Interesting to see Don Cupitt's typically shrewd observation that Christianity has gradually evolved beyond its 'church' form, to become modern western culture.
He sees this in "the way that the modern world expects Christian standards of the West. People in the poor countries expect the West to feel rather guilty about being so rich, and to acknowledge a duty to 'redistribute' its surplus wealth. They expect the West to acknowledge the sinfulness of colonialism and the slave trade, . . to go on about individual human rights, about democracy and the rule of law. In short, the rest of the world has a great range of moral expectations of the West and tries hard to exploit them. But the poor countries don't have the same expectations of other religions or culture-areas. Nobody expects the Turks to apologize to the Armenians, or the Egyptian Arabs to the Copts, the Indians to dwell on the evils of the Maghul Empire, or the Zanzibaris to demand repentance and reparations for centuries of slave-trading in dhows down the East African coast."
"The world assumes (rightly, it seems) that Christian values do still greatly influence Western behaviour. Many commentators assume that Christianity is a dying faith whereas Islam is very much alive. Because other faiths and cultures show absolutely no inclination to be self-critical in public, they can confidently assert their own moral superiority and the West's relative decadence. But are rich oil sheiks apologizing to black East Africa for slavery, and offering aid without strings? Seemingly not, despite the fact that Almsgiving (Zakat) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam."
His conclusion? That "Christianity is doing better in its afterlife as 'Western culture' than ever it did as a religion."