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Are We Coming Full Circle?


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After reading Bishop Spong's latest newsletter, it strikes me that his perception of how God is perceived by humankind, seems to be coming full circle and returning to what we started out with, to a degree.

 

In the beginning, through the lens of animism, man saw God as a "diffused and ever present invisible force found everywhere". From reading this forum I interpret a similiar theme in PC, meaning some of animism seems to correspond with the line of thought of God being the "Ground of all Being" (I realise this is Spong's/Tillich's theology and not representative of all PCs). Of course it doesn't include the superstition that goes with animism, such as a displeased God causing natural disasters and/or punishing humankind. Or, I guess for that matter, a pleased God bestowing benefits or gifts upon those It is pleased with.

 

I have copied Spong's latest newsletter, but if there is any issue/concern with copyright I would be happy for any moderator to remove it if considered the appropriate action.

 

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Deleted Newsletter. JosephM (Admin)

 

As much as i would like to be able to leave the newsletter here for all to view, it is a copyright infringement to produce his newsletter in its entirety without express permission. While portions may be quoted with credit given, to my knowledge, it requires a paid subscription to view.

 

Please see OUR POLICY on copyrighted material.

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Edited by JosephM
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After reading Bishop Spong's latest newsletter, it strikes me that his perception of how God is perceived by humankind, seems to be coming full circle and returning to what we started out with, to a degree.

 

Paul,

 

Interesting point.

 

I am not sure that religion has evolved in such a trajectory because of the development of human knowledge as suggested in Bishop Spong's essay. Religious structures tend to mirror social structures (economic and political). Through human history, as the structure of societies has changed, so has religion. Hunter-gathers typically (maybe universally) are animists; Agriculture societies tend to have pantheons; Clans tend to have ancestor worship; Societies with centralized rule tend to be monotheistic. Our worldview is influenced by the social structure we live in and so would be our religious ideas.

 

Why some people may now be moving toward a more animist type of theology is interesting and I would need to think about this more before offering a possible answer. But, I am not sure that this is the result of knowledge since the existence of god(s) and their nature is empirically unknowable.

 

George

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A quick thought. Isn't the difference the degree of agency in the God of animism and the Ground of all being or a God that needs creation to be complete.

 

Yes, good point. I think agency is an important difference between animism and what, I think, is essentially pantheism.

 

George

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