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dusktilldawn
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Hello Progressive Christianity.

 

I'm from the UK and I've been active on atheist/skeptical discussion boards on and off for a few years, with occasional forays onto Christian sites because it's a good thing to try to understand other points of view. I also have an interest in philosophy and the history of ideas, though not nearly as much time for reading as I'd like.

 

I'm posting here because the kind of Christianity that seems to be involved is a bit of a puzzle to the skeptical community. We mainly like to take on American style evangelicals and the Vatican. Religion is nearly always see as a question of what factual claims one believes in, with the emphasis very much on the existence/nonexistence of God. New atheism, for want of a better term, can't get its head round the fact that the nonexistence of God, at least in the sense that God is not the name of one of the things the universe contains, has been a commonplace in theology for more than a century. New atheism looks puzzled and concludes that you guys must be atheists who haven't yet managed to break free of the cultural trappings of faith, or else there's an awkward silence before we go back to laughing at creationists.

 

So... I'd like to fill in that blank space in my world view, since this dismissal of non-fundamentalist religion does seem to arise out of a rather simplistic way of thinking. I'll have questions later, but as requested I'll introduce myself here first.

 

Everyone on this site seems to be very, very nice to each other. I'm used to the robust debate of skeptical boards and to being the "evolutionist" among creationists, so I apologise in advance if I overstep the mark inadvertently. For my part, I believe the greatest compliment you can pay a viewpoint is to question it rigourously and I will never take offence at anyone else in discussion.

 

I'm a little disappointed that key areas of the board are off-limits to those who don't support the 8 points. Am I alone in seeing a certain irony in stating tolerance and freedom from dogma as a list of numbered points which are then used to separate the "in" group from the "out" group?

 

Anyway, enough. Once again, hello to you all.

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Welcome dusttildawn and thanks for the honest and wonderful introduction,

 

I wouldn't be too disappointed as only the Progressive Christianity forum is off limits to those who are not in general agreement with the 8 points. Progressive Christianity can be discussed by all in the debate and dialog section. Many but not all, PC's have had a painful breakaway from fundamental Christianity and desired a sort of 'safe place' of support and sharing rather than debate .

 

I don't believe our restrictions/rules/guidelines will limit you in any way, as all topics are allowed and those that are willing, are welcome to respond and share with you respectfully in the debate and dialog area. Most of the guidelines here have reasons that with time i think will make more sense to you. There are fundamentally no winners and losers even in the debate and dialog section here. There is growth to be gained by all participants that participate in the spirit of learning or appreciation and understanding of the point of views of others.

 

. The label you identify yourself with is not all that important to most of us. Mutual respect for the right to share a different points of view and behavior in avoiding personal type remarks that add nothing to the conversation is deemed much more important.

 

Anyway, welcome to the community and i hope you find what you are looking for on your journey and that this forum will be mutually beneficial to all of us.

 

Joseph

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Hi Dusktilldawn and welcome,

 

As a fundy for the first 19 years of my life, and an atheist/agnostic for the next 22, 3years or so ago I revisited Christianity predominantly to put it to bed properly (through reasoning rather than intuition) yet found PC and began to think there is room in my life for some of this (but not the "you must be saved by accepting Jesus" or the "there is only one truth" type stuff). I am now somebody who sees value in much of what Jesus is alleged to have taught and in that sense I am at least prepared to entertain the notion that he may have been on to something. I've not found God myself, but there's seems alot to be said by people who feel they are onto something. For me it's worth contemplation anyway.

 

I hope you enjoy it here and find some of the answers to fill in that blank concerning worldviews. Enjoy.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Welcome, dusktilldawn.

 

" I'm a little disappointed that key areas of the board are off-limits to those who don't support the 8 points. Am I alone in seeing a certain irony in stating tolerance and freedom from dogma as a list of numbered points which are then used to separate the "in" group from the "out" group. "

 

I see your point, and have noticed that the 'restricted areas' are among the quietest on the site. Nevertheless, as one who isn't agreement with all of the 8 points, I still find this a welcoming place.

 

."Religion is nearly always see as a question of what factual claims one believes in, with the emphasis very much on the existence/nonexistence of God"

 

This seems to be a trend within Christianity as well as atheism; maybe it has something to do with the plurality of religious choices around and the power of evidence-based scientific thinking outside religion?

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Thanks for the welcome, folks, and thanks Joseph for the guidance there.

 

Many but not all, PC's have had a painful breakaway from fundamental Christianity and desired a sort of 'safe place' of support and sharing rather than debate .

Oddly, the same is true of a large proportion of people who identify as atheists. Common ground already... :D

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Several years ago I read C Hitchen's and Sam Harris's books and perused around several atheist discussion boards. After awhile I got tired of the negativity and flaming etc. I still go to Sam Harris's site as I think he will be as much of an important author as Hitch was(may he rip).

I already like what you write as you have a way with words. Welcome!

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DusktillDawn,

 

Welcome. Your points about the site "dogma" were similar to my concerns when Bishop Spong sent his message board to be part of this one. The Bishop's site had gotten pretty much out of control. Switching from the Bishop's site to this site was like going from a wrestling match to a canoe ride down a slow moving stream. But, it is difficult to find a site with like minded participants without the flame throwing. Mr. Joseph and his moderators run a smooth site on which your ideas can be expressed. There are knowledgeable persons here with much to offer.

 

Like you I am a non-believer. This makes me feel like a usurper on a site with Christianity in its name. However, I've surfed many sites and keep coming back to this civil, knowledgeable site.

 

A person needs a "home" with similar minded participants. I hope this might serve your needs. Sometimes it's too quite and hopefully new members such as yourself can keep the dialog fresh and exciting.

 

Ron

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It is quiet isn't it? But then I had to step back from my favourite fora because taking part properly took too much time - before you'd composed your thoughts 5 more posts had arrived and you'd been left behind. Dabbling was not an option. I found this via Bishop Spong's site and I gathered there had been some issues.

 

My experience of the skeptical sites, especially Richard Dawkins' original site and its post-meltdown successor, was very positive. Sure, there was plenty of flaming and negativity but also a community of real warmth and wit. I laughed often and learned a great deal.

 

Obviously every site gets to have its own rules and in-house etiquette and if you don't like them you don't have to post. It's certainly not my intention to tell this site it should do anything differently. Searching for the perfect rules just leads to navel gazing. I remember a particularly surreal argument with moderators at another site which came to the conclusion that "your post makes you sound like a ****ing ****" was fine while "you are a ****ing ****" was sanctionable. How many abusive angels can dance on a profane pinhead?

 

I have to admit I haven't read Harris or Hitchens. I wasn't impressed with Dennett or with Dawkins (at least on religion - he's superb at explaining science in layman's terms and it's a shame he doesn't do it any more) and I think it put me off the whole Four Horsemen thing, probably unfairly. If you want something provocative I strongly recommend the British philosopher John Gray, whose central theme is that secular humanism and progressive thinking are simply the successors of Christianity because they're based on the same view that humans are fundamentally different from other animals. He memorably describes Nietzsche as "trapped in the chalk circle of Christian hopes" and atheism as "a late flowering of the Christian fetish for truth". Fantastically bracing stuff.

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