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The Rhino

Why Christianity?

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Since coming on this site I have felt more at home than in any other religious community. As a seeker of truth I have always enjoyed philosophy, and the forums that can expand my understanding of the questions I am asking, even if they cannot provide objective answers like Science. But the religious aspect of these sites can often be lacking. In progressive Christianity I have found a spiritual outlet as well as an intellectual one. But I often find myself wondering, what is it about Christianity that progressives still find appealing? What does Christianity offer that other religions do not? Or do we just call ourselves Christians because it is the path shown to us by the communities we grew up around?

 

What appeals to you about the Bible and the Christian 'way'?

 

God Bless

 

R

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Familiarity (Christianity is something I grew up with so culturally it's something that I can relate to), and my idea of Jesus (a man who showed us how we can all live a life of peace and fulfilment).

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Hi Rhino,

 

This THREAD " Just what is PC to You? " might offer some insight to your question from members here. For me,Christianity is my background and religion by which i was raised. I find other religions help to broaden my perspective of Christianity. Just because fundamental Christianity has made it into something i believe it is not is no reason for me to not identify as a progressive Christian. After all, some of the teachings of Jesus are what led me to an approach to God. They are still valid to me today. Why not call myself a PC since i follow after the teachings of Jesus?

 

Joseph

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I have always been fascinated by the person of Jesus. How could this one person have the influence on the world and on history that he has had? That is one of the central questions of Christianity i.e. who is Jesus and why does he matter? Like many others, Christianity is both the religion and the culture I was raised in. It is, therefore, the "language" I speak when discussing the Sacred.

 

At the same time, my reasons for being interested in Jesus have changed over time. At 53, I believe in Jesus differently than I did at 12, I see him differently now than I did then. And I also see the religion about him differently now than I did as a youth. For instance, if Christianity is about believing certain theological statements to be absolutely true (such as found in the Creeds), then I'm not a Christian. But if Christianity is about the journey of a deeper relationship with and into God, as I believe Jesus' journey was, then I am a Christian. So my understanding of Jesus, God, the Bible, and even life has "progressed." Well, it has certainly changed. And I hope the change is a "progression."

 

This doesn't mean that I think that Christianity or Jesus is the only way to enjoy a relationship with God, for I don't believe God is a Christian. I have respect for most other religions, but I simply don't have the time to study them all. In fact, I sometimes think this forum, as wonderful as it is, would be better served by calling itself "Progressive Spirituality", for the label "Christianity" carries a certain aspect and amount of "baggage" with it that many of us here no longer hold to. But I suspect it holds to this label to maintain its ties to its "mother religion" and because we do often discuss the same subjects that traditional Christianity does, but we have the freedom to not be bound by doctrine and dogma. Some of us have dropped the Christian label altogether. Some of us still wear it but interpret it differently. And others, no doubt, wonder how we could even be Christians in this age of enlightenment. But, IMO, the beauty of being "progressive" is realizing that each of our journeys today is just as sacred now as were those of Jesus or Paul or Buddha or Lao-Tzu, and that God is just as much "with us today" as God was with and in others. There is, to me, great freedom and joy in knowing and sharing that.

 

As always, just my 2c.

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I like the synthesis of the personal relationship with the mind of Christ that I grew up with and the communion with the abstract consciousness of God the Father. It helps me to see God here and beyond, in matter and spirit, in the present, past and future. I can meditate and be with God, fight for justice or serve humanity to also enjoy the presence of God's consciousness. To me it doesn't matter if people don't believe in God because I know they are on their path and being guided without my interference, but I will do what I can to help those in need.

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Why Christianity? I guess it was because that tradition or religion is how I first encountered God. It was a fundamentalist tradition and even now 40 years later- I still cannot deny what happened to me that evening. Oh, my image of God has changed drastically since then. God was the omnipotent fire breathing punisher that I feared so much I knelt and gave my life to Jesus, Now I realize God is not that fire breathing dragon...

Why Christianity? Because I still believe that God intervenes in the affairs of man- and one of the ways God did intervene was through Jesus Christ. Whereas I used to preach the one only incarnation- I know understand that God does not limit those interventions. (I use to hold to an exclusive view)

Why Christianity? Because I still believe in the stories and traditions passed down through the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian New Testament- the stories of man encountering God....and of God's interventions into our world,

Yes, I guess tradition has a lot to do with it...but as in my case- I changed my views about how to interpret those traditions.

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Thanks for the answers. I hear a lot about why people chose progressive christianity over more conservative views, but little about why progressives chose Christianity over other religions.

 

Any one else?

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It would be interesting, Rhino, to do a poll here to see how many participants (maybe those from the last year or so) have some kind of Christianity in their background versus coming from some other religion or none at all.

 

As you probably know, it is doubtful that most progressive Christians do much active "evangelizing" through venues such as tracts, radio shows, TV programs, crusades, or even church programs. So I'm not sure there is a high profile to progressive Christianity that would necessarily draw those from other religions or none at all. This doesn't mean that there is not a presence, for there is, of course, a website, this forum, a place on Facebook, etc. But, IMO, there is not the concerted effort to "get the message out" like we find behind more conservative Christianity that considers most people to be "lost" and, therefore, in need of rescue. Nor is there a "progressive Christian" creed that is presented to tell people what to believe (though there is the 8 Points that, for me, describe values more than anything else). But, again, I suspect most who identify as PC have Christianity in their background and find sympathy with it for the same reasons that liberal Americans don't become liberal Brazilians or liberal Koreans. Culture plays a part.

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I also am Christian because I was raised that way, in an Episcopal church. I suspect if I had been raised in a different religion, I would be pursuing a life of love and truth that way, but I don't know the details of how to do that compared to following Jesus.

 

Something had to support me in being progressive, however. I tried out more conservative churches from 1992 - 2004, as they seem more serious about following Jesus, but there is so much hypocrisy and ignorance there. Scientific truth cannot be waved away by one hand in the 21st century, whether that's evolution or archeology.

 

Fortunately I'm not on my own in trying to discern the truth in the Bible where so much is not literally true. Many authors help with that, like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, though I've yet to find one who is perfect.

 

As BillM just wrote, there is no TV or radio that preaches progressive Christianity, just books and individuals, on the internet and in person. Still that's been enough for me not to give up on church entirely.

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David and Bill,

 

Actually Karen Armstrong , a well known progressive, is both on radio and TV and has podcasts.and is on Youtube. Spong also does interviews and is on radio (abc.net) and Youtube. He does alot of speaking engagements and radio broadcasts such as beiief radio. You can also find Crossan and many others on both radio and youtube. Granted they aren't publicized as much as non-progressives but if you research i think you will be surprised to find a growing number of TV, radio and internet teachings by progressives.

 

Joseph

 

PS Even our ProgressiveChristianity.org presidient, Fred Plumer can be found on radio such as HERE.

 

Also others like Marcus Borg can be found HERE on interfaithradio.org

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I recognize and respect other faith traditions. I don't believe they are one or are the same but are all true in their pursuit of God. Christianity works for me because it's the most familiar.

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Hi matteoam,

 

I have been reading your posts with interest and just wanted to say that it is customary here and expected that new members first introduce themselves in the watercooler area, REF NEW MEMBERS ATTENTION NOTICE HERE One of our area moderators (tariki) suggested that to you in the picking and choosing thread.quite a number of posts ago. Its a good opportunity to let others know a little bit about your background and perhaps what you hope to accomplish by your participation in this community.

 

Thanks in advance for your cooperation and looking forward to your further topic insights and and mutual sharing with others here,

 

JosephM (as Admin)

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