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romansh

Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian

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9 minutes ago, thormas said:

Jesus was a Jew of the 2nd Temple period and believed by his followers to the Messiah, i.e. the Christ - thus his followers were eventually thought of as followers of the Christ and eventually called Christians - which continues to today. Thus progressive Christians are in that number.

Fair enough, was he actually the Messiah? Not according to Jewish and Islamic traditions?

Do you think he was the Messiah? (ie Christ)

Edited by romansh

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I'm not a Jew or a Muslim, so while I respect them, on this issue, I don't agree with their belief. Also I don't think a Jew or Muslim would be an active participant in PC.org.

I believe his followers and others came to believe he was the Messiah. I don't actually agree that God intended to sent a 'son of David' to deliver his Kingdom on earth; this is simply not how I believe God 'operates' in human history. However, I understand the Jewish beliefs and expectation, I get his followers and I am fine with calling him the Christ - although a present day meaning is not the same meaning as his disciples (which is fine because the title has multiple meanings in Jewish history). I do believe that Jesus announced and presented ('delivered') the Kingdom in a new (explicit), even radical way.

 

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Succinctly … do you believe Jesus was the Messiah?

 

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Asked and answered: he is, for me, the Christ (modern understanding as opposed to 1st CE understanding).

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OK fair enough, you believe Jesus (if he existed was more or less as portrayed or even if at all) he is Christ (not in the sense that has held sway for close to two millennia) but in a frankly minority view. 

As you point out it is a redefinition of Christ and Christian. I am not sure how existence  (Kingdom) is radically new either as these ideas have been floating around for a while.  

So it goes back to my earlier point, if an atheist defines themsel(f) as a Christian does that make them a Progressive Christian?

 

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Jesus existed (not belief but fact), he is believed to be the one. true Messiah and as there were different takes on what the Messiah meant or was he to be in Judaism (even today), so too, there was a change in Christianity, especially when you move to progressive Christianity. What PC would believe that God's Messiah had to be crucified and atone for sins in order for the Kingdom to begin, or to be established?  That is not a progressive stance. So a Christian can say that Jesus was the Messiah and also, given a new worldview and a 21st C (progressive) Christology/Theology have a very different or deeper insight into who Jesus was as Messiah.  

If an atheist is progressive, he wouldn't be a progressive Christian unless, it seems, he believes in some/much of what Christian is  - which includes the belief in Jesus and God. But then would he be an atheist?

 

 

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

If an atheist is progressive, he wouldn't be a progressive Christian unless, it seems, he believes in some/much of what Christian is  - which includes the belief in Jesus and God. But then would he be an atheist?

Opinion, the accuracy of this would depend on the veracity of which principles we are referring to. The previous set required no such belief.

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We don't have to establish the veracity of PC principle or PC itself. It is what it is and if people agree with those principles, practices and scholarship, they are progressive Christians. If they are curious and 'trying out' PC to see what it has to offer, that is fine. However, PC is not (yet) them, rather PC is what they are interested in 'trying o'n to see if it fits, to see if it resonates in their lives. PC is first reflected in its founders, leaders and contributors - they are the leading edge and it is an individual decision to participate or not. 

We don't need to check the veracity of the principles: either agree or not, either join in or not. If they don't speak to someone perhaps it is not for them. It seems you are not, by your own admission, a PC (which is fine) but many are and the veracity is a lived experience that resonates with them personally.  

I say again: "If an atheist is progressive, he wouldn't be a progressive Christian unless he believes/accepts some/much of what progressive Christianity is presenting" And if he did, would he be an atheist?

 

 

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Let's take a step back here Thormas

I thought Progressive Christianity was more about how we live our lives and what we use as a guide, not about what we believe.

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It would appear to be both. How one lives or acts in the world is directly related to what they believe: ethos is the flip side of mythos.

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Here is how I would have worded the eight points.

Progressive Christians:

  • Understand the teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, the inanimate and the universe.
  • Accept that science and other traditions provide many ways to understand this interconnectedness.
  • Seek community that is inclusive of all people. (note don't bother with examples).
  • Understand that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
  • Question rather than believe in absolutes.
  • Strive for peace and justice among all people.
  • Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.
  • Continue to learn through life.

and a bonus:

  • Embrace love and compassion when we find it.

well this is a splitting of the eighth point.

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12 minutes ago, thormas said:

It would appear to be both. How one lives or acts in the world is directly related to what they believe

But where should the emphasis be?

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Both  - although I am more interested in the mythos than the ethos and definitely less interested in how PC plays out or looks in worship services.

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7 minutes ago, thormas said:

Both

For what reasons?

In her book The Case for God, Karen Armstrong admonishes (in a very nice way) that Christians put too much emphasis on belief and not enough on action.
And point 2 says (paraphrasing) action is the fullest expression of our belief.

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I agree with Armstrong but that makes my point: what one believes is not or should not be the be all, end all. Rather that belief (mythos) must go hand in hand with how one acts, how one lives (ethos) what they believe. 

Therefore any Christianity, including any progressive expression of Christianity, must emphasize both. Action is the fullest expression (the flip side) of belief.

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So which would you rather have an atheist (lacks belief) who goes about trying to help people

Or say Donald Trump a Christian who professes belief?

 

Actions speak louder than beliefs. But I agree beliefs help shape our actions. There is a famous parable in the Bible that speaks to this, I believe.

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I have no problem with atheists, especially the ones I know (best friends and family) who are among the best people I have ever known. And Trump is not a Christian: no belief and sure as hell no ethics.

 

 

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1 hour ago, romansh said:

Here is how I would have worded the eight points.

Progressive Christians:

  • Understand the teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, the inanimate and the universe.
  • Accept that science and other traditions provide many ways to understand this interconnectedness.
  • Seek community that is inclusive of all people. (note don't bother with examples).
  • Understand that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
  • Question rather than believe in absolutes.
  • Strive for peace and justice among all people.
  • Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.
  • Continue to learn through life.

and a bonus:

  • Embrace love and compassion when we find it.

well this is a splitting of the eighth point.

I have zero problems with your wording and would fit in nicely. I also have no problems with the 8 points as worded. You seem to me to be too picky but that is your right and just my opinion. No offense meant.

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On 2/7/2020 at 7:57 AM, romansh said:

Which of the three versions do you prefer?

Personally I prefer the 2011 version, but as I have said before:

"For me the 8 Points simply 'point' to a way - they are not THE way.  Like all creeds, these 8 Points don't capture all things in all ways and they still leave things to be desired.  I don't see them as a tool to weed out people who some regard as not precisely fitting the mould, but more as a guideline to suggest why you may wish to participate here.  After all, we aren't the only progressive christian movement in the world with all the right opinions and views, but just a tiny little corner of the universe in this current time.  Progressive Christianity existed long before this forum and it's parent site coined it, but being humans we like to categorise and put things into certain boxes for convenience."

I still look at the current 8 points like that and don't stress too much about it.  Maybe I'm only an 80%er PC -  I'm sure there are plenty of others in the world that will decide for me! :)

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Thanks Paul

I too am suspect of creed being "all".

17 hours ago, PaulS said:

Like all creeds, these 8 Points don't capture all things in all ways and they still leave things to be desired.

I generally did not put things in …  more take them out.  So for example, the word sacred, could mean,

  • connected with god
  • dedicated to a religious purpose
  • deserving of veneration

These 8 points in places capture too much, at least in my way of seeing things.

17 hours ago, PaulS said:

I still look at the current 8 points like that and don't stress too much about it.  Maybe I'm only an 80%er PC -  I'm sure there are plenty of others in the world that will decide for me!

Well I have never have invested much time in Christianity and never bought into it much more than it being a metaphor for reality. In my university years I learnt that there are more accurate metaphors for reality and that we don't have to mistake our fingers for the universe we are pointing to.

I see Progressive Christianity as a stepping stone and not necessarily an end point. A stepping stone away from, including but not limited to:

The Bible is the Word of God
Jesus is God
The Rapture
Sin is sin
Heaven and Hell (courtesy of Joseph)

Now where would a Progressive Christian's path move on to, agnosticism, atheism, something else? I just can't help thinking there are better resources that describe our world, how we might interact and more importantly the underlying reasons for the direction of our interactions. I'm not saying these modern resources are better but only more accurate, more inclusive and we can use our own education and logic to fill in the gaps.

Having said, I see Progressive Christianity as a more stable stepping stone than traditional Christianity.

 

Edited by romansh

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There is a flexibility in the word sacred as there is in the words God, Oneness, salvation etc. So that's a good thing, right?

I think many Christian see Christ as a Way which is definitely a place to step or a path to travel to the 'end point' however that is understood. In addition as has been said the journey is what is important not necessarily where it ends. In Christianity, the understanding is that the Way is also the End. 

I agree with many PCs that the Bible is not the Word of God as traditionally understood or believed but an argument can be made (as Baum did in his 1970 book) that the Word sounds in the words of men, including in our holy books. 

I agree that Jesus is not God made man again as traditionally understood but I do think an argument can be made that he is man become Divine.

Rapture doesn't even make for good movies.

no idea what sin is sin means

and while I reject traditional understandings of heaven and hell, I believe they speak to a something (to complicated for right now)

 

Not sure what or why a PC's path would need to move onto anything. I do agree that science better describes our world (not really the venue for theology/religion) but it still doesn't seem to satisfy man's search for 'meaning.'

Edited by thormas

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Burl highlighted point4 on another post

And I thought Billmc asked an interesting question in one of the subfora and I thought the replies were interesting.
The question Bill asked was, is Progressive Christianity welcoming of:

Pedophiliacs?
Rapists?
Those who commit incest?
Sadomasochists?

The parsing that went on in the replies was interesting. But end of the day these people are included in ALL are they not?

My first question what would our idealized concept of Jesus do and how would we walk in this idealized path?

And it is implied that Progressive Christianity is not here to proselytize? The first two of the groups and probably the third are in need of some help. And are we saying that Progressive Christianity is not a suitable vehicle for help/change? 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, thormas said:

There is a flexibility in the word sacred as there is in the words God, Oneness, salvation etc. So that's a good thing, right?

I will let you decide whether it is "good" or not.

But this flexibility does make for confusion. Now I lack belief in God. But we can define God as the universe (existence if you like) then we are just playing word games here. It boils down to it does not matter what we believe so long as we call it God. A couple of phrases in another context come to mind: word jugglery, quagmire of evasion, and wretched subterfuge.

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Are we still talking about 'why I am not a PC?' 

Continuing: not sure about PCs in general but I doubt the list you have included would self-identify or if they did and they wanted to actually participate in such a Christian site, one might assume they are repentant. But who knows. 

However, if they did self-identify and were not repentant, it seems we could say they are not welcome until they set things right with their brother and sister - all their brothers and sisters - and then the gates of the site would swing open for he who was lost and has repented. 

Wouldn't Jesus say sin no more and to obey the 2 great commandments? And if one did the latter, then they would no longer be any of those things listed above because they would love their neighbor, i.e agape, i.e. compassionate concern which would rule out the above behaviors. Actually this is no idealized version of Jesus but what is presented is the kind of things he was known to have said and done (see Allison). And it was just explained how we would walk it. 

To proselytize is not the same as being the good Samaritan and helping.

 

Edited by thormas

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it is or can be a good thing.

Flexibility perhaps within some guidelines, for example there is something called a car, lots of things are called cars........until something is called a motorcycle.  If one decided God was the rock on the ground, that would seem to be at odds from a Christian perspective but I welcome the person to worship the rock for himself.

You lost me as it does seem to matter what one means by the use of the word God.

 

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