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About jsawyer

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  • Birthday 06/09/1950

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    Clarksville, TN
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    I consider myself a Christian Atheist. I'm not sure I believe in God, the resurrection of Jesus and many tenets of the Christian faith. I don't believe in heaven or hell and I don't believe in the devil. I am searching for the roots of my progressive ideals.

    My grandfather was a socialist, pacifist and Pentecostal Christian. When the "Holy Spirit" spoke to him it spoke of the oppressed people in the world he lived.
  1. To me that would be illogical. I cannot be you or any other person. I can only be me and express my ideas that have come from my experiences and my understandings. “The follower of Christ, whose service means an ever-growing understanding of his teaching, and an ever-closer fulfillment of it, in progress toward perfection, cannot, just because he is a follower, of Christ, claim for himself or any other that he understands Christ's teaching fully and fulfills it. Still less can he claim this for any body of men. To whatever degree of understanding and perfection the follower of Christ may have attained, he always feels the insufficiency of his understanding and fulfillment of it, and is always striving toward a fuller understanding and fulfillment. And therefore, to assert of one's self or of any body of men, that one is or they are in possession of perfect understanding and fulfillment of Christ's word, is to renounce the very spirit of Christ's teaching.” --Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
  2. To believe in the Trinity you must believe in a God, you must believe in a Holy Spirit that has a separate existence and you must believe that Jesus was God separate from the "Other God". I don't believe in any of these concepts.
  3. I am not sure what all this means. I don't believe in the "Holy Trinity". Can you please translate what you have said in a common man's language?
  4. "By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus." As a Christian Atheist I find it difficult to approach God by any means. Life is to complicated not to have contradictions so I will attempt to give my thoughts. <b>How does language “an approach to God” fit your spiritual needs?</b> As stated above, I find it difficult to “approach God” period. I am close to accepting an immanent spark that is inside each of us that can grow in the Buddhist sense. <b>What language would you have used for you own spiritual journey?</b> A roller coaster ride with its ups and downs and twists and turns. <b>Do you feel as the life and teachings of Jesus have brought you closer to an experience of God? How so?</b> Here again we have this “God” word that I have a problem with. My understanding of the social gospel of Jesus does bring me closer to a realization that the spark that I have inside me and I believe is inside everyone can grow. <b>How does the absence of salvation language help or detract from your spiritual path? </b> It makes it much easier for me. I find most “salvation language” very condescending. <b>How does the Jesus of history or his teachings affect your understanding of God? </b> Here we have that “God” word again. I am not sure that a historical Jesus ever existed. We have very little historical evidence apart from the writings of his followers to attest to his existence. Josephus does make mention of a man that people claim was this Jesus. The teachings attributed to him do give us a way to approach life in a more just way. <b>How might our understanding of who and what we are, as human beings, change if we remove the need for the sacrifice of Jesus as the Pascal Lamb, our redeemer?</b> It eliminates a scape goat and requires that we take personal responsibility for our own actions. <b>What is the difference between savior, hero, master, teacher, or prophet for you? </b> The term “savior” has no useful meaning for me. A “hero” is someone that you admire because he has done something that you consider significant. A “master” or a “teacher” implies one who has knowledge that can instruct you. Both are interchangeable for me. The word “prophet” as used in the Old Testament seems to be to have had a dual meaning. It meant someone with knowledge of the future and it also meant someone who knew the consequences of a current action.
  5. I do not wish anyone to think that I condone human inactivity that allows this suffering to continue. But these same 30,000 plus children who die each day do not have the freedom to change their fate. Like I said before if this is some sort of collateral damage that God accepts for his plan here on earth, then I want no part of that plan. Whatever "inner work" I need at my age, it does not include blind acceptance. I do not feel the need for any child anywhere to experience suffering and pain so that I can experience pleasure and enjoyment.
  6. The God that just sits back and watches is not a God that I can worship or believe in. The 30,000 plus children who die every day is unacceptable collateral damage if that is God's plan.
  7. Depends on how we define a "World War" in today's world. I'm not sure that I agree that he didn't practice a form of genocide.
  8. Here is something I wrote a few months ago on another site: Why I am a Christian Atheist “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me …” When I was a teenager, I had a very strong fundamentalist faith in God and the Bible. If the Bible said it, it had to be true. I felt that I had a calling. I would go off to myself in the country side and talk to God. I’d ask him questions about the suffering in the world that I saw everyday. I begged him to talk to me in the way that he talked to others in the Bible stories that I had read. My conversations were always one-sided. He never answered. One day, I decided that he did not answer because he was not there. If I believed so strongly in the social gospel, I would have to find the answers myself and to live my life in such a way to address these issues. From that day, I became a human rights/social justice advocate. The roots of my beliefs in human rights/social justice came from my reading of the Bible. These Christian ideals were the very basis for most of my beliefs. So while I no longer believe in God or that Jesus was God, I do hold the social gospel in high esteem. Since I am no longer beholden to a faith that requires that I believe in superstitions, I am free to live a life that promotes the social teachings of Jesus.
  9. I am not sure that there is a historical Jesus. I am quite able to follow a mythical Jesus that spoke for voiceless people. Many of the prophets in the Old Testament spoke for these same voiceless people.
  10. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my patron saints. He heroically was a member of the resistance to Nazism in Germany. He felt so strongly that it was his Christian duty, that he participated in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler and was subsequently imprisoned and hung. Osama bin Laden was such a leader as Adolph Hitler in today's world. The death and destruction he was responsible for has many similarities. My question is, would Dietrich Bonhoeffer support or condemn the assassination of Osama bin Laden?
  11. The one thing that I have learned from life thus far is that life is to complicated not to have complications. I read through all previous entries and we have a remarkable group of people here. We have much to learn from each others journeys. I started out with a fundamentalist view of the Bible. I read it from front to back in multiple translations both Catholic and Protestant. My view was that if it was not the infallible word of God then it was just another book and should not have much a bearing on anything. As I have stated elsewhere, I no longer believe in God. I don't believe in the Trinity. I don't believe that Jesus is God. I don't believe in heaven or hell, original sin or most of the concepts that normally are required if one is to profess themselves as being a Christian. My belief in God as all-knowing and omnipotent fell by the wayside when I could no accept that such a God could accept the suffering of children. As Michael Lerner stated in the Left Hand of God, more than 30,000 children die every day due to hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition. Add to this the thousands who die each day of curable diseases because of the lack of medical care, immunizations and medication. Any all powerful God that would allow this to happen does not deserve my loyalty. My belief system has moved all over the spectrum. From Christian to Atheist to Buddhist to Wiccan and back again. I follow the Jesus who preached the Jewish tradition of caring for those people who are voiceless.
  12. I can't seem to upload a photo for my profile. I get the message the file is to large.
  13. I consider myself a Christian Atheist. I'm not sure I believe in God, the resurrection of Jesus and many tenets of the Christian faith. I don't believe in heaven or hell and I don't believe in the devil. I am searching for the roots of my progressive ideals. My grandfather was a socialist, pacifist and Pentecostal Christian. When the "Holy Spirit" spoke to him it spoke of the oppressed people in the world he lived.
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