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About Iflybyyou

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  1. whoa I'm gone for one week and the discussion has already developed so much further, I certainly have missed a lot.
  2. I agree with the first 4 definitions you gave, albeit very poorly explained by my own attempts to address your concerns, although I still take issue with the idea that everything we know in our personal experience about God in our lives is just made up in our heads and that God doesn't give us that information. Some people, or perhaps most people, need conscious information to feel spiritually enlightened and to feel closer to light and love. One one the reasons I left the Southern Baptist church was that it was dry and overplayed and I didn't feel like God was giving me any individual and personal answers. A lot of people share my spiritual needs. When I made that statement that saving faith is subjective, I meant that each person's relationship with God will look different and that there is no one exclusively true faith, only faiths that meet the person's spiritual needs and bring them closer to God on the basis of meeting that spiritual need. All humans share the same general human nature, but there is vast variation in human personality, cognition, strengths and weaknesses, calling, and orientation, which leaves room for a vastly differing spiritual necessity in each person's path to God. I believe Christianity in its original form is 100% true, but that does not mean that other faiths can't be equally true or have equal amounts of truth in them. I don't really see what's wrong with saying that God is present in energy. Energy is timeless, immaterial, and infinite as God is, and also all pervasive and required for everything in this universe to exist, since matter is simply a form of energy and can be converted back to energy, and energy is essentially what caused the big bang. But that discussion is a completely different topic entirely, so I won't go too deep into that. I don't really get what you mean by everyone getting the same quantity of God's self revelation when God cannot be quantified, meaning that according to how you define revelation, everyone will receive the fullness of God as they can understand and handle it. The quantitative differences are only in the amount of concrete and quantifiable information or outcome gained from the revelation, so if information is simply human reflection, then there is no 'quantity' of revelation. I also have trouble with imagining no religion being true. What then would be the point of being a Christian? I put my trust in the insights of Christianity because I believe they are true. Otherwise I might as well just start my own religion centered upon my imaginary friend from my childhood, or just abandon religion altogether. It would certainly be a lot easier than being faithful to something that has no proof and calling it true. (no condescending tone intended, just sharing my own concerns with a lack of truth in faith) I don't really have a developed view on the incarnation, but I find it impossible to imagine Jesus being a mere man. How could Jesus be a perfect model for living if he was subject to the same character flaws that we are? And even if Jesus was some kind of special man who somehow completed the humanization/deification process before we did, why couldn't God just magically transform us to be like Jesus too. If God has the power to perfect one human being immediately, then he should also be able to do the same for the rest of us, which is also why I take issue with the Catholic doctrine of immaculate conception. If what you say about the soteriological method is true, then anyone who has not seen Jesus is doomed. This is the same logic that exclusivists use when they cite John 14:6 and John 3:16-18. Unless you speak of 'seeing Jesus' as metaphorical rather than requiring people to see the actual Jesus in the pages of scripture, then I can see what you're saying. And yes, you are correct when you say that salvation's certainty is dependent upon free will response, which is what I really meant when I said that Jesus made salvation certain. I was basically implying that somehow, Jesus made it possible for us to respond, which solidifies salvation for those who accept it, and one can also argue that God in his eternal love will keep seeking out the lost until they respond afirmingly to him, which leaves a very real possibility that everyone will turn to him, because he wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) That would essentially make salvation certain for everyone if everyone does eventually respond to God. I don't really see the problem with God working behind the scenes. There is much we don't know about the universe and what lies beyond the orbit of the rock we currently inhabit. It's equally likely that there is a lot that God has done for humanity that we likewise don't know. your definition of Panentheismis better than I have previously stated. I like to emphasize that science is God's action in the universe rather than being something that God created separate from himself as a way to distinguish myself from Theistic dualists who believe that God constantly interacts with the universe and interferes in the natural course of things supernaturally. That is why I say that energy is God's presence in our universe, because it is the easiest way for me to reconcile God and science . I do not believe that religion and science are fundamentally opposed, and I have no problem with concepts such as evolution, relativity, or any other discovery of modern science. I still don't see the issue with that claim, since Buddhists themselves don't even believe that the Buddha is a deity. He is more equated with an enlightened man or prophet. If your issue is with your perceived inequality in the claims of Christianity and Buddhism, then your concern is merited, but when it comes to Aristotle's law, thereis no logical impossibility with Jesus and Buddha simultaneously being who each religion says they are. equality implies sameness, and looking at the different religions will immediately show that religions have their differences, but religions also have a remarkable amount of things in common. Even in the differences, each religion contributes their own facet of the truth, and frankly, not every religion is valid. Pagan traditions where people Sacrificed children to egotistical Gods don't appear to me to be valid paths to the one true God, and many of the ancient religions, in comparison to more modern and developed traditions, appear to be absurd fabrications that were inspired only by limited human speculation. I find so much beauty and truth when I read Hindu or Muslim texts, but take one look at some of the more idolatry laden religions that offer more to the imaginary objects of faith than to the person believing in the faith, and you will immediately roll your eyes. That is probably why most of those primitive religions are extinct, because they provided absolutely no benefit to a growing humanity in need of a connection with the divine. I read somewhere else in the forum that there needs to be a balance between there is only one way to Rome and all paths lead to Rome, a balance that I wholeheartedly agree with, because the last thing we want is people running around, wasting resources that could go to people in need, and slaughtering living things in the service of a statue of a 3 headed frog (not a real example of an actual religion, I was just poking fun) I was a little bit more expressive and personal with this response, but I do not intend to be mean or condescending. I completely respect your views and I have no problem answering your perfectly justified questions. Just remind me when I get too carried away in expressing my own views, which I can sometimes be very passionate about.
  3. Quote 1: Grace is given to us freely and openly, through God revealing himself to us. Salvation is from our sin, not from the 'wrath of God' like Substitionary atonement theorists claim, but sin as its own punishment and how it separates us from the Divine and causes us our own distress. In order for this to work, we need something that will help us live a life of loving behavior, and that thing according to essence of orthodox christian teaching is the grace of God himself, which is accomplished by giving us some form of knowledge that will help us accomplish that, in other words, a correct belief or conviction leading to correct behavior. God's grace while offered freely, must be accepted by humanity's free will, because God is not a puppet master who controls or ordains our every act. Also, there is the obvious reality that the individual in question will still sin, which is where point 8 comes in, because salvation is not a one time event, but a path and a process of growth, where a person continues to learn and become a better human being, and I would imagine that this process would continue after death in some form. Quote 2: you are correct about those beliefs not doing much for most Christians in the 21st century, but it apparently did a lot for Christians of the 1st century, which is provides further support for a relativistic view of salvific truth. You also bring up a good point about the oneness and sameness of God. The essential defining similarities between each person's path will be for one thing that God is the one initiating contact. God has many sides to himself, and can be experienced in different ways. The old testament Jews experienced him through reverent awe, the eastern religions experienced him through peace, and many modern day Christians experience him as a tear inspiring love, or an energetic motivation. God can simultaneously relate to people in different ways, but it will never be in a wrathful, fear mongering, or negative way. The major similarity between every experience of God, whether it is impersonal or personal, is that the experience will be positive and bring about change in that person's life for the better. Not every experience with God will be a personal or sentimental one. Some people who are being reached by God won't even call it God, as his presence will be hidden in natural elements, and that was hard for me to imagine at first, because I would personally be spiritually dead without a personal relationship, but I am coming to accept that not everyone needs that personal relationship, and some are content without knowing that God is the one they are putting their faith in and who is changing their life. I take Abraham's story to be metaphorical for his faithfulness, but one thing is for sure, that the Jews did not have Jesus. The problem with exclusivist views is that they claim that Jesus is the only way to God when many of the Old testament saints did not and could not have known about Jesus. The two statements you asked for reconciliation about were phrased in an either or manner, so I was acknowledging that only one could be true, and I was using that for an example of how different standards for salvation are found in the bible, which is contrary to the evangelical view that everyone needs the same level of knowledge to be saved and some people are condemned because they don't have that knowledge. Quote 3: the 'energy and action of God in the world' is a reference to the philosophical work called the 'essence/energy distinction'. Basically God's essence is what he is, and God's energies are something he possesses and uses to create and sustain our world. God's energies can accurately be equated with the energy described in physics and cosmology, which contrary to popular myth, is not a concrete substance that can be quantified. It is the abstract and immaterial force that composes our entire universe, including matter. Basically the essence and energy distinction was created to explain how God could be imperceivable and incomprehensible by nature, yet relate to our reality and experience at the same time. To put it simply, when we see God, we are not seeing his transcendent essence, we are seeing his energies acting in the world. When it comes to revelation, what I am trying to say is not that some will get more revelation than others in the sense that it's unfair, but some people having more knowledge and wisdom than others is just as much of a reality of the 21st century as the idea that we are living in a Pluralistic society. People may have different quantities of revelation, but every person is given the same quality of revelation relative to their needs. Not everyone has a major Pauline experience where Christ blinds them in the middle of the desert in order to reveal something profound, because not everyone needs that. The gracious revelation that a person gets is proportional to what they need to overcome their weakness, and Paul would probably agree that the only reason he was given what he was given was because he could not have changed without such a conversion experience. Not everyone needs to have those kinds of experiences to live the same quality of life as others, so there is no logical reason for God to give such revelation to every person. Just out of curiosity, what is the typical progressive view of revelation? I thought that progressive christianity was pluralistic. Such a position on religion would require either that salvific truth be subjective to a degree, that all religions are referencing the same God with different degrees of truth, or the idea that all religions are not literally true and are just different interpretations of the same divine reality. This model on religious pluralism affirms the former two premises. Not every progressive I've seen denies the incarnation of God. Some are unitarians, while some are Sabellians or trinitarians which take views on the incarnation varying in the degree of its literalism. I don't really see how that is relevant a soteriological model, but if you elaborate on what you mean by bringing the incarnation into your inquiry, I can do my best to address your concerns. What I meant by saying that Jesus is all we need because of finalization of our salvation is that somehow, he made salvation possible. I see Jesus' work not only in his death and resurrection, but also in his life, teachings, and descent to the dead. Everything that Jesus did contributes to the mystery of salvation. Through everything that he did, he made salvation not only a hope, but a certainty, which paints a clear difference between the language of the old testament and the new testament, and his very existence on earth affected the entire world through the ripples effects he introduced into the causal web of the earth. He may even have worked behind the scenes through either incarnation or in spirit to assist humanity, but the bible is not really clear on how atonement works. I do think if I have to choose a theory, it would be that Jesus had an impact on the world that reversed the effects of our sin and continues to do so today until one day humanity is free of sin and the kingdom of God is realized, whatever that may be. Quote 4: yes there is a necessary sameness to our paths, although other than how I explained it in my response to your second quote, it's unclear to me what those similarities might be, at least when it comes to the content of revelation. The only thing an atheistic secular humanist has in common with a christian is their basic views on morality, so maybe that provides the right connection? I have no idea. I think it all goes back to the idea that the necessary sameness in our paths to salvation is that God will always be involved in the revelation given, and we are basically incapable of saving ourselves. That is how God is in the center of it. No matter what difference in the content of each revelation is, if it leads to good fruit and it is true, it will always be from God. The necessary sameness always comes back to God initiating the salvific process through revelation of some sort. I completely agree with the Eastern theology you brought up. Even without salvation, as you had said, we would still need God to reach our full human potential. I have always believed this through a doctrine I called 'conditioning' in other words, this universe is not God's final plan for creation and is pretty much a means to the end. God through this process, teaches us not to make bad choices so that we can reach perfection in our humanity without our free will being overcome. You also have a very interesting view on the reason for Jesus' atonement, and that very well could be a big part of the entirety of at-one-ment thank you for the tip, you are probably right when it comes to using that word, because many people associate it with us needing to pay God back for our sins, when I don't think that was the original intent of the scriptures. I will keep your advice in mind in the future. Quote 5: you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the purpose of evangelism. The point was not to convince anyone to believe in doctrine, it was to share the love of God with others in word and action. I think Evangelicals missed the point with their proselytizing. That's why the early church stressed the urgency of evangelism, because we are taking part in the revelation of God's love, but our sharing that love is not the only means by which God reveals himself to a people, as the truths in religions that have had no contact with Christianity are proof of that. Evangelism is great in the right context, but people also should recognize that not every person who does not get revelation from other human beings will be lost. Evangelism ca be summed up in this quote, "share your faith at all times, and when necessary, use words" i totally agree with God being among us. I find Supernatural Theistic Dualism to be too distant, as well as contrary to scientific discovery. That is why I consider myself a Weak Panentheist, where the universe is not an essential part of God, but it is sustained by God and God is present in all creation. Quote 6: yeah Atheists can see us as airy fairy because each of our spiritual paths are drastically different. The Atheist does not believe his faith is in God, so he tends to view Theists as mystical and out there. I am careful with what about my personal faith to share with them, but occasionally I do have some radical intellectual and spiritual discussions with some very open minded Atheists, and they can be quite uplifting. Quote 7: well in a way people from every religion are anonymous Christians, and it is also true that Christians are anonymous Hindus and Muslims. Religious division is manmade, and thus any attempt to include other religions as members of their religion is quite innocent and well intended. I can see how some people would be offended by such language, which is probably why it should be avoided around more sensitive types. Everyone thinks their religion is true. I would personally rather be called an anonymous member of someone's religion than to be told I am going to their version of hell for being an unenlightened heathen. That's where Christian exclusivity becomes a huge problem and a conflict starter. and yeah that's what I was saying. There is virtually no difference. Inclusivism is a type of pluralism that resolves contradictory religious claims without undermining the truth of one's own religions. Philosophers who distinguish between the two are often talking about the difference between John Hick's Pluralism and other more moderate types of Pluralism, which all seem to be lumped into the category of inclusivism because they don't claim that all faiths are equally true, though they claim that all faiths have truth in them that has salvific value. To me it seems to be a better resolution to the problems Pluralism seems to have when reconciling contradictory differences between the faiths. Even Hinduism which is notably Pluralist upon closer look is bears more resemblances to some of the inclusivist doctrines that lead more towards Pluralism on the Pluralism/exclusivism scale than it bears to Pluralistic theories resembling Hick's theology. Quote 8: yeah now that I think of it, when you define revelation like that, we do all get the same level of revelation from God, and that revelation only differs in the content and amount of information contained within the revelation. I do believe that God loves us all equally, and he will reveal himself to everyone in the way that they need it, and he does not show favoritism in his revelation. I think that's where the misunderstanding was coming from and how you interpreted my reasoning as God showing favoritism. I don't know what you mean when you say you disagree with the law on non-contradiction, because you had just pointed out a contradiction earlier in this quote. Maybe it would help me to further elaborate. The law of non-contradiction is an Aristotelian law and makes up one of the basic principles of reason, which is something that I believe to be essential to a progressive form of Christianity. Otherwise what's the point of believing what we believe? We reject biblical literalism because it contradicts science, secular history, and the oral teachings of Jesus himself. We reject doctrines such as eternal hell, substitutionary atonement, and Calvinism's TULIP because it contradicts the Love of God that we have experienced. We reject the condemnation of the LGBT community because it contradicts a sound, consistent, and intrinsically substantial understanding of morality and inclusion. What sets us apart from our theologically conservative brothers and sisters if we don't embrace logic and reason? And how is the claim Jesus being the son of God and Gautama being the Buddha a contradiction? It would only be a contradiction if both Jesus and the Buddha were sons of God, yet claiming different things. A man in his fallibility can still make a mistake, although it's not surprising that Buddha is called enlightened, since he had a lot of true things to say. When I said that Science and art are both 100% true, I meant when they are interpreted correctly. Fallible men can sometimes skew the data to support their agendas, but that doesn't mean that the data lies. The truth in art is a completely different truth, because it deals with the creation of beauty rather than with hard data. Since these two things deal with completely different areas of truth, they can both be 100% true. and yeah it was good dialogue. I apologize for my delayed and sometimes incomprehensible responses. I am trying to address every question you have the best I can, and sometimes I spend hours just typing up a response
  4. I will be glad to answer all your questions 1. Grace is simply God's love given to us despite of whatever we have done. It contrasts to the punitive picture of God where every immoral act deserves retribution. Grace is not earned, it is given to us freely by the generosity and love of God. Grace saving us means God is saving us through his initiative, which we respond to (also known as the doctrine of Synergism) and in one way or another, God gives grace to every human being, because he will not hold saving revelation from anyone 2. Faith is not an intellectual belief in anything specific, although it can take that form. Faith in its most basic definition is responding to God's revelation through acceptance and action, whether that revelation is an intuition or a intellectually believed fact, and what a person's faith looks like is as stated in the above post, relative. The scriptures I am referring to are the ones where figures such as Paul and Peter give instructions to people in order to be saved. One says "believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord" and the other says "believe that Christ was raised from the dead" There is also a mention somewhere in Hebrews that Abraham was saved by obeying God's instructions. We could take that to mean that you need all those things to be saved and that each example had unstated beliefs in the others things, or we could take it to mean that each person had their own spiritual path of faith that led them to God. 3. I do not remember where I said that God is unknowable. He is knowable in a certain sense. We cannot possibly know or comprehend him in his fullness, but we know him by his energy and action in our world. And when I mean that saving faith is relative, I mean that differing humans need a differing level of and content of revelation or knowledge to be saved,and every human gets the exact revelation proportional to his or her needs. To illustrate what I need, if one person is 500 feet from the mountain and the other person is 500 miles from the mountain, and the mountain contained the supplies necessary for both people to live, the first person would only need to know how to use climbing equipment, while the other would need to know how to build a plane to get there. Conversely, if two people were at the same distance from the mountain, but one had climbing equipment and the other had a jetpack, each would need to learn their respective means of getting to the top of that mountain. Even with Jesus being God in human form, people know differing things about him, and nobody knows everything about him now. I take the orthodox assertions that 'Jesus is all we need to be saved' to mean that Jesus' atoning work is ultimately what finalized our salvation and that his work was an essential part of it somehow. 4. Salvation is for all most definitely, but each individual has his own unique path to salvation which has God in the center of it. We are all connected in a web of humanity, so in a sense, we are being saved from the bad influence of other's choices too, which is what I think was truly meant by the doctrine of original sin, not that we inherited a sinful nature or deserve punishment for Adam's sin. That being said, we would still need God even if we didn't need salvation, we would just need him for different reasons. One example is that God is the one who sustains life, meaning we are contingent and would not exist without him. I suppose that could be stated as 'salvation from non-existence', but the salvation mentioned in the scriptures that is connected with the concept of atonement generally is connected in some way to suffering caused by evil or sin. 5. Instruction in practice could look like anything from a detailed covenant (eg: the jews) to a subtle call of the heart in which the person in question may not even know it is God (eg: the pagan guy in the parable of the good samaritan) I use the term instructions loosely, because i am not envisioning a manual that falls from heaven, but at the very least, it is a self revelation of God, whatever that looks like. This does not mean that the person has to call God by the same name as we do, or even think that the revelation is even coming from a God at all. Only the person themselves can know their own path, which also means that Christians should not judge others as not being 'Christian' or 'saved' when they have no idea what the condition of that person's heart is. 6. Atheists and agnostics very much can be saved, their revelation will just be a lot less 'airy fairy' in their words than the religious types. They will call the revelation of God by names such as 'Conscience', 'Science', and 'reason'. This thought went back even to the early church I believe, with church leaders speculating on what Socrate's relationship with God would look like, although I forgot where I found it. An atheist who is faithful to his understanding of logic, science, and secular morality, if that be all he needs in his individual path, can and will be saved by that faithfulness. 7. After further thought, I think that my model is probably more inclusivistic, but tbh, I have know idea why philosophers distinguish between the two. There is basically no difference, except inclusivists typically use fluffy language such as "non-christians are saved by Christ" and "virtuous non-christians are actually anonymous Christians" to describe their viewpouint, which ultimately reaches the same exact conclusion that Pluralistic models do but by different means. One wikipedia article actually referred to inclusivism as a type of Pluralism. I think that inclusivism could actually be a weaker Pluralism itself. 8. I don't really believe it's favoritism, because God is giving each and every person exactly what they need. God often withholds revelation from people sometimes because they aren't ready, they don't need it at the time, or maybe the revelation would hurt them in that circumstance more than harm them. Some religions receiving more revelation than others is not any religion being favored more than another, it's simply God giving revelation accordingly. It also is literally the only way to make sense of religion without violating the law of non-contradiction. If Islam were 100% true, that would also mean that Christianity could not simultaneously be 100% true, and if Judaism were 100% true, then Islam could not be 100% true. The conflicting truth claims make it impossible for each religion to be viewed as having the same degree of revelation, but that doesn't mean we should give up on the pure logic of God being a loving God and not refusing to relate to those outside of just one religion. And also, just because Christianity is 100% true, doesn't mean that other religions can't have truth claims that Christianity has missed. Science and art are both 100% true, but are radically different disciplines. A real life example of truth that could be in other religions and not in Christianity is that Gautama is the Buddha. There is not a contradiction in claiming that Jesus was God, and that this man Gautama was an enlightened man with prophetic truth about the universe. there is also no contradiction between Buddhist meditative practices and catholic hymns. Furthermore, Secular humanism is what discovered the theory of Evolution. That was never stated anywhere in church doctrine. i hope my answers satisfied your curiosities, and btw, I acknowledge that God is genderless and could be seen as male or female, but I am used to calling him with a male prefix because of my upbringing.
  5. Yeah I appreciate his contributions, and the fact that he was basically the father of modern pluralistic philosophy cannot be ignored, there is still much work to be done. And yeah some people actually criticize this man for proposing a new meta-religion that simply takes an inclusivistic attitude towards the world's religions, kinda like a version of Relativistic inclusvism. I personally don't find much fault in his ideas, except that he seems to water down the religions as simply being cultural perceptions of an unknowable reality rather than acknowledging and appreciating the religions for what they are.
  6. In the short period of time in my walk with Christ that I have been open to Pluralistic belief, I have found this to be one of the most interesting topics in Christian Theology. I have checked out various models, and they all seem to be interesting, yet can be a bit too speculative, paradoxical, and dissatisfying. I have come up with my own paradigm on Pluralism, and I was looking for some feedback on it, how well it measures up with point 2, and maybe some ways to improve it. Here is how my model works. First of all, this model affirms that there is only one God, and also affirms that salvation is by grace through faith in God, as the scriptures teach, but instead of saying that God is unknowable and all religions are merely interpretations of the same God , this model focuses on the idea of epistemology and the content of one's faith. In other words, what one needs to know about God, or believe about God in order to be saved is essentially relative. This model takes the view that salvation is not from guilt, but from our own corruption and bad choices, thus taking more of a moral influence view of atonement than a Substitutionary or satisfactionary one. Thus faith in God is whatever an individual needs to overcome evil and live a life of love. How this works is that God's grace is defined as the revelation and instruction of God needed for a person to live a life of love, and faith is responding to that revelation by accepting it openly and acting on it. This means that the 'rightness' of a person's faith depends not on any specific religion, but instead on the person's individual needs. I think this model is a good model because 1: it affirms all paths that lead to love and doesn't require saving faith to be a personal relationship (eg: religions who don't believe in a personal God can also benefit from God's grace and experience enlightenment and change in their life without having an explicitly personal relationship) 2: it differs from inclusivism by affirming that there is divine revelation that Christianity has not been aware of that people can be saved through in other religions 3: it acknowledges religious differences and their benefits without undermining the fundamental unity or compatibility required for a good Pluralistic model 4: it affirms that Christianity in its most basic message is 100% true, but not the exclusive source of truth or salvation. 5: it explains why there has been a dissimilar amount and content of divine revelation throughout history without viewing God as neglecting certain people more than others and without viewing any loving religion as superior or inferior to another. 6: certain verses in scripture can be compared to support this view (eg: Abraham and the OT saints did not have to believe in Christ when the new testament seeps with the admonishment to believe in Christ, and different people were given different instructions on what to believe about Christ to be saved) Let me know what you guys think.
  7. yes point 2 is by far the most interesting affirmation of progressive Christianity. I am still trying to understand it, and many models have been put out by many different people, including John Hick, although he is often criticized for creating a new universal meta-religion instead of actually proposing a genuine solution to the pluralism problem. I was actually just about to propose my own model on the point 2 forum and get some feedback on it.
  8. Yes I have found some surprising commonalities. For example, most religions, even some Pagan ones, teach love and compassion. Most of the major religions believe in a good, omniscient, omnipotent, and all pervasive God. Most religions teach that some form of repentance or faith leads to salvation. Most religions teach about an afterlife where the righteous are rewarded and the unrighteous are corrected, punished, or lost. It’s remarkable. I wish you well on your similar journey, and may you also continue to find peace here.
  9. Thank you Thomas. Good to meet ya
  10. Yes I just noticed it. It’s called the Personal stories and journeys section.
  11. Thank you Burl! How did you end up becoming a progressive christian?
  12. I’m Derek Evans from the USA. I originally grew up in a Southern Baptist church who taught that homosexuality was a sin, Evolution was a secular lie, and all non christians will go to hell, but after years of intellectual and spiritual growth, I have recently made the decision to fully embrace progressive christian views. It was a long and hard journey, but I made some remarkable breakthroughs by the grace of God. Nearly 2 years ago, I gave up young earth creationism to become an old earth creationist. Shortly after that, I softened my exclusivist views in order to accomodate the mercy of God, and then later adopted an agnostic view on homosexuality. The past year has been the most rapid growth, because starting at the end of last year, I quickly became an inclusivist, then began to finally accept evolution, and after a multiple week long spiritual crisis, fully embraced homosexuality, and then within the last few months, became radically pluralist compared to my original starting point to the point of accepting prayers from Muslims and Hindus and praying for a Muslim in a way that according to him, no christian has ever prayed in before, and he was so touched by it, he trusted me enough to try to introduce me to his girlfriend. I want to strengthen my faith as a progressive christian even more, and I thought this would be a great place to start. I was originally part of a progressive christian group, but have since left because of a misunderstanding between me and some of the members. I hope to meet you all soon! To give you some more present information, I am really interested in philosophy, sexuality, psychology, martial arts, and traveling the world. I am 21 years old, and hope to one day become a spiritual leader like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, as well as find a good woman soon. I currently go to school for hobby and pay, because my Dad was in the military before I was born, and volunteer at an organization called the Urban Mission, where I am very well regarded as both an intellectual and a hard worker. I am at a great place in my life, and I enjoy helping others via the things I am good at. I am a very friendly person, so if you have any more questions, just ask. I welcome questions.
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