Geoffrey Barlow (editor), “Vintage Muggeridge: Religion and Society”

I’m a Muggeridge fan, and I’ll begin by noting that he endorses Pascal’s wager (31; see also 41, 64-65, 74-75, 92, 111, 150, 120).

But to show I’m evenhanded:  The chapter “The Bible Today” is, I think, unduly dismissive of the importance of the historicity of the Bible, seeming to suggest that human truth is so inevitably partial and subjective.  Of course, to the extent he is saying that any text can bear only so much weight, sure; he may also be drawing an Old Testament/New Testament distinction, at least implicitly (he acknowledges (79) the importance of the Incarnation “and all the momentous sequel”); he also suggests that sometimes critiques are picking trivial nits and ignoring what’s really important,  He also makes the point that larger truth may be told through nonfactual stories/myths.

My beloved we’re-of-course-not-all-equal-but-we-are-all-brothers point is found in the chapter (83-86) “Comrade or Brother!” (but shouldn’t that be a question mark instead of an exclamation point?).   I first heard him make this point years ago when he appeared, as I think he did several times, on the show Firing Line.   And there is a difference between saying a Christian must oppose apartheid and saying a Christian must be a Marxist — that’s Muggeridge’s position, at any rate.  Note:  Muggeridge criticizes American inequality and culture in a rather typically Brit way.

Other notes:  He endorses Adler’s “ontological” proof of God (121-22).  He’s very big on rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, etc.  And he makes some very Protestant/existential points, about the individual having to work some things out with God one-on-one (125-26, 135).

By the way, Svetlana Stalin (!) wrote him a fan letter re Jesus Rediscovered (134).