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What Do All Christians Have In Common?


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#1 des

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 01:01 AM

In response to something darby said about what we all have in common as plain 'ole (I think his wording :-)) Christians, not conservatives or progressives.... I'm putting this in Progressive Christianity and not in debate and discussion as I want you all to be kind. :-)
I think this is really hard!!

So here is my attempt:

1. Belief in Jesus as a transcendent figure --not just a teacher, good guy, mystic, or prophet. (Could be God, or taking on the Cosmic Christ, or ... )

2. Belief in resurrection as a transcendent event ( whether it is physical and/or spiritual).

3. Belief that humans as separated from God (either implying original sin, or just a state of separation).

4. Belief in Jesus' act of allowing himself to be crucified as some point of atonement (either for the sins of the world, our sins, or some more metaphorical sense-- I have to say btw, this one is a hard one to put across the board from liberal to conservative. Not sure I have fleshed this one real well for myself).

5. Belief in one God. (Not sure belief in a trinity would be necessary?? Certainly Jesus must figure here somewhere but how? help on this one, across the board?? Is belief in the Holy Spirit required? Another hard one imo. Also belief would range from a personal God to a panentheistic God).

6. Belief that the Bible is a guide (either sufficiently --and literally and inerrantly-- or metaphorically and not necessarily sufficiently. And shades in between.)

7. Belief that Jesus' ministry and life were some sort of guidelines to how we should live our lives (either in his specific words- do this, go and do likewise, etc. or in the way he carried out his life, etc.)

8. Belief in Christianity as a path to Truth (either the only path or one valid paths).

9. Belief in the power of grace --ie you don't have to do anything ( this might mean you go to heaven free or that you are loved unconditionally or some other idea, but the idea is still there that there is an unconditional aspect to God. You aren't required to do anything. Some may say you are required to "accept Jesus" but that would be the most of the requirements.)

Ok, now be nice. :-) Any ideas on this? I could sign on to these. Could conservatives? Could other Progressives? Now I understand an inherent problem for conservatives here as this is an inclusive statement. You could believe it this way or that way. My point is to try and come up with some statemetns that we could, as Christians, believe. Just plain ole Christian. The stuff in parenthesis is what the range of beliefs might be. So the points in common would be the nonparenthesis statements and the things we differ on are the statements in parentheses. Also I realize there are some things that conservatives would put great emphasis on that progressives are not too concerned with and vice versa. BTW, they aren't in any way from most important to least important or something like that, just how I thought of them.

Perhaps I am way way way over my head.

BTW, I am not sure that CS could say, ascribe to statement 3. I don't know about JWs on some of these either.

--des
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#2 FredP

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 08:32 AM

This is really, really great, des! As you said, it might be a little stretch for some conservatives to embrace its inclusivity; but it's also a stretch for some progressives to think in terms of more "classical" concepts like atonement, separation from God, and crucifixion/resurrection. Nobody is absolved from stretching a little!

4. Belief in Jesus' act of allowing himself to be crucified as some point of atonement (either for the sins of the world, our sins, or some more metaphorical sense-- I have to say btw, this one is a hard one to put across the board from liberal to conservative. Not sure I have fleshed this one real well for myself).

Btw, I just posted in in the F.T. thread something that might make you think about #4. :)
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#3 des

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 03:36 PM

Well glad you liked it, Fred. I can't find anything, would you be so kind as to provide a quote or something (I looked thru the "Fundamental (ist) thread).??

I think it is a stretch for conservatives to think inclusively. I meant the stuff in parentheses to be the ways that we differ and the stuff not in parentheses those things we have in common. However, I think your point is on target that the stuff NOT in parentheses is in more traditional language that sometimes Prog. don't use. Atonement is one, for instance, not so comfortable for progress. Another perhpas is to admit that humans are separated. I think it is true, but I think that we don't like to admit that. :-) But I think if you take it away form the term "original sin" (that that is one way to look at this) and just to separation of God (and also not worry about how early this happens in one's life) we could reach a common ground. We also wouldn't need to worry about HOW that happens, does it happen due to interaction with society? Or ones self or?? Don't think that matters to find common ground.

I also realize the term "transcendent" might be one that conservatives wouldnt' use. But how to express say, that Jesus is more than good guy, mystic, etc without saying he is necessarily God or what Son of God might mean. (Although I guess I could say, "Jesus is the son of God-- either actually became God) to various understandings of what son could mean, including that we are all sons and daughters of God. Although there is some special aspect that might then be missing. ) Another thing I could have said would be that the resurrection was a real event (whether real literally and/or spiritually) but just saying it is real doesn't quite "get" how key that event was. Without it you don't have Christianity, in that sense it is transcendent and transformative. So I realize here I don't quite have language that everyone would be happy with. Another example, I don't think conserv. would like "a path to Truth" vs "THE path to Truth". But I wanted to find something that we could agree on. :-) So saying it is a path to truth and then specifying that might mean everything from "it is the only path to one of a no. (how many is quite open here) of paths). I think that covers it, but I realize it won't necessarily make everyone really happy.

I wanted to look at this as a way of answering "what is it that we could all sign on to" if we say we are Christians (plain ole', as darby said.). See what you got me into darby?? :-)



--des

Edited by des, 26 May 2005 - 03:41 PM.

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#4 TheMeekShall

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 12:27 PM

4. Belief in Jesus' act of allowing himself to be crucified as some point of atonement (either for the sins of the world, our sins, or some more metaphorical sense-- I have to say btw, this one is a hard one to put across the board from liberal to conservative. Not sure I have fleshed this one real well for myself).


Atonement no. God doesn't need a sacrifice to love his children. Humanity needed the crucificiction to get through our thick skulls that God loves us, and desires to give us everything a caring parent wants to give her kids.
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#5 BrotherRog

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 12:46 PM

Re: What all Christians have in common.

Well, at our best, we're more likely to be people who forgive others and reach out to others in love.

That said, we're hardly always at our best, and it is clear that we don't have a monopoly on forgiveness and loving.
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#6 FredP

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 01:13 PM

Well glad you liked it, Fred. I can't find anything, would you be so kind as to provide a quote or something (I looked thru the "Fundamental (ist) thread).??

I said:

[... stuff about Jung and Hegel ...] But [the victory of Evil over Good is] not possible, because wherever Evil grows, Good sacrifices itself in proportion to resolve the balance. This is why Christ's self-sacrifice and descent into Hell is so important to Christian theology.

As far as being too dismissal of atonement: if we take atonement to mean an animal offering to appease a bloodthirsty God, we're looking at it through the very same fundamentalist lens that we reject. There is so much more to it than this. Atonement is fundamentally Good sacrificing itself to disarm Evil: it's giving the mirror nothing to reflect, the shadow nothing to negate. The cross is a powerful symbol of the upward motion of the world to God.
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#7 des

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 03:18 PM

Re: atonement Fred said,

>As far as being too dismissal of atonement: if we take atonement to mean an animal offering to appease a bloodthirsty God, we're looking at it through the very same fundamentalist lens that we reject. There is so much more to it than this. Atonement is fundamentally Good sacrificing itself to disarm Evil: it's giving the mirror nothing to reflect, the shadow nothing to negate. The cross is a powerful symbol of the upward motion of the world to God.

Thanks for finding this. It does, in fact, give me much to think about.
To be honest, if the discussions start getting to theological requiring a divinity degree or its nonscholastic alternative I loose the discussion. :-)
Not that there aren't some very good comments, of course.

I think we could broaden the term and call it "sacrifice". Sacrifice does NOT necessarily imply a sacrifice of "God's child" to make up for the sins of the world. But a sacrifice of some lesser thing for a greater, higher purpose. Brian Swimme talks about the sacrifice of the supernova to make every single element that is part of life as mirroring the sacrifice of Jesus.

OTOH, I like your statement re atonement as God sacrificing itself to disarm evil. Also the great irony, if you call it that, of sorts, of Jesus giving up all (at least life on earth as we know it) for the life of the spirit in God. I have heard of Christianity as the religion that turns things on their heads, the "king" is born in a lowly manger and then crucified like a common criminal.

--des
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#8 darby

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:35 PM

Des-

Since you're blaming me for getting you started down this road, I figured I should respond. :) I also waited because I wanted to really think about this.

I think the main points of agreement are going to be the grace and ministry issues. Completely believe in God's great gift of grace to us. As I've shared before, I'm also all about the ministry to the hurting, poor, etc. I want to walk as Jesus walked. (As an aside, I'm going to try and post the link to the other Tony Campolo story I mentioned a while back).

It's the doctrinal issues where there is probably too great a gulf for us to find much agreement. I'm not debating, just being honest. For example, I can't find much agreement with "The Bible is a guide." For me, it is the Word of God. I know you didn't mean it this loosely, but my mind thinks, "I've got how to books and philophy books on my shelves that are guides....they aren't in the same category as God's Word. I think the same goes for the issues of atonement, divinity of Jesus, resurrection, etc. I found myself reading them and saying, "yeah, but...that needs to be stronger"

And I realize you were trying to make the issues as open as possible, but I think that's probably too wide for most of us conservatives.

As to whether it is hard for us to be inclusive....I would reply that I think I'm inclusive where the Bible is inclusive--"Be at peace with all people"...love your neighbor"..."encourage one another"..."God so loved the world"...etc., and exclusive where the Bible is exclusive--"For those that call on the name of the Lord"...."If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth"...."that whosoever believes in Him will not perish"..."I am the way, the truth, the life...no man comes to the Father except through me"...etc.

Again, not trying to convince anyone....just letting you look through the lens of one man who loves Jesus and tries (so imperfectly) to mimic His love, concern, compassion, etc. :)
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#9 des

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 12:19 AM

>Des-

Since you're blaming me for getting you started down this road, I figured I should respond. :) I also waited because I wanted to really think about this.

UH, I don't know if "blame" is the right word. Perhaps I said you "inspired" me. :-)
I didn't know if the results would be so inspiring.

>I think the main points of agreement are going to be the grace and ministry issues. Completely believe in God's great gift of grace to us. As I've shared before, I'm also all about the ministry to the hurting, poor, etc. I want to walk as Jesus walked. (As an aside, I'm going to try and post the link to the other Tony Campolo story I mentioned a while back).

I believe so.


>It's the doctrinal issues where there is probably too great a gulf for us to find much agreement. I'm not debating, just being honest.


Yes, and this is what I wanted. Not to get into some rancor on this doctrinal point or another.
But I think this is the case.

> For example, I can't find much agreement with "The Bible is a guide." For me, it is the Word of God. I know you didn't mean it this loosely, but my mind thinks, "I've got how to books and philophy books on my shelves that are guides....they aren't in the same category as God's Word. I think the same goes for the issues of atonement, divinity of Jesus, resurrection, etc. I found myself reading them and saying, "yeah, but...that needs to be stronger"
And I realize you were trying to make the issues as open as possible, but I think that's probably too wide for most of us conservatives.

Yes, I see your point entirely. OTOH, if I wrote them too "tightly" I would cut off progressives (and you know this is a progress. board.). But you are correct in saying that most of the doctrinal issues are just too loose for a conservative to sign onto. You could maybe say YES AND or something. Say it is a guide AND... Where I think progress. might like the word BUT after these things. It's a guide BUT. :-)


>As to whether it is hard for us to be inclusive....I would reply that I think I'm inclusive where the Bible is inclusive--"Be at peace with all people"...love your neighbor"..."encourage one
and exclusive where the Bible is exclusive

It's not how I was using the word "inclusive". I meant to imply that the way I had written these things was meant to include a range of different beliefs.

>Again, not trying to convince anyone....just letting you look through the lens of one man who loves Jesus and tries (so imperfectly) to mimic His love, concern, compassion, etc. :)


Darby, your final comment might be the best summerupper of all. Prog. and conserv. could mostly all sign up on the last line? I could. (though not the "man" part. :-))

--des
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#10 TheMeekShall

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 02:57 PM

[quote=FredP,May 27 2005, 01:13 PM]

[quote][... stuff about Jung and Hegel ...] But [the victory of Evil over Good is] not possible, because wherever Evil grows, Good sacrifices itself in proportion to resolve the balance. This is why Christ's self-sacrifice and descent into Hell is so important to Christian theology.
[/quote]
An alternate explanation is that evil can only consume the surplus good creates.
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#11 XianAnarchist

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 12:12 AM

My point is to try and come up with some statemetns that we could, as Christians, believe. Just plain ole Christian.


That's quite a task. Looks like you've done a great job with all this.

However, I suspect that there may be another way to approach the question of Christian unity. Katheryn Tanner (Postmodern Cultures) has suggested that it is not common belief that unifies, but common symbols. Common symbols allow people with diverse beliefs to gather while filling the symbols with their own meaning/beliefs.

Therefore, it could be argued that a "core belief" of Christianity can't be found because it doesn't actually exist. Rather, what unites all Christians if the person of Jesus Christ, who is filled with many meanings. And his centrality is reinforced by our primary liturgical acts of baptism and the Lord's supper, and our most ecumenical document the Nicene creed.

We are Christians because we are somehow trying to re-orient our lives around the person and work of the one after whom we are named. What that "means" for us is worked out through community argumentation. Therefore, "Christian community" is necessarily a community bound by a common practice of argumentation revolving around a common symbol, the meaning of which is to be determined in every age and in every base and/or wider community.

Edited by XianAnarchist, 14 June 2005 - 12:13 AM.

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#12 louis

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 05:46 PM

I kept think of Tanner as I was reading through this, so I'm glad someone else did, too! :)

Tanner also has stated that even if we can agree on statements, it is not likely that we could agree on what those statements means.

On wheher conservatives could agree with this, I doubt it. They would probably agree tha ttheir positions fall within the categories for the most part, but they would likely have a problem with the inclusiveness. I don't think that they would consider many people who fit into these categories to be Christian.

On a different discussion board I spend some time on, this issue comes up often. Essentially, I have been accused of not being Christian for being inclusive of beliefs they don't believe are Christian.
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#13 peacemover

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 05:16 PM

Des, thanks for your thoughtful post...

I agree with all of the nine points you mention with the exception of #3 and #4...

One thing that I really appreciated about the Living the Questions series was hearing the position of progressive theologians such as Borg and Crossan discussing these issues. Borg and Crossan both categorically reject the atonement theories. They assert that Jesus willingly submitted himself to execution at the hands of the Roman "domination system" in order to do away with, or signal an end to the blood sacrifice system of ancient Judaism, and other ancient religious traditions dating back even before Jewish antiquity...

I also appreciated something that Stanley Hauerwas, a somewhat socially progressive-yet-not-theologically-liberal pacifist scholar. As I recall, he dismissed atonement theories saying essentially that God is not an angry daddy who needed to punish his son in order to redeem the world... God didn't do the violence to Jesus on behalf of the world; instead Jesus received the violence of the world in order to show us all a better way.

He expands upon this theme a bit in his recent book on the seven last words entitled "Cross-Shattered Christ".

Borg also dismisses any notions of so-called original sin, as being a relic of the ancient blood sacrifice systems that was brought back to the forefront by figures like Augustine and Anselm...

Interesting topic and reflections... let's keep the dialogue going...

Peace,

John

Edited by peacemover, 28 June 2005 - 05:19 PM.

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#14 trek42

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 08:20 AM

In response to something darby said about what we all have in common as plain 'ole (I think his wording :-)) Christians, not conservatives or progressives....


Good thoughts, Des. The drive to KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is a strong one in a culture where everything is so complicated. OTOH, Christianity has always sought to distill its beliefs down to a common creed or a common confession.

To me, that brings up an interesting point. What does it mean to be "Christian" (including the "plain ol' Christian")?

On one hand, the conservatives support that being a Christian means adhering to a creed or a doctrinal list. In that sense, the definition of "Christian" means a set of beliefs that we hold to that may (or may not) influence how we act. I suppose this sort of Christianity is more Pauline in nature and theology.

OTOH, the liberals support that being a Christian means doing what Jesus did, having Him as our example of compassion. In that sense, the definition of "Christian" is not necessarily a common set of beliefs that we acknowledge with our heads, but, rather, actions which flow from a changed heart. I suspect this sort of Christianity is more Christocentric in nature and theology.

So, is being a Christian more about what one believes or about what one does?

Is there a difference? Should there be?

(BTW, these are the questions that I am try to sort through in my own journey at this point. I still call myself a Christian though the title is a big turnoff for most of the people that I interface with day after day. They see "being a Christian" as being a conservative, bible-believing, turn-or-burn, evangelical, fundamentalist. I have been that. But I no longer wish to be. If I had to choose between being more Pauline or Christ-centered, I'd go with Jesus. OTOH, I hope to find a way of reconciling the two. :) )

To play the other side, it would be interesting to attempt to come up with a list of "What Do All Christians Do?" :) But, there again, we would probably see as many differences and similarities as we have with what Christians believe.

Any thoughts?

-Bill
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#15 darby

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 01:53 PM

So, is being a Christian more about what one believes or about what one does?


Both :) It's our beliefs that cause us to do. No need to choose between beliefs or actions. Likewise, why do we have to choose between the teachings/actions of Jesus and those of Paul? Where does Paul contradict Jesus? Paul loved Jesus, and spent his life in His service. Look what he went through in 2 Cor. 11 on behalf of the gospel--shipwrecks, imprisonment, beatings, etc. Not exactly a guy who was just about thoughts. This was a man of action and great sacrifice.


I would also hope that ALL Christians, not just liberals, would attempt to act like Jesus...not only in compassion, but in mercy, forgiveness, calling people to repentance and obedience, praising God, etc.
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#16 Cynthia

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 05:21 PM

" I would also hope that ALL Christians, not just liberals, would attempt to act like Jesus...not only in compassion, but in mercy, forgiveness, calling people to repentance and obedience, praising God, etc."

From your lips to God's ears Darby - See - I bet everyone here could agree to that

:P

Edited by Cynthia, 03 July 2005 - 05:22 PM.

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#17 AletheiaRivers

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:25 PM

Bump bump :P
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#18 October's Autumn

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 01:13 AM

I think this is really hard!!


Yup. Okay here goes:


1. Belief in Jesus as a transcendent figure --not just a teacher, good guy, mystic, or prophet. (Could be God, or taking on the Cosmic Christ, or ... )


Have to take that one off the list.

2. Belief in resurrection as a transcendent event ( whether it is physical and/or spiritual).


This one too.

3. Belief that humans as separated from God (either implying original sin, or just a state of separation).


Not sure about this, would need more info on the "just a state of separation."

4. Belief in Jesus' act of allowing himself to be crucified as some point of atonement (either for the sins of the world, our sins, or some more metaphorical sense-- I have to say btw, this one is a hard one to put across the board from liberal to conservative. Not sure I have fleshed this one real well for myself).


sorry, no again.

5. Belief in one God. (Not sure belief in a trinity would be necessary?? Certainly Jesus must figure here somewhere but how? help on this one, across the board?? Is belief in the Holy Spirit required? Another hard one imo. Also belief would range from a personal God to a panentheistic God).


Well, not unless we think all Christians are Unitarians, no. Christianity is really polytheisitic no matter what Christians will tell you. They limit their gods to three but it is still polytheistic.

6. Belief that the Bible is a guide (either sufficiently --and literally and inerrantly-- or metaphorically and not necessarily sufficiently. And shades in between.)


Yup.

7. Belief that Jesus' ministry and life were some sort of guidelines to how we should live our lives (either in his specific words- do this, go and do likewise, etc. or in the way he carried out his life, etc.)


Well, in my experience true for moderates and liberals but not so much true for Conservatives and Fundamentalists. They may claim belief but more often actions don't match stated belief. Again, my experience.

8. Belief in Christianity as a path to Truth (either the only path or one  valid paths).


Yeah, I guess... would need more though.

9. Belief in the power of grace --ie you don't have to do anything ( this might mean you go to heaven free or that you are loved unconditionally or some other idea, but the idea is still there that there is an unconditional aspect to God. You aren't required to do anything. Some may say you are required to "accept Jesus" but that would be the most of the requirements.)


Yes and no. My idea of grace is about accepting humanity. Where as a more traditional person would say it is about being saved.
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#19 des

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 03:45 AM

Well you'd have to be rather general (ok very general) and not too specific to find points of agreement. I'm not even sure you actually CAN find real points of agreement, though I'm not sure why you xed out the ones you did when you just said "have to take that one off the list".

I thought your comment on polytheism to be interesting. I have heard that some Jews really have an issue on this. I also saw something on the Anti-Christ lately, and they basically said, "once you get to one God" you have a big problem in what about evil and where that comes from. So that the ideas of physical devil actually are in Zooastrainism, etc. OTOH, I don't think trinity is inherently polytheistic. Some interpretations of it seem to me to be so, and others less so or not at all. For example if you think Jesus was/is God-- ok then what was God God doing at the time, so that seems kind of polytheistic, but if you don't think Jesus was/is God then it doesn't seem necessarily polytheistic. Ok, here's a question, "do you believe in polytheism. I don't think I do. I see that Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit are aspects of God. I suppose I could invision MORE aspects of God. I know that conservatives do not see any problem with Jesus being both person and God. OTOH, I have read that some religions are not quite as polytheistic as we imagine. For example, the higher scholars in Hinduism really believed more in aspects of diety vs there being thousands of dieties.

Uh, I think that the state of separation is a pretty big thing! My statement "'just' a state of separation was to distinguish it from original sin. Heck I don't even think that original sin is a teaching of Jesus-- maybe of Paul.

We got into quite a good discussion on atonement, etc. I think some other people did a better job on this than I did. I wouldn't say I am a very good writer on such things.

Hmm, Jesus' life as some kind of guide. I have found this to be the case for fundies, etc. HOWEVER, they sort of view it backwards of the way progressives view it. IME, they see that IF they except Jesus as their Lord and Savior that their lives will follow that pattern and turn around towards more like what Jesus would actually do (Would would Jesus do is a conservative, not liberal thing). Whereas I think progressives tend to look at Jesus' work first.

Well I would say that when it comes down to it, I don't really think we do have that much in common, otoh, I can read what darby says and a lot of what he says makes sense, resonates with me. OTOH, sometimes I think you could take a Buddhist and find more in common with him/her. And I very often feel more sympathy with Buddhist views fo the world.

OTOH, I think after reading all these posts I think that Xian came up with a much better commonality than I did.
"Therefore, it could be argued that a "core belief" of Christianity can't be found because it doesn't actually exist. Rather, what unites all Christians if the person of Jesus Christ, who is filled with many meanings. And his centrality is reinforced by our primary liturgical acts of baptism and the Lord's supper, and our most ecumenical document the Nicene creed.



--des

Edited by des, 15 January 2006 - 03:56 AM.

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#20 AletheiaRivers

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 10:57 AM

1. Belief in Jesus as a transcendent figure --not just a teacher, good guy, mystic, or prophet. (Could be God, or taking on the Cosmic Christ, or ... )

I don't have a problem with this one at all. I'm deeply "incarnational" and really appreciate the spiritual truth of God's incarnating to live among us. The "Cosmic Christ" really enters into this for me. Maybe that is something we could discuss in more depth. God being incarnate, I fear, is another one of those tricky discussions (like "sin"). ;)

2. Belief in resurrection as a transcendent event ( whether it is physical and/or spiritual).

Again, I feel the resurrection is a spiritual truth. The idea points to a higher reality and gives hints to the future of the whole Cosmos.

3. Belief that humans as separated from God (either implying original sin, or just a state of separation).

As we've been discussing in a couple of other threads, humankind exists in a state of "chet" or "hamartia." Many things contribute to this, but I DON'T think it has to do with any sort of "taint" of imperfection. IMO, it has more to do with living in a physical world, because from here, higher realities are "veiled." Iraneaus called it "epistomilogical distance" (I think). I also think our "hamartia" has to do with having so many other targets to aim at, that we get confused.

4. Belief in Jesus' act of allowing himself to be crucified as some point of atonement (either for the sins of the world, our sins, or some more metaphorical sense-- I have to say btw, this one is a hard one to put across the board from liberal to conservative. Not sure I have fleshed this one real well for myself).

Sacrificial atonement is the Christian belief that I can't get behind. My view of Jesus death is a "modified Christus Victor." Google J. Denny Weaver and "non-violent atonement" to get a better view of what I mean.

5. Belief in one God. (Not sure belief in a trinity would be necessary?? Certainly Jesus must figure here somewhere but how? help on this one, across the board?? Is belief in the Holy Spirit required? Another hard one imo. Also belief would range from a personal God to a panentheistic God).

I believe in one God. My view of how God "works in history" is trinitarian and archetypal. The Cosmic Christ archetype plays heavily into my view of the Trinity.

6. Belief that the Bible is a guide (either sufficiently --and literally and inerrantly-- or metaphorically and not necessarily sufficiently. And shades in between.)

I fall into the "shades in-between" category. The more I study theology, the more I am floored at the wisdom of the OT and NT writers. I think "authorial intent" has to come first in reading the scriptures, then the metaphor and allegory view of early Christian thinkers like Origen can come in.

7. Belief that Jesus' ministry and life were some sort of guidelines to how we should live our lives (either in his specific words- do this, go and do likewise, etc. or in the way he carried out his life, etc.)

No problem here.

8. Belief in Christianity as a path to Truth (either the only path or one  valid paths).

I do believe that Christianity has something that other religions don't quite have, or I wouldn't be Christian. However, I believe that God has spoken to mankind all throughout human history and in many different human cultures. The perrenial truths are there. The kernels are essentially the same. It's the shells that are so different. Problem is, most practicioners don't move past the shell.

9. Belief in the power of grace --ie you don't have to do anything ( this might mean you go to heaven free or that you are loved unconditionally or some other idea, but the idea is still there that there is an unconditional aspect to God. You aren't required to do anything. Some may say you are required to "accept Jesus" but that would be the most of the requirements.)

Grace, to me, means that there is nothing that we can do to earn God's love. I don't think God is making a mental checklist of pros and cons in order to decide whether I'm worthy of love. However, I don't think anybody who truly accepts Grace can go on living their lives in a selfish, ego-centered way. God loved us first. Love begets love. If we truly believe and accept God's love, it's going to change us.


I'm surprised I never commented on this thread the first time around. I was probably in a funk. :huh:
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