Anyone who spends time in the world of religious ideas hears an occasional reference to the Time magazine you’re looking at.
The long article that followed summarized the ideas of numerous theologians who believed that the religious flame was flickering.
The article noted: “Part of the Christian mood today, suggests Christian Atheist William Hamilton, is that faith has become not a possession but a hope.”
I went back recently to the article after reading that Bill Hamilton, the “Christian atheist,” was ailing.
Nancy Haught of Religion News Service visited him at his Portland, Ore., home, where Hamilton, now 83, still lives in a post-God world, sort of. She writes:
He remains a Christian who doesn’t go to church. And faced with his own mortality, he doesn’t think much about God anymore, except when asked.
“The death of God enabled me to understand the world. Looking back, I wouldn’t have gone any other direction. I faced all my worries and questions about death long ago.”
I also came across this interesting profile of Hamilton from the Christian Century, circa 1989.
These days, the TIME magazine story is usually brought up to illustrate a mistake in thinking about God. As in “Look at how religious Americans are…” or “Religion is flourishing around the world…”
But in the last year or two, the article is often cited as a stepping stone for all the atheist authors on the best-seller lists.