I was only previously aware of Daniel C. Maguire as a theologian on the liberal end of Roman Catholicism. But it seems he now rejects belief in God altogether and has written a book called Christianity without God.
I’m not interested in criticizing anyone for what they can or can’t believe. Atheism can be a rational response to the world as we experience it. But what I’m less clear on (even after reading the interview linked above) is why, in the absence of some form of theistic belief, you would still want to place the Bible at the center of your moral and spiritual life.
Sure, you can mine the Bible for ethical wisdom that doesn’t make an explicit reference to God, and you may be able to use its stories as powerful parables of social justice, as Maguire seems to be suggesting. But this seems like it would require an awful lot of effort if nothing else. Why go to all the trouble of jerry-rigging a godless Christianity when there are plenty of perfectly respectable non-theistic traditions available?
It’s strange when people reject belief in God, but still want to give the Bible and/or Jesus pride of place in their moral and spiritual lives. To my mind, the Bible (or the teachings of Jesus) without God would be more than a little bit like Hamlet without the prince.
It could be, as the recently departed Marcus Borg used to put it, that the God Maguire doesn’t believe in is one I don’t believe in either. But I’m skeptical that a Christianity that totally dispensed with the transcendent would be worth holding on to, or even particularly interesting.