More about the Book
God, Actually deals with all the 'cutting-edge' religious issues in some depth. For example:
Williams is not a young-Earth, six-day
Creationist. He accepts the Big Bang theory and the basics of Darwinian
evolution. He accepts that both the Universe and the Earth are billions of years
old, and that Man (Homo sapiens) is a recently-evolved species. But he rejects
the notion that science now has most of the answers to the "how" and the "why"
of the Universe - or ever will. He is convinced that the Universe cannot be a
mindless, random accident. He argues that there is strong scientific evidence
for the existence of a supernatural Creator - in cosmology, physics, chemistry
and biology. In short, there is a "mind" behind everything - God. This is the
thrust of so-called Intelligent Design theory, and Williams believes that it
should be taught in schools.
Williams rejects the idea that Man's earthly happiness (individual or
collective) is the be-all and end-all of everything. He also rejects the idea
that Man is an utterly insignificant part of a purely material Universe. He
believes that Man has a special place in the Universe. Two unique capacities of
the human mind (cognition and conscience), and human love, are strong pointers
to God's existence and to God's intentions for Mankind.
Who was Jesus?
Williams believes that Jesus of Nazareth was divine. In this key
respect, he is an orthodox Christian. He refutes a number of fashionable
- the "ultra-rationalist" view that Jesus was, and is, a man-made myth;
- the "common sense" view that He was merely a fine ethical teacher;
- the "liberal" Christian view that He was an extraordinary and inspiring
figure, but still merely human; and
- the "moderate" Christian view that He was in some way sent by God, but neither
performed miracles nor was physically resurrected.
Williams's views are an interesting mix. He attempts to discern where
a Christian should stand on the various issues. In general, he stands well to
the Left on the seminal social justice issues - war and peace; the distribution
of wealth; human rights. He believes in sensible environmentalism including
urgent measures to tackle climate change. He is mostly supportive of gay rights
and opposes capital punishment. But he leans firmly to the Right on many other
social issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning, divorce and parenting. His
views on the rule of law and censorship are in the centre.
Islam and other faiths.
Williams is respectful of most religions, including
Islam. Indeed, he argues that mainstream Islam (as distinct from the extreme
jihadist version) is the belief system closest to Christianity. He believes that
Christianity is the most fully satisfying faith, intellectually and ethically,
but that it cannot be the only way to God.
Life after death.
Williams believes in the afterlife. His beliefs are not
strictly orthodox - in particular, he does not believe that, when they die, all
non-Christians will be consigned to eternal punishment in Hell. However, he does
believe in a form of divine judgment. He also believes that there is a Hell, and
that there is a Heaven.