OK, that was interesting. I just discovered that this Spong discussion forum is very nearly dead. Who knew. The most recent post about the concept of God is from January of this year. There are some good comments in there, but some "other" ones as well. The Spong 'group' seems to have a very wide umbrella, much wider than I would have thought. I will have to look at the rest of the forum.
So . . . to the point. The author of the last post in this forum raises a very good issue. What exactly are we talking about with this God or Deity thing?
I have some background in theology and scripture, but I am not sure that is at all relevant. Personally, I have found the deity or God or god to not be a very useful concept in today's world. I was an ardent believer at one point in my life, but I have matured, as it were.
I do not like the term "atheist" as it sounds like aggression against believers. "Non theist" sounds a bit better. I do not wish believers any harm at all. Almost ALL of my friends and family fall into that camp, and I would never want to upset them by attacking that belief. I have also discovered that it is a complete waste of time!
I really liked one of the comments in that prior discussion:
"When Marcus Borg visited our church several years ago, I recall him saying about someone who claims not to believe in God, "Describe for me the God that you think you don't believe in." Then, a response. And then "Well, I don't believe in that God either."
I like that - I will use it. I have yet to see the definition of the deity that I would agree with.
And I remain an ardent Christian. I like what the man said, what I can discern from the stories and tradition. I think it is a tremendous insight into where humans should be going. There is an excellent book by a Dominican monk called Jesus Before Christianity that pretty much summarizes my assessment of the New Testament and this man called Jesus of Nazareth. It is excellent exegesis in the historical understanding of Judaism.
One comment from that book has stayed with me. Belief is a choice. It is not a feeling, not a gift. it's a choice. And I choose to believe that life has meaning and purpose. I choose to believe that this man Jesus had a great insight into that meaning and purpose. I am personally committed to carrying that forward. If that works as a definition of the deity, fine. If not, it is not that important to me. I find ALL of life utterly amazing. And human life is the most amazing of all. This thing we call a brain, this collection of hormones, and emotions and ideas and values and accomplishments is the most amazing thing in the known universe. I choose to move that forward, and I think the Christian message, without much of the historic baggage, is the best known way to accomplish that. It also happens to be the one I grew up in. I don't wish any of the others ill - and I would hope that they could adopt the best parts of this one, but . . .
So . . . any life in this forum? What say you all?