The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he's not the sort of man to sugar the pill. (video below)
UPDATE 8/26/11: Analysis/opinion by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
-- From "Dutch rethink Christianity for a doubtful world" by Robert Pigott, BBC religious affairs correspondent 8/5/11
. . . the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord's Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse's sermon seems bleak - "Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get".
"God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience."
His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.
Professor Hijme Stoffels of the VU University Amsterdam says . . . "In our society it's called 'somethingism'," he says. "There must be 'something' between heaven and earth, but to call it 'God', and even 'a personal God', for the majority of Dutch is a bridge too far.
"Christian churches are in a market situation. They can offer their ideas to a majority of the population which is interested in spirituality or some kind of religion."
They want the Netherlands to be a laboratory for Christianity, experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.
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Also read New America: Secularized Like Europe, Spiritualized Like Oprah