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Hello From Virginia


Gaylordcat
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I discovered Bishop Spong several years ago when I was researching a play I subsequently wrote. He was a breath of fresh air, to use a worn out expression, and I have read everything he has written up to the present.

 

Bishop Spong has a connection with where I live, I think: Roanoke where I think he served for a time. His last visit was in 2001 when he preached at Christ Episcopal Church. He spoke about the possibility of Jesus being married. I had read his discussion of the same subject in one of his books, but most of the congregation listening to him that Sunday had not. Anyway, he ended the sermon by saying, "I don't know if Jesus was married, but I do know this: None of you will ever forget this sermon." I loved that.

 

A bit about me: I am a novelist, former teacher now retired, widower in a wonderful releationship, and an atheist. I am very comfortable with my atheism, and I have written often on the value of religion, any religion, in the lives of people. If I am anything I am a mythicist; I believe most all the Bible and all other religious scriptures are compellations of myths, which are essential to cultures if they are to understand who they are.

 

Indeed, I am here because I like Bishop Spong and his approach to Chistianity. I am not here to debate religion as either right or wrong, but to have discussions on the importance of religions in our culture. I would also welcome discussions about the efficacy of myths in our lives. I am a great devotee of Joseph Campbell.

 

So, that's part of who and what I am. Looking forward to discussions that can be had here.

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If I am anything I am a mythicist; I believe most all the Bible and all other religious scriptures are compellations of myths, which are essential to cultures if they are to understand who they are.

 

Welcome Gaylord

 

I was intrigued by the line above.

I just finished reading Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman. His conclusion was almost certainly ... Jesus of Nazareth. ... existed.

 

Implicitly Ehrman defined mythicists as people who believe Jesus of Nazareth never existed. Would this be an apt description of your view?

 

From a personal nomenclature point of view for me Jesus is the historical character or seed that the myth of Christ has been built upon.

 

Welcome again

 

rom

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I do not believe the Jesus portrayed in the NT ever existed. Possibly, a man exited at that time in Roman Palestine who was extremely charismatic, was followed by many people, maybe hundreds, and who so impressed them that they made him the long-awaited messiah. Dunno. However, I do not believe he walked on water, brought the dead back to life, healed lepers, etc. I do believe whoever invented the person we meet in the NT left us with some wonderful suggestions of how to live in love with our neighbor. Perhaps the historical Jesus, if he existed, said a lot of what is quoted in the NT but that does not make him a god.

 

I've finished read Zealot by Reva Aslan and pretty much agree with him about Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, two different men. Whoever Jesus was, he lived surround by a Greco-Roman culture and after his death his followers had to "sell" him some way, so I believe they "sold" him as a Greek demigod that the Greek-minded could understand. The Jews? They had to have some liturgical basis for believing in Jesus, and I think the mythology created around whoever Jesus was helped create that liturgey.

 

I recommend Dr. Aslan's book. For me it answered and vindicated much of what I believe.

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Welcome Gaylordcat,

 

I too have just finished Zealot by audiobook (this morning actually) and found it to be extremely interesting and the most sense I have heard yet made of the historical Jesus. I believe that putting Jesus in the cultural/political context of his time helps form a picture of what Jesus was about and helps better understand the Bible.

 

I hope you enjoy the discussions here and I look forward to your participation.

 

Cheers

Paul

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My favorite book on the historical Jesus was the one John Dominic Crossan wrote some years ago. He pointed out the difficulties for deciding which parts of Jesus' cultural context were the most important to his actual life.

 

It's too bad this is so speculative. I guess the Jesus Seminar took this as far as one can in voting how strongly they thought any Gospel verse was actually said by Jesus. That got them mostly hate from conservatives, but mostly shoulder shrugs from those like me who agree with them. The easy answers aren't likely to be right.

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Welcome Gaylordcat and thanks for the wonderful introduction. You are most welcome here to discuss related subjects that interest you. I think you will find much in common with people here .... even those who may choose to carry a different label.

 

Joseph

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I think you will find much in common with people here .... even those who may choose to carry a different label.

 

 

I am not so sure about that Joseph ... Gaylord is an atheist and I consider myself a devout agnostic.

:P

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Is that potato/potatah, romansh?

 

Well this question is mainly about pronunciation, is it not?

 

The difference between agnostic and atheist is more about semantics and the ensuing logic ... I think.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome Gaylordcat. I remember reading a pagan book which spoke about the importance of myth. It remarked that whether a thing was actually true or not was not the main issue but what affect it had upon ones life by believing in it was. Some dismiss myth as trivial but myth is important in the culture, viewpoints and values a society has. I personally feel Jesus did exist but more as a Jewish man from the Judaic faith rather than the divine character as portrayed by Paul and the NT. Yet, despite this I feel that there is much to be learned from the said teachings but taking everything as literal in the bible is just not one of them for me. Maybe much maybe myth or not but like the book I read said its not the main issue for me.

The trouble I feel is that many conservatives do not understand the power of myth. Hence they get stuck on this must be taken as 100% truth or you can only be very wrong and there is no middle ground. Yet in life there is often middle ground in my experience.

Welcome :D

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