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Hello From A Christian Atheist


Kathy23
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Hi everyone. I'm an almost 50 year old who has been reading Bishop Spong's work for about 25 years. I grew up in the Methodist church and was very influenced by the life and teachings of Jesus (still am). However, I could not get on board with the theistic (and parental) concept of God or the virgin birth and physical resurrection stories. And at about 12, decided if there was a theistic God, I didn't like him so would figure things out for myself. I was very drawn to the writings of the mystics and philosophers and eventually stumbled on Paul Tillich's The Courage to Be - this resonated with me immediately. I returned to a fairly liberal church in my 20s but was very frustrated with the level of discussion of spiritual issues. So I ended up in psychological/spiritual counseling for 3 years - best thing I ever did for myself. My therapist, a former chaplain in the military who was also a historian and biblical scholar, introduced me to Bishop Spong's work.

 

For the last 20 years or so I've been pretty content to call myself an atheist/nontheist because intellectually I'm closer to that line of thought than to traditional (even liberal) Christian thought. But I do have a working concept of God that is along the lines of Tillich's "ground of all being" and more recently I've discovered it's similar to the Taoist understanding of the Tao. And the reality is that I have always been a Christian at heart and the life and teachings of Jesus are integral to how I live my life. I actually find Jesus to be more compelling as a human being than as some divine being. Like Amy, I struggle with the fact that conservative Christians have the bullhorn and that the church is still so stuck on the more "magical" aspects of Jesus rather than the historical and extremely human aspects of Jesus. Admittedly, it keeps the bar comfortably low for Christians if Jesus is divine - hence we can't be expected to do the hard stuff he did..... My current struggle is that I would like to be part of the conversation but am still so far from conventional thinking on this that it's hard to find a forum for this. And I would like to see Christianity grow and embrace the "believers in exile" so to speak so that folks won't be so turned off of all things Jesus just because many of his followers believe incredulous things. One of the things I like about Eastern religions is that they are so much less dogmatic and are more open to rational thought. While I'm open to things I don't yet understand and can't explain, I will not predefine these things and then set my belief on my limited definitions.

 

Anyway, I look forward to exploring these message boards and continuing my spiritual growth, wherever it leads... Thanks!

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Kathy,

 

Thanks for that wonderful and heartfelt introduction. Far from conventional thinking is not strange to those here in this community. I also have enjoyed the Tao and find many similarities to Christianity when read in the light of each other. HERE is a whole thread on this site by members concerning the Tao that you might enjoy reading. Look forward to your participation.

 

Joseph

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Hi Kathy! Welcome aboard! Actually, it was Joseph, our Admin, who posted that link. But I'd like to get the book from Marcus Borg about Jesus and Buddha.

 

Share as you like. I've enjoyed your contributions greatly so far!

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Hi Kathy,

you said "I actually find Jesus to be more compelling as a human being than as some divine being"

 

As a RC for over 50 years several years ago I questioned the virgin birth and no longer believe Jesus is God but a man of God, it has shed a whole different light on the way I view Jesus, life , and God.

 

Anyway glad to meet you.

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Welcome Kathy,

 

Your journey resonates well with me. I myself don't know where I sit with understanding God, other than to say that if I did believe in God it would most likely be in the same sense as you mention - 'ground of all being'.

 

Welcome to the forum and I look for ward to reading more of your thoughts and enjoying your participation.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Wow! what a post. Welcome Kathy.

its great to hear from you. I understand that the sureness that conservatives have about their beliefs and it can be comforting for some. I remember and miss those days. However, I just cannot personally be a part of it without struggling with what I have learned and the many questions I have. Hence, I now do not see a Christian nowadays as someone who accepts a given set of beliefs but more as a person who accepts their personal journey to the truth they seek, inspired by the life of Jesus and tries to live that. Its that openness to the mystery to be led or to travel (if you prefer). I see God as the focus of the mystery rather than some (IMO) mentally unbalanced figure who can only forgive someone if something has to suffer and die as a sacrifice first. Hence, when I am in conservative settings I cannot help but feel the gulf between how they see things and how I personally do. I just say to myself they are on a differing path to the truth they seek and I am also doing this by another path. I hope you find a home here.

I look forward to reading more from you on the forum :D

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