speaking, contributes nothing. And some people, not least religious people, deliberately close that other eye, because, in a sense that Jesus did not mean it, it is a cause of ‘offence’. They would rather be blinkered and bigoted. And if in that mood they pluck it out, it is scarcely likely to save them from hell, and their vision of ‘life’ will certainly be mean and narrow.

… Readiness to look at reality through both eyes at once brings the promise of extra-dimensionality and depth, but presents the labour of a fresh learning and focusing progress. It also, as we shall see, brings the danger of a mixed or syncretistic vision, which in dealing with Hinduism is again always very present.

… But this book is written out of the conviction that neither the labour nor the danger should be allowed to act as a deterrent. For to live in a society of competing one-eyed men represents an impoverished and, in an inescapably unified world, an increasingly dangerous condition.

“Every generation should have its prophet” said Martyn Percy in 2003. “John Robinson is one such – and he is not without honour”. (see Honest to God – 40 years on, SCM Press, 2004, page 36)

PS: Just read Bishop Nick Baines’

… plea to myself as well as others for what I call a confident humility – that however sure I am about the ways of God and the world, I must reserve the possibility that I have a partial perspective and that this might change in the future.

Every generation …