In 1916 two significant events became foundational myths of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They were the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme. At the heart of the respective myths was blood sacrifice, a theological concept combined with an Irish myth. Was the shared myth of blood sacrifice ethical, good theology, or obscene and morally bankrupt? This lecture will critically examine the theology of the Rising and the Somme, it’s expression by early war poets and it’s more historical roots in a millennium of Christian theology of the death of Jesus. It will look at the violent God image underpinning the theology and ask if this God is ethical or believable in 2016. An alternative Christian ethic and theology will be explored and whether the death of Jesus means that there is no sacred demand for blood sacrifice ever again. We cannot change the past, including the theology of the past, but can we choose to change the theological worldview of the present and the future?
Dr. Johnston McMaster is senior researcher, writer and lecturer with the Ethical and Shared Remembering 1912-1922 programme in The Junction, Derry/Londonderry. For sixteen years he directed a Community Education programme, Education for Reconciliation, with the Irish School of Ecumenics in Northern Ireland and Border Counties. He remains as Adjunct Assistant Professor with Irish School of Ecumenics/Trinity College Dublin. He has lectured nationally and internationally and is a broadcaster. His most recent publications are War and Memory 1914-1918, Ethics and the Easter Rising (both with Dr Cathy Higgins), and A Word Between Us: Ethics and Interfaith Dialogue. Other areas of interest are Political Theology, Socio-political Hermeneutics and Celtic Christianity.
The lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.