Rev Canon Angela Tilby, Christchurch Cathedral Oxford 
Tuesday, 22 May, 2012, 07:40 AM - Theology, TV, Tilby
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

And the big news that everyone's talking about today, is what was on the telly last night. It was the second episode of 56 Up, the series that has been visiting the same set of people every seven years since 1964.

The initial aim was to illustrate class divisions, even in the very young, and how this affects someone's life chances.

I'm sure you're all asking what I asked, what does this tell us about the Invisible Magic Friend? Well, there are only two possibilities: either the Invisible Magic Friend gave us free will, or the the Invisible Magic Friend charted out our whole life in advance and there's nothing we can do about it. Whether we have free will or not is therefore a theological question, because we have to decide what the Invisible Magic Friend is doing. This illustrates, once again, the practicality and usefulness of theology.

Calvin thought the Invisible Magic Friend had predetermined who would be saved and who would be condemned before he created us, so there really wasn't much point in doing anything. Others think the Invisible Magic Friend looks on us as a kind of reality TV show - an endless source of entertainment.

The makers of 56 Up may be trying to give us a window into a small group of people's lives, but they're really doing the most fascinating theology.

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