Jesus For The Non-religious

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ajax18
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Post by ajax18 »

I see a lot of truth in what Spong is saying. I think Mormonism has tried to address this in the idea of continuing revelation. Yet it's much more difficult to pull truth out of Mormonism now since what is said now by Church leaders has far more to do with politics than truth. To me there must have been a certain beauty and depth of explanation in the days of Joseph Smith that the modern Church sorely lacks. The only problem I see with moving on past old religion to a new one is that the old religion seemed to offer so much hope. What other religion offers a universal resurrection? To me death is a major issue, and a big reason why religion was ever invented in the first place. [/img]
And when the confederates saw Jackson standing fearless as a stone wall the army of Northern Virginia took courage and drove the federal army off their land.

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Post by richardMdBorn »

My new comments are in bold.

Richard We need to back up a level or two. Is there any sexual relationship that you consider wrong? Is there any sexual relationship forbidden in the Bible which is still forbidden? I assume that you would agree that rape is wrong. How about incest? If the prohibition on homosexuality is to be reinterpreted, how do you justify continuing the prohibition against incest. Can sons and mothers get married? How about the possibility of two or more women marrying
two or more men. If the world sets the agenda for the church, where does it end?

Roger I'm disappointed you chose to "...assume..." so much of what i might consider "wrong". To then surreptitiously relate that to suppositions and imaginings irrelevant to the specific, "homosexual relationships" seems a bit manipulative. Can you see that from my side? At the negotiating-table we might consider that "bad-faith-bargaing". Be that as it may, you've played your hand... Where to from here???

Richard My point is not that you believe in any of these things. Rather, it is that the attempt to make homosexuality consistent with biblical teaching does not derive from the Bible or some exciting biblical studies. Instead, there are homosexuals who want to have their practices blessed by the religious community. Thus, society gives the church the direction in which it should go. Once this process begins, where does it end? I’m not arguing here for an inerrant Bible; I’m arguing whether the Bible has any authority at all. The Nazis disliked the Gospel of John because it states that salvation is of the Jews. I assume that you would agree that the Christians under the Third Reich should not have submitted. Thus, there are times when the Church should resist the culture.

Roger Do you believe "Homosexual Relationships" to be evil, and leading those involved to Hell? "IF" so, can you substantiate that--other than from biblical text? How do you see the Homosexual community as a part of our greater society?

Richard. Yes, I do think they are evil. Perhaps you should read some of the articles by a friend of mine who is not an evangelical. It’s late, and I may find more articles of hers on the net tomorrow. the second one is a summary only.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/ma ... ip?id=7359
http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft0001/ ... nberg.html

Here’s one under her maiden name (she didn’t like the changes the editor made).
http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_q ... hools.html

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Richard, thanks for the refs. I read Faluty's book when it first came out. I know personally one who was having difficulties fitting-into the job market, a Professor actually, who could point to her work and say, "see, that's what i'm faced with!" Victims have always had victimizers. Their reality...and, fully justified by them. The challenge to the rest of us is to understand "their plight". And where possible apply principles of social/economic/political justice...

Richard: My point is...that the attempt to make homosexuality consistent with biblical teaching does not derive from the Bible or some exciting biblical studies. Instead, there are homosexuals who want to have their practices blessed by the religious community. Thus, society gives the church the direction in which it should go. Once this process begins, where does it end? I’m not arguing here for an inerrant Bible; I’m arguing whether the Bible has any authority at all. The Nazis disliked the Gospel of John because it states that salvation is of the Jews. I assume that you would agree that the Christians under the Third Reich should not have submitted. Thus, there are times when the Church should resist the culture.


To make "...homosexuality consistent with biblical teaching..." is not my purpose. Too many evils have been perpetrated in the name of "God"--slavery, genocide, prejudice... This is not saying "homosexuality" is evil, except in the eye of the beholder. As the afore mentioned 'evils' were seen to be 'righteous'-- in the eye-of-the-beholder.

I see no reason not to "bless" a monogamous, loving and caring relationship. Would you rather it be "cursed"? "...Bible...authority..." is simply a human construct to legitamize particular socio-theological edicts to influence human activity to conform to biblical/religious Establishment tradition. Not all bad. Not all good.

However, it behooves one, and all, to weigh such edicts against the "Two New Commandments" IMSCO. Then accept, reject or modify accordingly...


...there are times when the Church should resist the culture.


Yes! And times when it should not! Unfortunately, the Church has too often resisted social/cultural change to maintain their relationship with their benefactors, siting THE bible as THEIR Authority to do so. I think this might be one of those times???

As usual 'fear' fuels their claims of being 'victimized' by the 'Progressives'. Who, they greatly fear, will destroy all that's moral and good if... Same old, same old. Yet Blacks can now sit and drink wherever they please; education is free; children MUST attend school; parents cannot beat their children; Gov & NGO agencies assist the poor; and yes being Homosexual does not exlude one from housing, education, the military, Church positions etc. etc...

Richard, i read your material. I appreciate the concerns expressed. However, i think them alarmist and fear mongering. IMSCO, when emotions, on both sides, give way to rational observation of both heteral & homo integration in the socio-economic scheme of things, there can be little but mutual benefit to everyone. Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

You asked me to comment about homosexuality apart from biblical texts. That's fine. For people who don't accept the Bible's authority, its assertions are obviously irrelevant. However, folks like Spong need to deal with it and they do a poor job IMO.

Let's take simply the issue of health. Do you think that homosexuality is neutral as far as health is concerned. Are gays more likely to be promiscuous?

Richard

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Miss Taken wrote:Before I go out for the day.

One thought that comes to mind is whether or not Spong's works have any relevance today.

I think they do. Christianity over here is (other than in name only) very much dying on the vine.
Many can't relate to it in terms of the reality of their own culture and needs.

In this way I see Spong as trying to bridge the gap between today's scientific advances and what really is
a very antiquated and inaccessible culture such as is portrayed in the bible.

His message, and hopefully the message of Jesus of Nazareth is still the same though in dynamic terms.
The core message of Jesus to love others and yourself and in so doing love God is the same.
Everything else is just fluff.

Just a few thoughts.

Mary
Hi Mary,

I avoid citing numbers as a measure of success since large movements can die out. One and the truth are a majority IMO. However, Spong’s brand of Christianity is dying out so it can’t be answer from that perspective.. Where do you live?

One of my favorite preachers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, was interviewed by the BBC in 1972:

In a continuation of the discussion with Joan Blakewell after the filming had concluded she confessed that this was a type of Christianity which she had never met before. All the clerics whom she had previously interviewed had been concerned to assure her that she was a Christian. ML-J was the first to tell her what she knew was the truth about herself.

Iain Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith, 635.

Spong’s brand of Christianity is a dying fad.

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Post by Mary »

Hi Richard,

I live in Oxfordshire. When I say that 'christianity' is dying on the vine, I really need to be more specific.
What I am saying is that the orthodox version of christianity as we have it in terms of church liturgy and practice
makes christianity unappealing for many. A doctrine which speaks of leading only those who confess the name of Jesus
and blasts to hell every one else, is also not one that your average thinker today will take seriously.

Of course that's just my opinion on why christianity has become so inaccessible to many. Add to that the pomp and garb, and the
C of E and Catholic Churches use, and misuse I should say, of power and I think you have a good number of reasons why many are
put off.

Religion 'can' be the opiate of the people, and I think a lot don't want to be 'drugged' anymore into accepting anything just because God
says so.

Having said that, that doesn't mean that 'spirituality' is on the decrease nor good works, nor good ethics, but that people perhaps show it outside of organised belief systems?

Mary

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Post by Roger Morrison »

richardMdBorn wrote:Hi Roger,

You asked me to comment about homosexuality apart from biblical texts. That's fine. For people who don't accept the Bible's authority, its assertions are obviously irrelevant. However, folks like Spong need to deal with it and they do a poor job IMO.

Let's take simply the issue of health. Do you think that homosexuality is neutral as far as health is concerned. Are gays more likely to be promiscuous?

Richard


Hi Richard, good terms. Too often some folks have difficulty when biblical attachment is severed...

I'm not sure about "health-neutralty" even in other segments of society. Native Americans are prone to Diabetes... AIDS did have its beginning in the Gay community, as best we know. Would it have started, or not, some place else, is simply conjeture. Unfortunately initial indifference to HIV/AIDS by the greater community exacerbated the broblem.

As i'm sure you are aware, many religious types intoned it as a "Gay problem--not ours--and God's punishment..." How indefensible, short sighted, and immoral. Especially in a society that boasts itself "Christian"... As AIDS comes under control in both heteral and homo communities will "health" be an issue then?

"Promiscuity" is a problem in both communities. Are promiscuous Gays worse than promiscuous Straights? I don't think so. AND they don't make babies to be left in the care of a single-mom, when they move on...

Adult, pre-marital, unprotected heteral-sex is irresponsible. As it is in the Gay community. However, i don't think we should confine our thinking to sex. What the Gay community deserves, IMSCO, is the right to enjoy a relationship with the person of their choice, and to have the same social-securities as do heteral couples.

Statistically Gays are, generally speaking, in higher income brackets, and contribute skills and talents that enrich the lives of all... They make good neighbors, responsible citizens, and caring parents. They don't tend to violence and crime... Really, other than being different, what is so undesireable about them?? Have you associates, friends or family who are Gay or Lesbian?

"Spongism" :-) a fad?? Surely you must be joking? "New Christianity" in many forms, is opening the world to a Spirituality never experienced in the "Hell-fire" fear, and guilt "Old-Time" religions. Are you, or anyone, familiar with "Agape" in LA?

Spong is not an atheist, his personal relationship with Christ is as valid as anyone's. Just what is it in him that you detest? Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Miss Taken wrote:Hi Richard,

I live in Oxfordshire. When I say that 'christianity' is dying on the vine, I really need to be more specific.
What I am saying is that the orthodox version of christianity as we have it in terms of church liturgy and practice
makes christianity unappealing for many. A doctrine which speaks of leading only those who confess the name of Jesus
and blasts to hell every one else, is also not one that your average thinker today will take seriously.

Of course that's just my opinion on why christianity has become so inaccessible to many. Add to that the pomp and garb, and the
C of E and Catholic Churches use, and misuse I should say, of power and I think you have a good number of reasons why many are
put off.

Religion 'can' be the opiate of the people, and I think a lot don't want to be 'drugged' anymore into accepting anything just because God
says so.

Having said that, that doesn't mean that 'spirituality' is on the decrease nor good works, nor good ethics, but that people perhaps show it outside of organised belief systems?

Mary
Hi Mary,

When I was at Cambridge in 1994, I learned from the Kings College Chapel that Christ was not a Christian and that a supposed Christian church did no use "in the year of our Lord (AD). I asked Prof. John Morrill, a RC, about the college chaplins and he said that most of the new ones believed in the resurrection. What a concept! I agree that religion in the UK is in a sad state. Prof David Bebbington said that church attendance in Scotland, which is the highest in the UK, is down.

Richard

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Post by Mary »

Richard, I think that's what Spong tries to address. Most people nowadays are far too savvy to buy into a global flood, or Adam and Eve, or why we have a rainbow! and all he is trying to do, is to say, (in my opinion) let's not take these things too literally.

Let's temper what we have in the blble, much of it culture( and some not very nice culture) from the standpoint of a particular set of writers, redactors and translators, all with their own belief systems,....with a bit of common sense in the light of what we know now about various belief systems in the ancient world, and in the light of what we know now (which okay isn't that much) about how the world works!!

Mary

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Post by Runtu »

It goes beyond that. As someone who thinks that words have meaning, Spong is an offense to me. The deconstructionists were an offense to me. It’s similar to Marx discussing how arguments are bound by class consciousness but exempting himself.


I hope I'm not an offense to you, but I would argue that words always have meaning in context, which is necessarily bound up in time and place. I always liked Paul De Man's idea that a word's "meaning" depends on metonymy (its location in a text) and metaphor (the choice of words to the exclusion of all other possible words). Thus, words have meaning, but it's not a one-to-one correspondence between signifier and signified but rather meaning resides in filling in the gaps through reading and interpreting. And what fills in the gaps are our experiences and cultural expectations.

I am not familiar with Spong (admittedly I've never been all that interested in mainstream Christian theology, probably because of latent Mormon disdain for it), but the idea that the Word is a hardfastened repository of meaning strikes me as untenable.
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Post by richardMdBorn »

Miss Taken wrote:Richard, I think that's what Spong tries to address. Most people nowadays are far too savvy to buy into a global flood, or Adam and Eve, or why we have a rainbow! and all he is trying to do, is to say, (in my opinion) let's not take these things too literally.

Let's temper what we have in the blble, much of it culture( and some not very nice culture) from the standpoint of a particular set of writers, redactors and translators, all with their own belief systems,....with a bit of common sense in the light of what we know now about various belief systems in the ancient world, and in the light of what we know now (which okay isn't that much) about how the world works!!

Mary
Hi Mary,

I think that Spong goes far beyond that. He's marrying the church to the spirit of the age. Unfortunately for his task, the spirit of the age changes and a new post Spongian revolution will soon be necessary.

Richard

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Hi Richard, you say:
I think that Spong goes far beyond that. He's marrying the church to the spirit of the age. Unfortunately for his task, the spirit of the age changes and a new post Spongian revolution will soon be necessary.




[quote]...the spirit of the age changes... [quote] Exactly!! And births new insight, new questions, new conclusions, new attitudes... Has moved us from Popedom to Evangelism et al... through Luther. Wesleys, Calvin, Raikes, Booth........

Spong is but one in a chain who, as Mary suggests--and i agree--is bridging the gap between religious superstitions of the past--that today cannot find reasonable substantiation--and knowledge/information/reason beyond the imaginations of our ancient kin.

Spong, You nor me are in a "revolution". We are ALL party to the Relgious/Spiritual "Evolution"--as participants, spectators, for or against the "Two New Commandments" Jesus introduced.

IMSCO, Spong, and folks such as Mary, are champianing those "love and justice" principles to practical applications that seem beyond the ken of Religious Fundamentalism that fuels a large segment of Evangelism, that tends more to "the next life", than this one. As i see it... Warm regards, Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

I suspect that a discussion likes ours has occurred thousands of times over the past few decades. Thus, I would have been surprised if you had not reacted to my friend’s articles by stating,

Roger I think them alarmist and fear mongering.

And to my question about the spirit of the age

Roger Exactly!! And births new insight, new questions, new conclusions, new attitudes... Has moved us from Popedom to Evangelism et al... through Luther. Wesleys, Calvin, Raikes, Booth........

Richard And what if the spirit of the age is totalitarian, Islamic, etc. How do you differentiate between the positive and negative movements. One must often stand against the spirit of the age.

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Hi Richard, from your post:
Roger: Exactly!! And births new insight, new questions, new conclusions, new attitudes... Has moved us from Popedom to Evangelism et al... through Luther. Wesleys, Calvin, Raikes, Booth........

Richard: And what if the spirit of the age is totalitarian, Islamic, etc. How do you differentiate between the positive and negative movements. One must often stand against the spirit of the age.

"And what "IF" it isn't? And, advancement has been resisted by those who resist any "spirit" of change? Copernicus, Galileo, Newton come to mind. What 'might' your reaction have been in 1541 and over the next centuries???

The 'world' has lived through totalitarianisms for centuries, and continued to grow intellectually and spiritually. Had it not, "Satan" would be winning, and "God" would be a loser! I don't happen to think of "God" or humanity, in those "negative" terms.

It must be clear to you that i tend to be formed in the positive 'school'... I don't understand how one can look back over the millenniums and not be grateful to be living in 2007... Will you please present some reasons that you fear the future, and want to play, "What if 'bad' stuff?"

Please don't think i'm blind to the 'evils' man imposes upon man. I am most aware of community and world injustice. They challenge all good folks to remedy the sufferings they cause.

I think one "differentiates" because humanity was/is not born depraved. Humankind is evolving slowly to more empathetic, thinking feeling compassionate beings than here-to-fore. If not so, then Jesus was an utter failure! OR, his message has been misconstrued over the last 2,000 years by misguided Evangelism selling sites in Heaven to those avoiding their "Stewardship" here...

Enter John Selby Spong, as, not the first, nor will he be the last, but simply a 'current' Reformer to stir the putrid, stagnant waters of Establishment Christianism to aeration and life... As i see our vibrant advancing humanity... Warm regards, Roger

Edited to add the following excerpt from an interview of Rick Warren, "The Purpose Driven Life", author:

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do
forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you
figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one
now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into
another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in
your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He
is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's
not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in
Christ likeness


I'm not sure how you--Richard or anyone--will 'see' this? My friend, who forwarded it to me, thought it inspirational, and i suppose reassuring... That i can appreciate from their perspective...

However, to me it bodes saddness and a greater degree of dispair than joy or hope. These are suggested to be more a part of some distant far-off place than with family, loved ones and "neighbors" (remember, all are neighbors) here on earth day-by-day in mortality.

It seems to me "grow(th) in character, in Christ likeness" would bring happiness and freedom? A lighter "yoke"?

I see life as a series of closely linked happiness, joyful experiences, fulfilling relationships, opportunities of growth, stretching capacity, learning, achieving, sharing, trading, dealing with reality, compromises, over-coming challenges...

To see life, as Rick Warren states,
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one
now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into
another one.

I think is to be off the track. Possibly, this does appeal to some. If it fills their 'need'...

But, i think this escapist attitude is what has hindered the real liberating message of Jesusism: (The Good-news!) "Divinity links Humanity to Creativity that when exercised with "Charitable Intent" heals, clothes, feeds, attends others and establishes communities of goodwill, peace and co-operation...

Traditional Christianism has failed misserably to abide "The Two New Commandments"--to this point in time. Might folks like Spong nudge it along? We can hope, eh? Roger

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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger

Roger "And what "IF" it isn't? And, advancement has been resisted by those who resist any "spirit" of change? Copernicus, Galileo, Newton come to mind. What 'might' your reaction have been in 1541 and over the next centuries???

Richard Where did I say that we should resist any change.

Roger The 'world' has lived through totalitarianisms for centuries, and continued to grow intellectually and spiritually. Had it not, "Satan" would be winning, and "God" would be a loser! I don't happen to think of "God" or humanity, in those "negative" terms.

Richard Don’t you agree that totalitarianism in the 20th century could murder people in the tens of millions. That was not possible previously.

Roger It must be clear to you that i tend to be formed in the positive 'school'... I don't understand how one can look back over the millenniums and not be grateful to be living in 2007...

Richard Where did I assert otherwise.

Roger Will you please present some reasons that you fear the future, and want to play, "What if 'bad' stuff?"

Richard I fear some aspects of society today. You don’t fear this?

Roger Please don't think i'm blind to the 'evils' man imposes upon man. I am most aware of community and world injustice. They challenge all good folks to remedy the sufferings they cause.

I think one "differentiates" because humanity was/is not born depraved.

Richard I believe that humanity is born depraved.

Roger Humankind is evolving slowly to more empathetic, thinking feeling compassionate beings than here-to-fore. If not so, then Jesus was an utter failure!

Richard Why is this the case. “This is the work of God, to believe in the one he has sent.” Jn 6:29. You appear to be confusing Jesus with Teilhard de Chardin

Roger OR, his message has been misconstrued over the last 2,000 years by misguided Evangelism selling sites in Heaven to those avoiding their "Stewardship" here...

Richard The last time I checked, the man who led the abolitionist movement in the UK, William Wilberforce, was an evangelical. As was Booth, Wesley, Whitfield, etc,. They all were committed to getting ready for the afterlife and improving this life.


Roger Enter John Selby Spong, as, not the first, nor will he be the last, but simply a 'current' Reformer to stir the putrid, stagnant waters of Establishment Christianism to aeration and life... As i see our vibrant advancing humanity...

Richard Spong represents a section of the old mainline churches which is rapidly dying out.

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Good AM, Richard, thanks for our on-going :-) I'll respond in UL:

richardMdBorn wrote:Hi Roger

Roger "And what "IF" it isn't? And, advancement has been resisted by those who resist any "spirit" of change? Copernicus, Galileo, Newton come to mind. What 'might' your reaction have been in 1541 and over the next centuries???

Richard Where did I say that we should resist any change.

RM: Maybe i mistakenly picked that up by your criticism of Spong & THE changes he has implemented & advocates to move Christianism from mysticism and superstition--as he and others see it--to rational, pragmatic application of humanitarian principles...

Roger The 'world' has lived through totalitarianisms for centuries, and continued to grow intellectually and spiritually. Had it not, "Satan" would be winning, and "God" would be a loser! I don't happen to think of "God" or humanity, in those "negative" terms.

Richard Don’t you agree that totalitarianism in the 20th century could murder people in the tens of millions. That was not possible previously.

RM: I "...agree 'ANYTHING' can happen in the 20th century..." WWII brought 10's millions to their death...50M Russians alone. (if memory serves?) BUT i believe there is more resistance to that happening than ever before. Weeping Mothers and wives of dead 'soldiers' were never featured on CNN before. Death toles of 1,000s a day did little in the past but raise the battle-cry. Today it raises a "Peace Cry." For centuries 'leaders' little concerned themselves with battle fatalities. Today there is increasing accountability of leaders demanded than ever--one of the assumed of Democracy & of walking the 2 New Commandments. I preferr looking at the 'positives' "...not possible previously."

Roger It must be clear to you that i tend to be formed in the positive 'school'... I don't understand how one can look back over the millenniums and not be grateful to be living in 2007...

Richard Where did I assert otherwise.

RM: Could be i connected your dots incorrectly, as i perceived them???

Roger Will you please present some reasons that you fear the future, and want to play, "What if 'bad' stuff?"

Richard I fear some aspects of society today. You don’t fear this?

RM: I too am concerned with aspects of our global & neighborhood societies. I believe our best remedy to most is "honest-education." NOT indoctrination, nationalism or it's stiffling counter-part, patriotism. IMSCO, well informed, Universalist spiritually tuned folks understand the "Good News" better than most religious types have over tha past 2,000 years. "What the world needs now is..." CO-OPERATION between People & Nations. Sort-of Jesus stuff... Not Mammon competitve stuff... Ya know what i'm saying??

Roger Please don't think i'm blind to the 'evils' man imposes upon man. I am most aware of community and world injustice. They challenge all good folks to remedy the sufferings they cause.

I think one "differentiates" because humanity was/is not born depraved.

Richard I believe that humanity is born depraved.

RM: Therein lies the deception on which Christianism is based. It is rooted in a primitive, superstitious tale of creationism that responded to, and answered with ignorance, ageless questions: "how come, where from & why?" Those ancients cannot be faulted for their suppositions. However, today we can listen and look to more than a burning-bush for answers...

Roger Humankind is evolving slowly to more empathetic, thinking feeling compassionate beings than here-to-fore. If not so, then Jesus was an utter failure!

Richard Why is this the case. “This is the work of God, to believe in the one he has sent.” Jn 6:29. You appear to be confusing Jesus with Teilhard de Chardin

RM: I respectfully suggest, you seem to be confusing "belief in Christ" with "believing the teachings of Christ"?: Two New Commandments; make peace; great shall serve, not master; no need to fear, or hoard; don't invest in moth-food, or things that rust; where your heart is...

Roger OR, his message has been misconstrued over the last 2,000 years by misguided Evangelism selling sites in Heaven to those avoiding their "Stewardship" here...

Richard The last time I checked, the man who led the abolitionist movement in the UK, William Wilberforce, was an evangelical. As was Booth, Wesley, Whitfield, etc,. They all were committed to getting ready for the afterlife and improving this life.


RM: Did i say, "nothing good can come from Evangelists"? :-) Richard, of course there are good, socially consceinced Evangelicals as found in all segments of humanity: Atheists, Agnostics, Mormons, JWs, Communists, Saved etc etc...

Roger Enter John Selby Spong, as, not the first, nor will he be the last, but simply a 'current' Reformer to stir the putrid, stagnant waters of Establishment Christianism to aeration and life... As i see our vibrant advancing humanity...

Richard Spong represents a section of the old mainline churches which is rapidly dying out.

[b]RM:
Possibly so. And, i suggest, that's a good thing. Probably Spong is helping that demise in hope of a new understanding of Christianism based on the simple, practical message of Jesus: How to live together in harmony, even with our differences--race, creed, gender... AS opposed to the traditional, establishment churches thrust on competing and vying for souls; man's way not "God's" way.
[/b]


Pasted below is a paragraph from Spong's latest news letter (A New Christianity For A New World). I think it addresses the age old element of "FEAR" that directs too many of our behaviors and interactions. I encourage reading the complete essay on his site: Johnshelbyspong.com (Google) to better understand the man and his mission...

Behind the rhetoric and even the hyperbole that engages so many, there is an almost pathetic quest for security among religious people. This quest always seems to be attached to the conviction that human beings actually possess an ultimate and unfailing source of truth. Even here, however, there is conflict. For Roman Catholic fundamentalists that source is the infallible papacy, while for Protestant fundamentalists it is the inerrant Bible. Above all else these claims give a sense of absoluteness to which their adherents might cling while they seek to resist what they experience as an enveloping darkness gathering around them. There is a martyr's mentality about this attitude. Literal minds pretend that the clock can be stopped and that change is not a fact of life. They portray themselves as standing firmly on God's side while everyone else compromises with modernity, betraying clearly revealed truth and thus leading the whole religious institution down the road to perdition. The so-called "decisive issue" changes in each generation, but the emotions in the "true believers" remain the same. In my lifetime, this claim to be able to quote an inerrant Bible has been employed against the church's move to be racially inclusive, to treat women with full equality and to open the church's doors to its gay and lesbian members. In each intense debate the "historic faith of the Church" or the "clear teaching of the Bible" has been cited to justify continuing the practices of racism, sexism and homophobia on the part of church people. We are witnessing today what is simply another phase of this age old mentality. Most ecclesiastical disputes are thus really about security and fear. Each reveals how easily a challenge to perceived truth can be turned into hysterical anger.


Spong answers a letter at the end of his essay, from an Anglican cleric wanting his oppinion...it elaborates many current historical facts that are informative. Very worthwhile reading... Warm regards, Roger

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richardMdBorn
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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

My new comments are in bold. I wonder if anyone else is interested in this discussion. I suspect that we have exhausted the topic.

Richard I believe that humanity is born depraved.

RM: Therein lies the deception on which Christianism is based. It is rooted in a primitive, superstitious tale of creationism that responded to, and answered with ignorance, ageless questions: "how come, where from & why?" Those ancients cannot be faulted for their suppositions. However, today we can listen and look to more than a burning-bush for answers...

Richard It has been said that the doctrine of Original Sin is the one Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable. IMO, recent history supports my case.

Richard Why is this the case. “This is the work of God, to believe in the one he has sent.” Jn 6:29. You appear to be confusing Jesus with Teilhard de Chardin

RM: I respectfully suggest, you seem to be confusing "belief in Christ" with "believing the teachings of Christ"?: Two New Commandments; make peace; great shall serve, not master; no need to fear, or hoard; don't invest in moth-food, or things that rust; where your heart is...

Richard What do you think about Jesus’ teaching I cited in Jn. 6:29. How do you interpret it?

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Post by Roger Morrison »

Good AM Richard, i agree, we've probably exhausted this topic. I think with a better undrestanding of each's position; doesn't require agreement... Simply respect & appreciation... You say:


Richard It has been said that the doctrine of Original Sin is the one Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable. IMO, recent history supports my case.

As to the above: "..OS (the Fall) is the one Christian doctrine that is--'generally agreed upon'. "...empirically verifiable"??? On what hands-on-experience that is evident to sight, sound and touch? That it is a Christian-belief gives it no credibility what so ever outside of that tradition/mythology, IMSCO.

What "recent history supports" Your case?

Richard What do you think about Jesus’ teaching I cited in Jn. 6:29. How do you interpret it?


As you know, John, whomever he was, tends to add embelishments to the biography of Jesus that are not found in M, M or Luke. Does this falsify Jesus? Not necessarily, but it does glorify the legend, and give reason to question John's historical authenticity... Having said that...

To get some context out of this-teaching it must be considered with all of Jesus' other admonitions, as we have them. In my reading of the New Testament my sense is that Jesus was concerned with the pains and suffering of the family of "God" as they lived daily with each other. His efforts were directed to helping them understand their relationship to each other--their interdependence--the earth/ground from which they extracted life, and their inherent connection (never having fell) to the Spirit-of-life/"God": The entity that Jesus represented to humanity.

With 'that' understanding, it simply follows that Jesus wanted them to know "God" and how life can be mastered. That "mastery" is only attainable by learning knowing, and doing the correct things. Simplistically, "...you'll never go wrong doing right..." Through out his whole mission Jesus attempted to get his listeners to believe 'HE' was sent by "God" to teach them...

His plea: "Please believe me! I'm telling You the truth! Simply live by these TWO NEW COMMANDMENTS and your life that follows, day by day will be more joyous and satisfying than you can ever imagine!"

His message remains today. It is beyond the confinement of traditional, establishment religion that to this point in time has been blind to the real mortal application of Jesus' Universalist message.

It is time that Jesus be freed from religious bondage and be made available For The Unreligious. It can only help the spiritual/psyche and social/humanitarian causes that increasingly challenge our desire to see "Freedom reign..." I trust you read Spong's complete article... Warm regards, over'n out, Roger

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richardMdBorn
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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

You may find of interest the following audio clip of part of a sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones which discusses some of the issues we have been debating. It’s generally changed on Tuesdays.

http://www.mlj.org.uk/audio/radio/2007-3-4.htm

More later,

Richard

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richardMdBorn
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Post by richardMdBorn »

Hi Roger,

Roger As you know, John, whomever he was, tends to add embelishments to the biography of Jesus that are not found in M, M or Luke. Does this falsify Jesus? Not necessarily, but it does glorify the legend, and give reason to question John's historical authenticity... Having said that...

To get some context out of this-teaching it must be considered with all of Jesus' other admonitions, as we have them. In my reading of the New Testament my sense is that Jesus was concerned with the pains and suffering of the family of "God" as they lived daily with each other. His efforts were directed to helping them understand their relationship to each other--their interdependence--the earth/ground from which they extracted life, and their inherent connection (never having fell) to the Spirit-of-life/"God": The entity that Jesus represented to humanity.

With 'that' understanding, it simply follows that Jesus wanted them to know "God" and how life can be mastered. That "mastery" is only attainable by learning knowing, and doing the correct things. Simplistically, "...you'll never go wrong doing right..." Through out his whole mission Jesus attempted to get his listeners to believe 'HE' was sent by "God" to teach them...

Richard Most scholars believe that Paul’s letters were written before any of the Gospels. One of the most important theologically is Romans.

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". Rm 10:9

Clearly, salvation is a result of faith, and not works, in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. Of course, as James points out, a living faith results in good works. One of the points of Jesus’ ministry was to teach us the need for this sacrifice. The man who believes that his good works can satisfy God’s standards has missed the whole point (see the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican – who went home justified). Since you are suspicious of John, let us look at Mark which is the gospel generally thought by modern scholars to have been written first.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mk 10:45

Again, there is the teaching of Christ dying as a ransom – the substitutionary atonement.


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Post by Roger Morrison »

Hi Richard, isn't it amazing how our electronic 'clocks' set them selves to the 'new-time'!? Even my new watch is "Radio Controlled"!! Makes me wonder why the primitive scape-goat idea still reigns supreme in the minds of most "Christians"? Maybe not relevant...but seriously, the blood of one man saves the billions of souls who have tread this earth, from the absolute inescapable consequence of BIRTH: DEATH is simply irrational and without natural precedence. Further, that verbalizing a few specific words takes one even beyond death into a Heavenly Relm, is more than this "Christian" can believe.

Thanks for the site you recommended. It is interesting. The clarity wasn't the best but, his ref to the Sermon on the Mount as being basic to understanding Jesus, and His presentation of the "Social Gospel" (not his words, but you know what i mean) as being too seldom our focus, is in line with my thinking. It seems he and i are in agreement, that we know enough, we simply lack faith to exercise our knowledge. Much easier to avoid reponsibility and hand it all back to Jesus, "to fix everything when He comes again!" Generally speaking... You say:

Richard Most scholars believe that Paul’s letters were written before any of the Gospels. One of the most important theologically is Romans.

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". Rm 10:9

RM: See my comment above. True, dating Paul's writings. However, Paul, as a Pharsee is conditioned to the Messianic message, so to him "This-is-it!" Christ is returning 'momentarily'!! Stand in holy-places!! Two-thousand years later... Jesus is "at the door!" "Save YOURSELF before it's tooooo late!"

Clearly, salvation is a result of faith, RM: Absolutely! No other justification! and not works, in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. Of course, as James points out, a living faith results in good works. RM: How do you account for the "Good Works" of those who do not confess "faith"? Are those folks, and their "works" of no account? One of the points of Jesus’ ministry was to teach us the need for this sacrifice. The man who believes that his good works can satisfy God’s standards has missed the whole point (see the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican – who went home justified). Since you are suspicious of John, let us look at Mark which is the gospel generally thought by modern scholars to have been written first.

RM: And yet, the parable of the 'Good Samaritan' was totally about "Good Work". With no attached conditions, or rewards...just do what is seen to be done. The other interesting aspect of the GS story: the righteous, and ordained didn't measure up to the pariah. How are we to take that??

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mk 10:45

RM: "...those who are greatest shall serve, not master..." doesn't get a lot of Pulpit-time. Little question that He gave His life on a cross. However, the questions remain: "why" and, " for what purpose"?? Our current dispute...

Again, there is the teaching of Christ dying as a ransom – the substitutionary atonement.

RM: There definitely is that "teaching". I addressed the "scape-goat" above.




Richard, i think we are both "Christians" in that we each believe in the Historical Jesus. I surmise from there You take to heart the traditional, creedal faith-based belief in Jesus redeeming humanity from "the Fall"...

From there, i believe his reason for being was to teach humanitarian/spiritual/universal principles to apply in all and every situation humans encounter in their personal, and collective life-journey. He wept for their pain and sufferings at the hands of those who exploited and suppressed them... He was angered by those who misrepresented "God"... He dared to question the "Priest Craft" that lay "heavy yokes" upon their people... He made clear that the inner-person based the whole person... Extranious stuff was/is a cover-up... Blessed are peace-makers... "Two New Commandments"....Blah... Blah... Blah...

I think Spong is doing good-stuff. I do hope you have read his News Letter i sited for you... Warm regards, Roger

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