Jump to content

Jesus As Savior


BeachOfEden
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have met many great UU Christians and held many great conversations with them. These UU Christians on the liberal left believe that Jesus is not Savior and is instead a positive teach and role model for us all to follow as a guild to God. Now, as we all know, on the far religious right aka the fundamental Christians, they passionately embrace that one MUST accpet Jesus as their personal Lord and savior to be truely Christian and thus saved. It is NOT so much this in itself that causes liberal Christians to perfer to embrace Jesus as a positive role model and teacher rather than Savior....but more so...what is connected to the religious right's proclaimation in this.

 

The problem that liberal Christians have with fundamental Christian's is that while they 'say' that Jesus died for ALL....they still matained that 'ALL'; who do not interpretate the Scriptures PRECISELY the same way THEY do are NOT 'truley' Christian, are a 'cult' and are "NOT saved."

 

My question is: Are their Progressive Christians who embrace the 8 points of Progressive Christianity and yet..DO accpet Jesus as Savior..and believe one CAN do so withOUT being a fundamentalists or pushing a fundamental dogma in people's faces? Just curious.

 

Thanks:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends on what one considers "salvation" to be. I think that many would see Jesus as salvic by being a divine revelation. I suspect that there may even be some that would argue that because "salvation comes through Christ" (or whatever similar phrase could be put in here) that ALL religions (including Christianity) are thus properly relativized. This then would lead to more of a "universalist" approach.

 

Personally, I tend toward the latter. I tend to talk about Jesus as the "Truth," who is therefore the proper measuring stick for discerning the holy way of justice in a highly relational reality. Note that this does not exclude other religions from having access to divine revelation; rather, it affirms it. Indeed, it is a way for us to look for God's movement in the midst of others that could help us to ammend our own ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree that IS why I like the way this site says that we view "Jesus as the gateway or relm to God." I kinda agree with Bishop Sponge when he said something about Jesus is everyone's savior even if they don;t know him or who he is. It's like in the Hopi belief the Great Spirit's first born of Creation was called Sotuknang. The only difference is in the Hopi's creation story the Creator turns to Sotuknang and says, "You shall by my nephew and I shall be your uncle." And Hopi story goes on to say that this Sotunknang was the Creator's co-creator. This story is almost precisley like Gensis in which Yahweh cllas Jesus the First Born of Creation and through which all things came to be.

 

So to me the Hopi's Sotunknang the same as the bibical Savior Jesus, just a different name. So I think Progressive Christians share the same social jsutice views as the UUs and Liberal Christians...it just that the difference is that Progressive Christians believe one CAN view Jesus as Savior withOUT having to be a fundamentalist or belief that 'ALL' 'OTHER' persons of 'different' religious views are doomed or unsaved. Would you say this is correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here I think we're talking about point #2, which is to "Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us."

 

Now, I must admit that I don't take the 8 points "literally." In other words I don't think that one has to subscribe to all the points to validly use the term "progressive" for self-identification.

 

My understanding of Point 2 is that there is salvation in and through other religious systems. In other words, Christ (who is "a" revelation of God) is salvic for Christians, but Buddha and his teachings is salvic for Buddhism because he too is "a" revelation of God for those in more of a Buddhist culture. An excellent example of such an argument is Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki's Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism. She is a process theologian (God is not a static "ground," but a dynamic "process"). Thus she tends to emphasize the diversity among religions (which still remain salvic in their own way).

 

I'd have to check, but I suspect that Spong would fit into a slightly different theological category. He comes from a more existential background (God as "Ground of Being" like Tillich's theology). Hence, he tends to emphasize the "sameness" of religions. In the end though, it appears that the two end up on the same page: God is found in the best of all religions.

 

If one understands "salvation" as participating in the divine life (as it is understood according to pretty basic trinitarian doctrine), then indeed the possibility for participation in the divine life seems available in all religions in one form or another, and thus salvation can be effected through them.

 

My struggle is that I have a high degree of respect for other religions and do believe that the Spirit is active in them, but I also take a trinitarian view of God and therefore look to the person and work of Jesus as the primary tool of discernment with regards to what is and is not holy/just/divine, not only in my own religion, but also in others. So in a sense, I am willing to claim that God is "fully" revealed in Christ in a way that doesn't happen anywhere else. Of course, I also recognize that Jesus is a "contextual" person, and that too has to be grappled with when we try to connect his life/work to our world. Hence, we can talk about the "nature" or "character" of God being revealed in him, which may call for different action in our context than he engaged in his. (Take the issue of divorce, for example. He flat out prohibited it. Today, however, I believe it is non-sinful to allow it. Both, contextually, point to the "compassion" or "compassionate nature" of God, but in different ways in different contexts.)

 

So, in a sense, my personal theology is a mess. But I don't consider that a bad thing. Life is messy. We are finite beings. Maybe we need a messy theological lens to be able to see God at work in the world more clearly. Theology is a tool that leads us into deeper intimacy with the divine. So I don't mind my mess.

 

A couple of things I take to heart though. I think there is a danger in overemphasizing that "we are all the same." By doing so, we reject the uniqueness of others. It is a very imperialistic thing really. On the other hand, I think there is a danger in overemphasizing that "we are all different." Then, we reject the commonality that makes for dialogue and friendship. Such fragmentation leads to "tribal warfare" of a sort. We need each other in this world, but we also need each other to be "other." Without both, we forget that we are all part of one big human family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've recently been coming to a new place on this subject, and it would probably do me some good to articulate it.

 

Over the last few years, I've come to know Christ as a state of conciousness, a state of being, a metaphysical Gateway to God. I've been focused on meeting Christ in as real a way as possible. I'm interested in the ancient assertion that Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father where he judges (engages us in the process of self examination) the living and the dead. I'm not saying that I think Christ has to be a particular heavenly person in a particular place in the Universe. I believe each person is an individual instance of the Kingdom of God, trinital in nature and possessed of all knowledge, power, and love. I believe that we are both individual and One in this regard.

 

From this perspective, I see acceptance of Christ as Savior as crucial in the process of Self and God-realization (Salvation, if you will). It is the act of meeting our true selves (just as Jesus of Nazereth did) and making it the center of our life. Once we have done this, we can come to the Father (the Source).

 

I don't think it makes a difference if you see Christ as outside of you or inside of you. Whether you see him as a light, a person, an idea, or yourself. It doesn't even matter what name you give it. What matters is that you meet it and give yourself over to it.

 

As Christians, we look to Jesus and the Bible to teach us how to do this. My Hindu friend looks to his guru and the Gita. My Muslim friend looks to Muhammed and the Koran. My agnostic friend looks to his conscience and to the written wisdom of humanity. I have friends that looks to psycho-analysis and 12-step programs. We are all either in the process of meeting Christ and accepting him as our personal savior or we are lost and suffering. The good news is that if we don't find Christ, Christ will eventually find us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Here I think we're talking about point #2, which is to "Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us."

 

Now, I must admit that I don't take the 8 points "literally." In other words I don't think that one has to subscribe to all the points to validly use the term "progressive" for self-identification. "

 

 

 

 

My understanding of Point 2 is that there is salvation in and through other religious systems. In other words, Christ (who is "a" revelation of God) is salvic for Christians, but Buddha and his teachings is salvic for Buddhism because he too is "a" revelation of God for those in more of a Buddhist culture. An excellent example of such an argument is Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki's Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism. She is a process theologian (God is not a static "ground," but a dynamic "process"). Thus she tends to emphasize the diversity among religions (which still remain salvic in their own way).

 

I'd have to check, but I suspect that Spong would fit into a slightly different theological category. He comes from a more existential background (God as "Ground of Being" like Tillich's theology). Hence, he tends to emphasize the "sameness" of religions. In the end though, it appears that the two end up on the same page: God is found in the best of all religions.

 

If one understands "salvation" as participating in the divine life (as it is understood according to pretty basic trinitarian doctrine), then indeed the possibility for participation in the divine life seems available in all religions in one form or another, and thus salvation can be effected through them.

 

My struggle is that I have a high degree of respect for other religions and do believe that the Spirit is active in them, but I also take a trinitarian view of God and therefore look to the person and work of Jesus as the primary tool of discernment with regards to what is and is not holy/just/divine, not only in my own religion, but also in others. So in a sense, I am willing to claim that God is "fully" revealed in Christ in a way that doesn't happen anywhere else. Of course, I also recognize that Jesus is a "contextual" person, and that too has to be grappled with when we try to connect his life/work to our world. Hence, we can talk about the "nature" or "character" of God being revealed in him, which may call for different action in our context than he engaged in his. (Take the issue of divorce, for example. He flat out prohibited it. Today, however, I believe it is non-sinful to allow it. Both, contextually, point to the "compassion" or "compassionate nature" of God, but in different ways in different contexts.)

 

So, in a sense, my personal theology is a mess. But I don't consider that a bad thing. Life is messy. We are finite beings. Maybe we need a messy theological lens to be able to see God at work in the world more clearly. Theology is a tool that leads us into deeper intimacy with the divine. So I don't mind my mess.

 

A couple of things I take to heart though. I think there is a danger in overemphasizing that "we are all the same." By doing so, we reject the uniqueness of others. It is a very imperialistic thing really. On the other hand, I think there is a danger in overemphasizing that "we are all different." Then, we reject the commonality that makes for dialogue and friendship. Such fragmentation leads to "tribal warfare" of a sort. We need each other in this world, but we also need each other to be "other." Without both, we forget that we are all part of one big human family.

You bring up some excellent points here. I guess I agree which what you are saying..also the one point, I think is either #3 or #4 about everyone sharing in the drinking of wine and eating of the bread..this, for me, is difficult because kinda like a fundamental Catholic, I was raised in a fundamental faith group that preached SO strongly about people not taking the bread and wine unworthyling..that now I'd much rather just listen or read about the account rather than actually partake in this ceramony.

 

Yeah, I agree with you also on these points.

 

As for Sponge. No i do not agree with his whole interpretations. For one thing, Sponge is a Universalist..while I am a Conditionalist..but his comment about Jesus being everyone's Savior I think ties in with your quote, "In other words, Christ (who is "a" revelation of God) is salvic for Christians, but Buddha and his teachings is salvic for Buddhism because he too is "a" revelation of God for those in more of a Buddhist culture." As well as my quote about how the Hopis have The Great Spirit and then a belief in the Great Spirit co-creator and nephew. :)

 

Your comment about basic trinitarian doctrine...I am interested in the possibility of Progressive bibical unitarians..infatc, I thinking on starting a thread on this very concept/topic.

 

I don;t mind the theolgoical mess either..It is part of the journy.:) I agree. And also make a point to realize that others who may be Catholic or Buddhists may and I had found, often DO have vaulable insights that I had not come to see or known and I appreciate this and it aids in my own perception of Christ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You bring up some excellent points here. I guess I agree which what you are saying..also the one point, I think is either #3 or #4 about everyone sharing in the drinking of wine and eating of the bread..this, for me, is difficult because kinda like a fundamental Catholic, I was raised in a fundamental faith group that preached SO strongly about people not taking the bread and wine unworthyling..that now I'd much rather just listen or read about the account rather than actually partake in this ceramony.

I think it is important, if we are going to speak about salvation, we must first define what it means to be "lost" or not "saved". I do believe the fundamentalist's approach has some merit in calling attention to humanity's "lost" condition and then offering salvation through a relationship to God through Christ. However, I think they are off base in their understanding of the Atonement of Christ and their concept of heaven and hell as some place or form of existence after death. So, I would disagree with someone who believes in a universal salvation because (1) I doubt there is any kind of "heaven" which exists to which all will arrive, and (2), I've seen too much evidence that many people do not have, but are desperate for, salvation.

 

I am also saddened, BeachOffEden, that your past in a fundamentalist sect has robbed you of an appreciation for the bread and wine that was cause for celebration and a source of power for the early church. If you have opportunity to read Oscar Cullmann's Early Christian Worship, I think you would find it profitable. But in the meantime, take a look again at the passage in 1 Cor. 11:17ff. In the context, what does Paul consider to be an "unworthy" eating and drinking? What was his concern? Wasn't it that there were divisions in their attempt to be community - the body of Christ? Some were hungry while others overindulged at the party to the extent that they became drunk. Taking the bread and wine unworthily doesn't seem to have any connection with some kind of personal piety, but a failure of some to have an inclusive love. Some failed to "recognize the body of Christ", which was the central purpose of coming together in the first place. The meal was the sign and sacrament at which the presence of the Risen Christ could be experienced in their relationship with one another.

 

So, rather than not taking the bread and wine because you feel unworthy, I think you should throw a party and celebrate with others the fact that we have access to a shared experience of God's life and power, and then, in an act of worship, while sharing food and drink with others, expect God to show up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" I do believe the fundamentalist's approach has some merit in calling attention to humanity's "lost" condition and then offering salvation through a relationship to God through Christ. However, I think they are off base in their understanding of the Atonement of Christ and their concept of heaven and hell as some place or form of existence after death. So, I would disagree with someone who believes in a universal salvation because (1) I doubt there is any kind of "heaven" which exists to which all will arrive, and (2), I've seen too much evidence that many people do not have, but are desperate for, salvation. "

 

I embrace an afterlife hope..and I differ from a vast majority of the liberal Christians...I supose, on this. I believe in a possible after life hope brings me great joy...But I also feel that one of the main flaws of the fundamental branches of Christianity is the way they danger rewards of everlasting bliss or everlasting damnation over people's heads as a way to gain and maintain members. In constrasting with Sponge, I do not believe in universal salvation...rather I embrace a universal fair 'CHANCE'...at salvation. Meaning that I believe contrasting to what Billy Graham teaches...I believe a person DOES get a fair 'CHANCE' after this present life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I embrace an afterlife hope..and I differ from a vast majority of the liberal Christians...I supose, on this. I believe in a possible after life hope brings me great joy...But I also feel that one of the main flaws of the fundamental branches of Christianity is the way they danger rewards of everlasting bliss or everlasting damnation over people's heads as a way to gain and maintain members. In constrasting with Sponge, I do not believe in universal salvation...rather I embrace a universal fair 'CHANCE'...at salvation. Meaning that I believe contrasting to what Billy Graham teaches...I believe a person DOES get a fair 'CHANCE' after this present life.

Do you believe then, in an eternal hell? And I'm not sure I understand the idea of a "fair chance" in an afterlife. Do you think that when a person dies they will experience some kind of purgatory-like existence?

 

I know this is probably terrible of me, but I picture this scene where God is like Elmer Fudd with a gun who gives us poor "wabbits" a "fair chance" after we've died by turning us loose in the big woods where, if we are smart enough, we can run away and hide from Ol' Elmer before he can shoot us.

 

Obviously I need clarification of your view so I can dismiss that silly picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In constrasting with Sponge, I do not believe in universal salvation...rather I embrace a universal fair 'CHANCE'...at salvation.  Meaning that I believe contrasting to what Billy Graham teaches...I believe a person DOES get a fair 'CHANCE' after this present life.

I am glad to see you do not embrace a "Universal Salvation" theology. You are also correct in that there is a "universal fair chance" at salvation. However, that universal fair chance occurs in this life only! Not after this life is over.

 

Everybody is given a chance during this life to receive the salvation mentioned in the Bible. Once we die there is no more chance. God provides us with every opportunity to accept His gift. It is up to us to recognize it and to take Him up on His offer.

 

When Jesus died, He did so willingly to buy us back and to redeem us from the bondage of sin. The only way to receive salvation is to accept the gift He made available through His death on the cross. There is no other. At times, I wish there was, but this is the way it has to be -- regardless of what we may wish or think.

 

We can think that God is "unfair" by only permitting one way to heaven -- but how much more fair can He be but to open it up to everyone? Also, we are in no position to judge the God of the universe. He, after all, is the one who will rightfully judge us.

 

We, as humanity, are in this sinful state by our own fault. We, that is you, me, and the rest of humanity choose to sin on our own accord. But God, through the maifestation of His love for us, provided a way out! Out of love, He came to earth Himself, as a man, to pay the penalty for our sin! All we have to do is accept that gift! How could He make it any more fair, or any more easy?

 

God IS so good!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are indeed correct that i do not believe that hell menas an eternal firepit of torment. if I did believe this then I would call myslef a fundamental Christian rather than a Progressive one. See thread here intield,"Hell is Not Hot."

 

" You are also correct in that there is a "universal fair chance" at salvation. However, that universal fair chance occurs in this life only! Not after this life is over."

 

That is precisley what I just got through stating that Billy Graham believes. Billy Graham, ovbiously is an Evangelical Christian, as are those who agree with him. "I" am NOT an Evangelical nor Fundamental Christian, I am a progressive one and thus is why I am HERE and thus support The Center For Progressive Christianity as this site's 8 points discribes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Revs, I'd like to encourage you to review the description of the various forums within this website. The Progressive Christianity forum is largely intended as a safe place for relatively like-minded, hindered progressive spirits to interact with each other. Its seen by many as a haven from the more conservative and fundamentalist "Christianity" bulletin boards and chat-rooms.

 

If you'd like to debate and/or try to persuade folks as to the merits of traditional conservative theology, I'd encourage you to do so on the Debates forum.

 

Thank you for your attention and respectful consideration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not believe in universal salvation...rather I embrace a universal fair 'CHANCE'...at salvation. Meaning that I believe contrasting to what Billy Graham teaches...I believe a person DOES get a fair 'CHANCE' after this present life.

There is a theory out there called the "Andover theory" because it was devised at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary by...well, someone (don't know who). Were you making a direct ref to that? If not, you might be interested in checking it out.

 

Revs Box,

Thank you for your posting your perspective for us. I do have to warn you, however, that many of the perspectives presented here may make you a bit uncomfortable. I say that because of the force (underlining and boldtype) that you used to make your point, which may identify a possible emotional reaction at the keyboard. Just a heads-up reminder that this is a place for progressive Christians to discuss openly where they are in life, their questions and concerns, what is and is not meaningful to them. If I have misunderstood the emphasis of your post, please let me know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Jesus said, "I am the light and the way and it is only through me that my Father's kingdom can be attained." Jesus was a man, and Christ was the perfect man. Christ consciousness is perfect. The Christ way is to lay aside our fears, doubts and worries so we can enter into a silent, peaceful contemplation of pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is within us and is perfect and because it is perfect, it destroys our doubts and fears, and casts out all uncertainty and disbelief. We must let go of everything, drop every fear from our minds, and enter into inner communion with the Father in pure consciousness. Now, from pure consciousness we draw full, complete and perfect joy, which causes us to surrender to the Father then God can remove every mental obstruction to peace because we surrender all confusion, doubt, condemnation and judgment to Him. Because the Soul is higher than the mind and more than the body, all conflicts can be removed and healed without effort, both in the mind and the body. The Christ way governs the activities of our life leading us to fulfillment with joy, love, unity, happiness and success. There are many paths to perfection. The way of Jesus Christ is the path to perfection that I chose, but I realize that there are many paths to perfection as there are individuals. The only way is through the light of perfection, but there are many candles giving off and lighting other candles so I think Jesus was saying it is only through perfection that one experiences the kingdom of pure consciousness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

So I was wondering, in reflection of all this...as Progressive Christians we can clearly see that we concure with Liberal christians on social justice for all...but in your view, do you think that 'maybe" the point about Jesus being "The relm to God for US.." might be the key element 'difference' between Progressive verese liberal Christianity? And you you think that between the far right''s exclusive view on Jesus as savior and everyone ELSE is unsaved....and the far Liberal left of rejecting any sort of any sort of Savior figure even in the form of a Cosmic Christ...might be Progressive Christianity's take on an open salvation posiblity based on the concept of Jesus being our "relm to God." ? Do you think this is the open balanced middle? I would be greatly interested in hearing all Progressive Christian individual's view on this.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have time to fully respond at the moment, but, to muddy the waters even further, there is a differnce between liberal theology and post-liberal theology (Hauerwas, Lindebeck, et al). I'm sort of drawn to post-liberal theology which actually posits a rather more tribalist take on Christianity (e.g. that we are a unique people whose identities and behaviors are grounded in our formative stories/myths - particularly the Gospels). While I have strong notions as to what it means to be a Christian, I simultaneously have a rather perennial (inclusive) notion regarding other faiths and other ways of understanding Christianity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am kinda the same. I agree to a degree..on Sponges view that jesus is everyone's Savior..whether they know it or not..but yet i am not a universalist but rather a conditionalist. I do NOT agree with the fundamentalist's take that "The Bible is withOUT error."

 

...But on the other hand, I don;t agree with the far left that believes that the bible is just a collection of positive man-made "myths." I feel that many of the Scriptures that Fundamentalist claim are literal are indeed actually symbolic in nature...especially the ones dealing with purification by fire...just like in many Native American cultures...

 

But I don;t embrace the belief that Jesus did NOT really raise from the dead and that that this is merely a metaphoric 'myth...Because for 'ME' this removed the heart of optimism of the Judeo-Christianity. I speak here for me and NOT for everyone, but I agree with that one Progressive Presbyterian pastor who said that if we get so liberal that we reduce all the possoble hopes in the Bible to 'myths' than we are left with a nearly secular only answer to a social justice movment without a solid spirituality in the center.

 

I am given the impression, from hearing many Liberal Christians, especially the UU ones,(NOT on HERE..but elsewhere) that because they themselves felt so betrayed by their former fundamental churches and the way these fundamental faith groups used the threat of backslidding and loosing their "salvation"..then this makes them convinced that one could NOT possobly hold ANY sort of belief in Jesus as a Savior concept withOUT really being narrow-minded fundamental extremists. And if they don't say this..they act like they don;t trust ANY Moderate or Progressive and also acted like they think they are hidding some far right wing agenda but poising as liberals..when obviously..this is not true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, it seems that far too many throw the baby out with the bathwater...

Critical thinking is what is needed and IMO both fundamentalists and radical-anything-goers are each equally guilty of anti-intellectualism and laziness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christ Consciousness Is All Powerful The microcosm cannot grasp the macrocosm because it is too vast. The image that our unit minds can grasp is another unit being who serves as a model for spiritual life. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Jesus is pointing the way to the macrocosmic mind and is the tangential point between the macrocosm and the microcosm. By using Jesus as a personal model and a focal point, we can attain Christ consciousness. It is the perfect consciousness for the human model because it has attained all of the possibilities in the human state. In it all potential is actualized on this earthly plane so it becomes the prototype of being for the Christ conscious mind. It admits and supports the idea that there are varied upward paths to pure consciousness, and the diversity in different world faiths diminishes as one approaches Christ consciousness. Evolution and all spiritual paths lead to pure consciousness.

In Christ consciousness the human ego with which most of us identify is nothing but a tool to do service with on this earthly plane, the external reality. The inward reality is linked with the inward reality of the whole universe. In Christ consciousness there is a place in the mind that merges with the Mind of God and draws strength and inspiration from it. Therefore, Christ said, "I and the Father are one." The words, "I and the Father are one" can be interpreted to mean that I, the individual ego does not exist. The Father is everything so nothing has existence except pure consciousness; God is all there is; and I am a nonentity. Christ consciousness is not identified with the ego; therefore, Christ is the image of the true self that is developed. He is a model for us to imitate, an ideal that exists in our hearts and is a tangential point between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Jesus is pointing to God, the Father so we should not mistake his fingers as the goal and run over his hand, but see Jesus as the way. When we come closer to our spiritual role models, we come closer to all, and vice a versa; when we come closer to all, we come closer to our role models. Thus, we should work on expanding our minds and seeing the all-pervading consciousness working in life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I don;t agree with the far left that believes that the bible is just a collection of positive man-made "myths." I feel that many of the Scriptures that Fundamentalist claim are literal are indeed actually symbolic in nature...especially the ones dealing with purification by fire...just like in many Native American cultures...But I don;t embrace the belief that Jesus did NOT really raise from the dead and that that this is merely a metaphoric 'myth..

 

This could be an interesting thread: the idea of a "mere" myth. Often in our culture, we equate myth with delusion. However, in ancient history, myth was the story of people and their gods. Or, that was the way they articulated what they perceived to be happening "behind the scences," so to say. Today, myth is more appropriately understood as an interpretive albeit authoritative narrative that guides life. Other terms for it are story, narrative, fiction (technically speaking), and truth.

 

When I am asked about my sense of call, for example, I respond by telling my story, or my personal myth. Because I am a human being, I necesarilly see the world through the lens of this myth. It is according to this myth that I discern what is "right" and what is "wrong." It is my myth that drives me, feeds my passion, cultivates my fears, etc. In a sense, the spirit of my myth is what animates me and my becoming.

 

So there is no such thing as a "mere" myth. When we talk about the Christian myth, we are talking about the governing story (or compilation of stories) of our existence and mission as a people. Because there are in fact many different versions of the story, they are drawn together in the person and work of Jesus. In the coming together, they fight it out, and the story is revised and continues to evolve. For example, when we proclaim liturgically the Apostle's Creed, everyone saying those words has a different sense of what they mean. But somehow there is still a sense that they re-present the Christian myth, and by representing (or incarnating) the myth, it becomes "fact." And, by doing so, we become a "truth-full" people, participating in our truth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see your point. In the study of social anthropology the majority see no problem or conflict in discribing other people's cutural spiritual beliefs as 'myths," ..but is it not true that the vast majority of the adverage person thinks of the word 'myth' as meaning "fairy-tale."? For example if I was a Hopi Native American and a social anthropologist from Englad discribed my spiritual views as 'myth', I think I was be a bit offended and would wonder why he could not simply discribe my belief as a belief. It might make the Native American think that the European was discribing 'other' people's beliefs as 'myths', and maybe his own views as facts. I was coomented this to my college teacher in My Native American Social Anthropology class...but she acted as if my point was without value.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting stuff here. I liked the comments on myth vs "literal reality". In UCC.Org I discussed the idea that something could be allegorical and actually truer than something that was actual factual data. Haha, I found there are LOTS of fundies there.... Jesus spoke in parables. Why did he do that? IMO, he was giving more vivid pictures therefore making what he said "realer", he was story telling which is an art (and art is more true sometimes than life), and he was giving examples that people would remember and learn from. (If I were to guess which things Jesus actually said vs thoe things that were ascribed to him I would guess, the Sermon on the Mount (very visual, lots of colorful contrasts and parallel structure to boot) and the parables. Some stories in the OT actually make almost no sense on a literal level but on an allergorical level are more powerful. Joseph Campbell in the "Power of Myth" talks about modern myths in our culture (lots of similar elements virgin birth and resurrection... makes you wonder) but also of Star Wars and the planet Earth photo shot in outer space. Is that mythology of the earth from space a fairy tale? I would contend NOT. But the reality of the Earth without political boundaries is not exactly day to day "reality" either.

 

Also I see Jesus as our saviour for our times and our culture. Have you all seen the "Savior of the Klingons" or "Savior of the ETs"? Basically it is the idea of some other very alien culture like the Klingons or some gray dudes with no ears and big eyes, well who comes to them as God? Well in some ways we have folks that live in very different societies than us. The Asians or Native Americans have very social communal sort of societies. So does Jesus of Nazareth represent the same values to them as they do to us? Although I did study Buddhism briefly, think it has a lot to teach us, I also think it is well, more alien. (Although as the world gets smaller, who knows?)

 

Also our world is changing. I see there are sins, if you want to use that word, that there weren't back 2000 years ago. Sure there was fornicating, and don't those fundies love that one?? But there is now the possibility of killing off everyone on earth or the threat of global pollution, which the fundies talk about not at all. Maybe some day the whole idea of some guy in Nazareth 10,000 years ago (if we manage to get that far??) will seem not relevant anymore. I am open to that possibility, but I don't exactly need to concern myself with it.

:-)

 

Not sure if I think that Jesus is everyone's savior whether they know it or not. But I believe in cultural relevancy or something like that. That Jesus was for our time and our lives or something like that. And that Buddha was for some other persons times and lives. And maybe the "Four headed Thing" is for someone else's times and lives. And so forth. I'm not sure if I expressed this too well. I'm not exactly sure what salvation is, as I don't believe in a literal place like heaven or hell. I suppose salvation is finding the kingdom of God within you and others. I don't believe you need Jesus per se. But you need something greater than yourself.

 

BTW, I think it is no doubt harder to be a Progressive Christian than a Fundamentalist. You have to decide a LOT of things....

 

--des

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think everyone should see the Power of Myth. Joseph Campbell completely opened up my eyes that a story can be profoundly true without being factually true.

 

But it was Joseph Campbell (though he might not like it) and "Thou Art That", a book on the Christian myth, that made me really go "Hmmm."

 

That book led me to "The God We Never Knew" (Marc Borg) and "Original Blessing" (Matt Fox) and "Coming of the Cosmic Christ" (Matt Fox) and "Seeds of Contemplation" (Thomas Merton).

 

You'll hear people say (I've said it), that "There are many roads to God".

 

I think what I meant to say was "There is one road to God, but just about any religion can help you to find that one road."

 

And like Joseph Campbell (and Huston Smith and Matt Fox) shows so well, if you throw all the world religions into one big bucket, shake them up, and strip away the differences, you will find that one road. Truths are perennial (or primordial).

 

What spiritual path (Religion) will help you find the road the easiest? That is different for every person.

 

In some religions it can be very hard to find the road. It some religions it might be that only one or two adherants offer a glimpse of that road. For example, in Islam, I might think Rumi would be one. But then, he found it somehow, so I imagine others could too, without him.

 

In Christianity, I'm glad I found the mystics: Marcus Borg (Read the chapter on Thin Places in Heart of Christianity), Matt Fox, Thomas Merton, Thomas Moore, Meister Eckhart, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, etc.. etc..

 

Aletheia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service