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PaulS last won the day on September 7 2017

PaulS had the most liked content!

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About PaulS

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    Alternate Administrator & Site Sponsor
  • Birthday 08/20/1968

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    Mandurah Western Australia

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  1. Thinking you need to be saved from something and that the only way out is to replace you natural being with something that doesn't come natural, does seem to be a common understanding among those that feel the need for religion. Once upon a time people barbecued sheep and sacrificed other people to satiate what they thought their God needed but thankfully (maybe) as humans have developed they have more or less grown out of those nasty traditions. But sticking with the topic of evolution - do you think this need for salvation (from whatever it is you think homo sapiens need to be saved from ) existed when homo sapiens were 'lesser' animals, before they evolved to the species they are today?
  2. I am not so prepared to state what is and what is not of God. That to me seems a very human tendency - to think that we understand God so well as to declare what such a God would or wouldn't do. Natural selection is only 'selfish' if you apply your very human emotion to it. Rather it seems to me to be a process that is totally without emotion. It is a process that reacts to the environment, without choice. It unfolds if you will, the way it will unfold. Of course, emotions such as selfishness also belong in the category of eugenics, genocide and biological section of a master race - again, all very human emotive traits and hardly an unemotional approach such as natural selection. But as you would also be aware, natural selection is only one element of evolution and by no means is it a take it or leave it proposition concerning evolution. The bible may well help you and others examine a spiritual purpose and weigh your righteousness in a world you judge accordingly. Understanding science better can help take the emotion out of it and help people ask better questions and gain a better understanding of how we have gotten to this point as a species, and where we are going.
  3. This might help you understand a little, Burl. And Piriripi, this seems to be a very interesting book that can allay any fears you have about evolution contradicting your Christianity. It seems to me that Christians don't have to deny the science of evolution to feel connected to God. Personally, I can only imagine that any such God would value human interest and science in their own understanding of the world rather than cling to writings of random people some thousands of years ago - people who also used to think the earth was flat. Science has developed so much since those early days that we don't need to cling to such early understandings of the world because we prefer to choose their writings over a better understanding of our world in modern times. https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/evolutions-purpose-an-integral-interpretation-of-the-scientific-story-of-our-origins-hardcover/ From the PC.org website: As biologist Terence Deacon observes, “To be human is to know what it feels like to be evolution happening.” This insight reveals how evolution is not outside of us or beyond us; we experience the impulse of evolution directly and regularly whenever we are motivated to improve our lives and help others. And because we can feel the evolutionary impulse within our own hearts and minds, we know accordingly from our own experience that evolution is inherently teleological and purposive. Thus, if we want to discover evolution’s purpose, we need only look within ourselves. Our purposes are its purposes.
  4. I think the science of evolution is beyond dispute and is far more reliable than stories and myths developed by tribes of people who couldn't possible understand what evolution meant and how we, the human species, like all the other animal species, came to evolve. Adam and Eve are myths created to explain what those people couldn't possible understand at that point in our human story. Now we know a lot better. My book begins with the Big Bang and its ending is yet to unfold.
  5. To the contrary, I quote it so that you might better understand that PC doesn't feel the need to defend Jesus as the only way, or indeed, doesn't feel threatened that others see Jesus differently than traditional Christianity. To me it seems that PC has so much more faith in God than that. I would disagree about your judgement of the authors. The 'truth' is a dangerous game and to claim that one 'knows it' based on such scant evidence is arrogance. Indeed many us do use the bible and the teachings and life of Jesus (as understood by us but not necessarily a historic truth) to give our lives meaning. But personal fulfillment aside, PC encourages one to not be afraid if their beliefs don't align with traditional Christianity. Again, I guess PC's simply have more trust in God in this area. Even people with good intentions can be wrong and can cause harm. I certainly agree with exploration, it's the certainty that I see promoted that is a danger. Again, my God is much bigger than needing to 'get it right' and doesn't need me to defend on God's behalf. I should also add that when people say they are speaking "for" Jesus I do get concerned that they think they already 'know' what there is to know about Jesus, which to me seems contrary to everything PC encourages and embraces. Nobody can speak 'for' Jesus but Jesus himself - the rest is just speculation - well intentioned or not.
  6. Apologies then, as my assumption was that you believe Jesus is God. If you don't believe that, then I was mistaken. But as for your claim that I have antipathy toward Jesus - you couldn't be more wrong. My aversion is toward those who claim they are speaking out for Jesus, as you did. I have met plenty of those and I think they are arrogant and misguided to think they actually understand Jesus and all that he was and stood for. As it says and asks on the PC homepage - Progressive Christianity is an open, intelligent and collaborative approach to the Christian tradition and the life and teachings of Jesus that create pathways into an authentic and relevant religious experience. Do you find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions rather than in the answers? Do you have religious interests and longings but cannot accept the beliefs and dogmas you associate with Christianity? Are you repelled by claims that Christianity is the “only way”? Do you find solace, meaning, or connection to the teachings and the path of Jesus of Nazareth? So when I experience one such as you that claims they are speaking out for Jesus, my concern is that nobody has all the answers and to pretend they do, is fraud. I have seen people's certainty about Jesus cause much harm. It is my hope that you aren't also responsible for this harm to others, but fear that with your certainty about what you understand about Jesus, that you indeed may be. I hope I am wrong.
  7. Wow, and you think you are the one qualified to speak for Jesus? Do you not consider that rather arrogant that you think you are necessary here for that purpose? Do you really feel God is that powerless as to let people be misdirected by this forum and as such, you might be required to intervene?
  8. I don't think it is sad at all. There is no 'mission' here and people are free to come or go. The progressivechristianity.org main site offers more in the way of a 'mission' and this resource offers a place to explore. My personal opinion is that enough gets shoved down people's throat when it comes to Christianity, so I like to think of this place as somewhere where that doesn't occur and people can relax and seek their own answers. 'Potential for real mission work' sends a shiver down my spine because that sort of thing always becomes "somebody's" version of 'mission', which I don't think is a good thing. Let God work it out eh! What you don't seem to realize is that thousands of people are reading these threads every year. There is clearly a space for people wanting to explore and read without wanting to be involved. So your measure of the number of active participants tends to cloud your assessment, in my opinion. No idea what happened to Piriripi. If he can't be mailed perhaps he has done that of his own accord? Tell me Burl - you have been an active member here for nearly 4 years. What attracts you to stay with this forum and participating?
  9. Online forums in general have been in decline since the 2000's. Forums compete with other internet applications and things like online video, social networking, advanced traffic analysis and the drive to monetize, which has transformed the landscape. Simply put, the proliferation of social media sites has caused a reduction in participation in online forums. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest - all of these and many others are more convenient for a number of people and I think overall forums are in decline. Personally, I don't find the TCPC Facebook page as fulfilling as here and that seems to be represented by the lack of engagement there with the 22,000 or so 'likers' of that page. But that said, it seems apparent that users there want to see something and read it, but not necessarily engage or get involved. Demographically, it seems older users and retirees may be holding in there with forums, but they are in decline also. That said, this forum only had 4 or 5 active members (including 1 x Admin) when I joined 9 years ago, so it has remained relatively steady. Of course we have thousands of people each year who peruse the the threads, but which obviously choose not to participate. This forum isn't promoted or monetized in any way and our only advertising is a link that TCPC have maintained on their home page. As Admin we have discussed it but are happy to simply provide the forum for those who may find its archives of use and if there are people interested in participating here, then all the better. But unlike Samson, this is a real forum and not a myth thankfully! I'm convinced many of the users who scour the threads but don't participate in the forum are getting something from here.
  10. I'd be happy to discuss Samson with you Burl. What's your interest? As for the Dogon, there is much skepticism around the claims that these people actually understood there was a second star apart from Sirius, prior to being told about it by modern astronomers (with the telescopes available to see such a star). Check this out for a bit of counterbalance to the claims - https://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-01-13/
  11. I think most of us who reference Wikipedia already understood that. Glad it has caught on. And I agree, a life centred in something affirming and supportive, whether it be Jesus or another way, is why I too like progressivechristianity.org
  12. Nothing wishful about it, just observations. As the reference I provided demonstrates, Christianity is in decline across the spectrum - mainline, evangelical, fundamental, etc. I think you are giving Progressive Christianity much more credit than it deserves, and totally overlooking the statistics in the Pew research, if you think that it is responsible for this wholesale decline of Christianity. But I agree with you that few Christians care much about theology these days - I think that is largely because theology is built on a house of cards and with the science and biblical scholarship available these days, fresh minds are reconsidering the previous cultural acceptance of theology that has simply seen its day. Astonishingly, as the Pew Reserach outlines, whereas more than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%), in stark contrast only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths. Just as cultural influence saw Christianity grow, similarly cultural influence of a new age is seeing it wane. It seems you also are subject to change - you now are quoting Wikipedia yourself when a year ago you were instructing others to give it up! Last February Burl said: "And for goodness sake give up on Wikipedia.".
  13. They do say we are in the information age and I think the access that people have today to biblical scholarship is unprecedented, so I think that probably has a lot to do with changing beliefs. Not that everyone follows the scholarship, but there are enough Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and Pinterest pages to share information that 'debunks' many traditional Christian claims, so I'd be pretty confident technology is widely responsible. I also think the science of evolution is finally widely accepted by the vast majority now, which of course blows out the whole 'original sin' concept that Christianity has thrived on for so long, so I expect that has taken its toll also. I do see Christianity transforming away from 'traditions' of sin and guilt and moving toward a new version where being human is better accepted and Christianity seen as a 'way' to leading a fulfilling life, but not the 'only' way. Enter PC I guess which may in fact be holding up those 'Christian' stats just a little bit more than if only traditional choices of Christianity were available. I've read that sub-Saharan Africa will be 40% christian in the next 20-30 years and obviously there is an increase in Asia also. It will be an interesting change of world affairs as Christianity in the US continues to decline but other nations continue to grow. I also read mixed reports that Islam will be the most populous religion within 10-20 years, so it'll be interesting to see how that changes world demographics too.
  14. So any ideas as to why the huge decline in the US?
  15. Yet in Asia and Africa, Christianity is growing. Why the disparity?
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