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Perspective On Point 2


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Discuss Point 2 of the TCPC 8 Points...

"By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who 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."


This is probably my favorite of the Points. Intolerance for other religious practices is part of what alienated me from the Christian Church in my teenage years. Although I do not ascribe to an "anything goes" theory of religious practice, I do not feel that Christianity has exclusive rights to "God's Realm", whatever that may be.


1. What does the word “faith” mean for you?


This is a very difficult question to answer. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines faith as the following: 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>.

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia takes several pages and gets into discussing faith both objectively and subjectively. For me, faith defies a direct definition. Faith is more than a statement of factual truths, and more than belief and adherence to a certain dogmatic system. Faith, for me, is a transformative revelation that makes it possible to embrace God out of the seduction of love and lightness of heart. Faith is the confidence in the call of God rather than adherence to a belief system out of the need of God.


2. How does the awareness, knowledge and appreciation of other approaches help us better understand Jesus and his teachings as a way to approach to God’s realm?


God is present in all houses of worship. Cultural, geographical, and historical differences may alter our perceptions of the divine, but do not change the idea that there is only one ground and source of all being. It is human arrogance and nationalistic exclusivity that promote one school of belief over another. A greater understanding of Jesus' teachings can be found when we approach other religions with an open mind, examine the similarities in purpose and worship rather than focusing on the differences.


3. What are some of the common grounds that we have with people of different faith experiences?


When one drops the ignorance of prejudice then the common ground between religions begins to manifest. From the historic to the spirituals, there are numerous ties between the practice of various faiths. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all share a common Abrahamic history. Eastern meditation based religions, such a Tao and Buddhism all share the potential for human wholeness with the Abrahamic religion. The list goes on. For myself, I try to embrace an approach to God that encompasses some of the teachings of the various faiths. Judaism has taught me an approach to the mystery of God, and given me a new method of studying scripture (new to me, ancient to Judaism). Islam has taught me about devotion and dedication in day to day, minute to minute practice and awareness of the presence of God. Taoism has given me a loss of singularity in my approach to understanding the teachings of Jesus, as well as numerous other religious scholars. Buddhism and the 8-fold path have so many similarities to the path of Jesus that numerous books have been written on the subject. I find it limiting to restrict study to one school of thought. My God cannot fit in one book.


4. What does the term “child of one God” mean for you? What are the implications?


It is as simple as stated in the question. We are all children of one creator. We, as human beings were not placed here by various deities with different instructions on how to live and worship. We were all born members of the human church. In a world where lines are constantly being drawn in the sand, separating certain dogma and certain ideologies, and wars are being waged over those lines, it would do us all good to remember that fact.

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Intolerance for other religious practices is part of what alienated me from the Christian Church in my teenage years.


Quite right.


Take those intolerant people out, line them up against a wall and ....


Paradox is a wonderful thing; I take it as very real proof of God's existence. Only an ineffable Deity could fill creation with so much of it. :D

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Simply a wonderful response to point 2 with clarity. It seems you have been doing quite a bit of study and contemplation that echo my own thoughts but perhaps you have put them with a more well thought out clarity.



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