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Scott_GC last won the day on July 27 2011

Scott_GC had the most liked content!

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About Scott_GC

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    Spong Subscriber
  • Birthday 04/02/1970

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    New Jersey
  1. Getting ready for Hurricane Irene. We are inland about 15 miles north west of New York Harbor on the back side of South Mountain. I am mainly worried about trees falling in yard and getting prepared for possibly extended period without power.
  2. Welcome and thank you for sharing your story. I am also a Spong Subscriber. It might be interesting to start a thread each week in the Spong topic area to discuss his email. The recent emails on his lecture tour in Germany have been outstanding.
  3. Welcome and thanks for this discussion topic. First let me say I am Episcopalian and happen to live in the diocese where Bishop Spong was Bishop when he was active in the church administration. He is no longer active in that capacity but I see his influence in the preaching I hear from the pulpit each Sunday. I think we need to be careful about interpreting our word usage. I would for example consider deism and theism to be different but I would not consider atheism and deism to be compatable. Therefore I think of the word atheism as implying something stronger than non-theism. I cannot speak for Bishop Spong but I can try to desribe how I react to what he is saying. I have been taught that our faith should be informed by reason, tradition and scripture. When I think of reason I include science as I think of science as an empirical understanding of the world using our reasoning. We live in a post enlightenment world with a world view influenced by reason. There are aspect of the traditional theistic understanding of God which many people have trouble reconciling with science and reason. I hear Bishop Spong as saying we should not therefore abandon the project. We should not reject reason and science and we don't have to reject our Christian tradition, but we need to find ways of reconciling these influences.
  4. I believe that current scholarship asserts that this was all compiled aroung 500 BCE during the time of exile to Babylon from various traditions and sources. I have been wondering how far back prior to that does it have any historical truth value. I read that the story of Moses may have appeared around 700 BCE and was telling of events from 1200 BCE. Historians are uncertain whether anything like a migration from Egypt actually occured. So Moses is probably pre-history. David potentially referenced as early as 850 BCE would have existed around 1000 BCE, and may have some actual place in history. In the pre-history my quick research on the web indicates from Moses back to Adam would have been 3000 years and from Adam to the Flood would have been 2000 years. So when this was compiled it was writting down an oral tradition about events which were supposed to have happened 2000 years earlier. Imagine if we had only oral tradition passed down about the Roman Empire but no original written sources? I don't think the flood was made up for a purpose; it is just mythology that these people carried with them from their pre-history. It probably should be considered for what it implies about their sub-conscious conceptions about reality. Don't we all something wonder if everything we know could be arbitrarily wiped away, and maybe this could happen because of something bad we were doing. Sounds like global warming?
  5. I am back to work after two weeks on paternity leave. During this break I have had lots of time to think about philosophy and religion. Now I need to motivate myself to thinking about finance and banking again. Our two year old son got his first hair but yesterday. Our little girl is doing great as we approach her one month birthday. She is still in the helpless infant stage, just eating and sleeping and crying.
  6. That is an excellent point. It does appear to me that the early conception of god in the OT was of a war god who was one among many and lived in a tent which was carried around with the nomadic tribe he had attached himself to. The nomads settled down and decided eventually that this god was greater than the other war gods and in fact this god was the creator of everything. Then the other gods fade from the picture and become simply idols or demons. The completed cannonical representation of this god to me is the representation in Paradise Lost by John Milton. Paradise Lost captures the classic idea of the white bearded old man god sitting in heaven looking down on earth in the same way that the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" captures the classic vision of Santa Claus. These poems clean up the storys and give a finished product. With Santa Claus the memory faded that this was a saint in the catholic church, Saint Nicholas who put coins in childrens shoes left outside their doors a few weeks before christmas.
  7. I really like rivanna's answer, which I will paraphrase as 'same God, evolving perception.' There are a few assumptions in the question which provote my thought. It is stated as if there are two books, the OT and the NT. In reality, there are many more books and snippets of writing strung together in books which have come down to use together as the Christian bible (with a few books in the middle that are in some of our bibles but not all). So the idea of there being consistent coherent representations which you can constuct by taking different subsets of the bible is a challenging assertion. I did read a book once (and I have it somewhere as I bought it in hardcopy) which used mathematical game theory to analysis the behavior characteristics of the ancient Jewish God as revealed in the Torah. The example I remember is how this God choose to reveal or not reveal himself. Did he value belief more if the believer had to believe without revelation for example. The book was mainly about exploring interesting game theory problems but it had a similar idea to yours which is to try to sketch a behavioral pattern of God from the bible, in order to define the behavior of the 'god' player in the games. As an aside, I spent a little more time over at CARM reading some of the (very brutal) debates and it seems that the fundamentalist with strict literalist views of the bible really are the bullies holding sway there. One debate which caught my attention was about those they called 'reflectionist' who did not accept literally that God created two sources of light, the sun and the moon. The so called 'reflectionist' who based on science say that the moon just reflects light and is not a source of light are deminishing the true interpretation of the creation story. Another thread of interest was a fight between those who know creation happened 6000-7000 years ago versus some who thought it could have been up to 30,000 years ago due to some ambiguity in the meaning of 'generations' in the bible.
  8. My initial thought is that it related to social motivations. Most of the German philosophers up to Hegel where students in Lutheran seminary; that was the main educational path following high school. The development of liberal theology was associated with those who wanted to reconcile the developments in enlightenment philosophy with their careers in religion. Following through with their career to become a priest would be the most practical outcome, that is what Schleiermacher did. I see the natural religion as being a progression from the liberal theology which was more idealistic and still held that there was some objective truth obtainable by reason. God could be perceived by reason. God was either the remote author of the deist or God began to be associated with reality or humanity in a pantheism or humanism. Hegel seems to have been going down this road though he still thought the Church was useful for society and that the philosophers God could be associated with the Church's God. For Spinoza was Jewish so the priesthood was not an available career path. Also during this time they began to doubt this historical truth of the bible so they were moving away from the idea of revealed religion. Hegel's students split and one group of his students decided they need to be more aggressively atheistic. This could take a philosophical bent or a practical bent. I think of Freud and Marx as reacting to the practical problems of the church in society or in mental health. After Hegel it became possible to attend college without being on the path of priesthood and it university positions were available which did not require ordination. I do think it is unfortunate that both the liberal theology and the philosophical conceptions of God don't seem to have as strong a position as fundamentalism and atheism in our current time. It seems we live in a very polarized time. I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether the intellectual path which Hegel's students followed was necessary or did it as you say through out the baby with the bath water. I do think also that they over estimated the extent to which the bible was fiction. My understanding is that circa 1880 it may have been common for an intellectual to think that Jesus did not actually exist in history; I think now we understand better how the bible was written and that it is likely there was a historical person named Jesus and that there is some credibility to the accounts captured in the early writings of Paul and the Gospels (at least in the general idea of what Jesus was likely about).
  9. I don't have an opinion about Rudy Gelder. I have been exposed to audiophile sensibilities both from my own interest and through friends who spent a great deal of money on audiphile quality equipment. Since the quality of sound goes through the whole process starting with the recording at the performance I can understand the interest in the recording engineer. Within music there is the sounds and there is the structure; in jazz both are important. I am probably more focused on the structure and happy with a certain reasonable sound quality. Yes, Jerry Garcia played with David Grisman in Old and in the Way and and over the years right up to his death in 1995. Bela Fleck would probably be considered a jazz banjo player.
  10. My musical tastes are charactized by two things. One is that I am a huge Grateful Dead fan; most of my listening time is spent listening to Grateful Dead concert recordings. The second is that I play piano so I am interested in music theory and musicians which relate to the piano. For jazz, I like to learn the standards and listen to the great jazz musicians interpreting the standards. I listen to piano players like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett. I can play a nice rendition of Autumn Leaves. For bluegrass I have to start from my Grateful Dead orientation. In the early seventies Jerry Garcia played in a bluegrass band called Old and In the Way. I love that sound and the music which inspired this group and the music the individual members made in the years since they played together in the seventies. I once had a banjo that I played a little but I lost when a relationship ended. Now with small children I don't have time to play anything but piano.
  11. i spent a little time browsing CARM. I was wondering if i could join for some interesting discussion but I think it is likely I would be torn apart there; it appears to be focused on maintaining the Evangelical orthodoxy. I might continue to browse there some just to get some perspective on that way of thinking.
  12. Yes, it is hard to deprogram years of indoctrination. As I have mentioned I went to an conservative Evangelical school from third grade through eighth grade; that is six years. It seemed to take me twenty years to lose my religion and reach a point where I could approach religion and Christianity again without the baggage. For my journey it was very useful to educate myself in the liberal traditions in Europe going back to around the 1750's. If you consider the path of the Enlightenment there is one path which led to deism and natural religion, one that lead to atheism and one that lead to liberal theology. I find myself drawn to the threads of the Enlightenment between the natural religion (for example Spinoza) and the liberal theology (for example Schleiermacher). I am also fascinated by the period right after Hegel where the atheist clearly emerged and split from the natural religion and liberal theology movements. Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx where leaders of this atheism movement after the period of Hegel where attempts to reconcile the Enlightenment with the Church seemed to fade.
  13. Welcome here. I look forward to getting know about you in this forum and sharing with you. I had not heard of CARM but just had a quick look. i would be interested in hearing about your experience there. I am not sure I would be able to fit in there.
  14. I look forward to getting to know you here. I like bluegrass and jazz. Do you play any instruments? I play a bit of piano but very amataur; this is one of my unfafilled ambitions in life. I am not familiar with UCC. Could you expand the acronym so I am sure what that stands for? United Church of Christ?
  15. Hello and welcome to this site Scott of Faith. Thank you for bringing to my attention that Progressive Christianity (PC) has a Wikipedia entry. I had not noticed that. I think you will find a great diversity of perscpectives and beliefs (or skepticism) here. I would first identify myself as a Christian and secondarily as an Episcopalian. I found the PC forum because it has an association with John Spong who is the former bishop of my Episcopalian diocese. I don't find anything dissagreable in the 8 points of PC but I don't have them memorized and I don't recite them each week after the sermon like the Nicean Creed. I do recommend to introduce yourself on the introductions section and tell a littel about yourself. I am impressed by the number of replies you have received in your first day, so thank for adding to the discussion. On the topic of 'collective salvation', it is not something familiar to me and I had a look at the Wikipedia page to familiarize myself. I will study the thread to see if I have anything to add. In my parish we do a group confession of sins which includes the phrase 'and sins done on our behalf' and then the Priest informs us that since Jesus promised that whosoever confessed their sins would be forgiven that 'we' are forgiven. I think this would strike many conservative Christians as having a collective flavor. I don't think any one believes though that we are implying that any one of us will be specifically individually punished by God for the sins of the group. That is an interesting question. I do think that as part of the Body of Christ we should have some collective responsibility.
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