Jump to content

Revealed Truth Vs Evolving Truth


overcast
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sorry if this is covered in other threads.

 

I am an atheist, but I grew up as an Episcopalian. When I was a Christian, I believed that Christianity had been defined by Jesus's life and teachings. Christianity was a revealed truth instead of an evolving truth. I thought any changes to these original teachings were corruptions of the truth, so the goal for Christians would be to recover the true teachings - either through archaeological research or personal spiritual contact with God.

 

So I'm trying to understand how Progressive Christians feel. If you could go back in time and hear Jesus's original teachings, would you follow them - even if they might seem socially backwards, harsh, etc.? Maybe Jesus expected everybody to convert to Judaism? Maybe Jesus expected everybody to live as beggars or share all their property in communes? Maybe Jesus was opposed to homosexuality? Maybe Jesus was opposed to all forms of sex - even for married couples? How important are the actual historic teachings of Jesus to Progressive Christians?

 

As an atheist, I have lots of ideas for improving Christianity, but why should any Christian listen to me? Shouldn't Christians be looking for the revealed truth from God instead of defining the religion like you are engineering a new car?

 

BTW I don't mean to be criticizing Progressive Christianity. It's just hard for me understand what makes you guys tick. :)

Edited by overcast
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't say that I speak for any PCs here and certainly I am not one as such. But I think many would identify with this Joseph Campbell quote I came across today.

 

If myth is translated into literal fact, then myth is a lie. But if you read it as a reflection of the world inside you, then it's true. Myth is the penultimate truth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overcast,

 

I try not to entertain hypothetical s like if i could go back in time, what would i do... etc To me hypothetical s has no existence in reality. As a progressive Christian , i do not accept everything that is written , whether in the Bible or elsewhere. I take what makes sense to me and and let experience show me the way. If a tenant is conducive to peace and love, i will test it . I find that much of what Jesus is recorded saying has deep meaning for me and has proved to benefit my life by bringing in peace, joy and occasionally some wisdom.. Progressive Christianity is a personal journey.

 

Here is a thread that details what Progressive Christianity means to others here. You might find some of the responses interesting and an answer to some of your questions. I can only speak for myself.

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses so far.

JosephM, the thread you linked has an interesting summary by Eric333 (post #16).

 

One difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that Christianity believes every other religion is wrong (to varying degrees). I assume this attitude in Christianity comes from the belief that Jesus revealed the truth, and the truth was preserved (imperfectly) in the Bible and Holy Tradition.

 

I guess I'm trying to understand what is "Christian" about Progressive Christianity. Based on the 8 points, it seems to me that an atheist could be a Progressive Christian even if he/she is 100% certain that metaphysical naturalism is true. (Maybe I missed something though.)

 

Personally, I have always thought that the goal should be to see God and talk to God. I became psychotic a few years ago, and I actually thought my goal was finally within reach. Then I became confused and skeptical and gradually accepted that I had been mentally disturbed. I have always hoped to meet God personally and learn the purpose of my life straight from the source. I'm a simple person, so Progressive Christians are hard for me to understand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overcast you are asking questions that need to be answered and you are not criticizing Christianity, I feel the Bible is not a science or history book, but a book of mythology as Romansh stated about life. It is sad that many of my fellow Christians live a lie and throw the Bible at people to defend beliefs. It seems they are on the beach sprinkling Holy Water and refusing to dive into the ocean of consciousness that is all around us. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) Christianity at present seems to be interested in the temporal things so defend, attack and exclude others to protect their religion. This is very similar to the scientific principle of superposition that claims that we do not know the state of any object in the unseen because it is in all possible states at the same time, but the act of observing it causes the object to be restricted to a single possibility. I think many Christians leaders who are not having a spiritual experience are giving human traits to God and creating Him in our human image so they attract many followers with the same mind set using marketing techniques that I refer to as selling homes in heaven. The realizations of both scientific and spiritual truths are valid and can be related to the natural lives of everyone and everything, the Bible uses natural world happenings in correspondence to put in words spiritual phenomena that can't be described, hopefully experienced. The Holy Bible if not taken literally reveals the same truths we have today with a relationship that involves the laws of the natural world and the laws in the spiritual domain. In both spirituality and science we come into contact with the contradictions we live with where even opposites become true and are correct if we believe in them or not.

 

A small wave on the surface of the ocean is not as potent or amazing as the impressive, awe inspiring waves that take off from the deeper levels of the ocean. These waves engage and draw in the spirit at the base in order to rise and awaken at a higher elevation where the downward pull of gravity has less effect on the physical. When waves are able to deepen, enhance and enrich themselves by drawing in more water they rise much higher than the waves that emerge just from the surface. Without this expanded awareness and pick up from deep within, the wave is exposed at the top and a minor gust of wind can make it fall apart. Unfolding our human potential deep within beyond the surface of the material plane is in a direct correlation with our personal well being inside that stirs up our inner resources so we can draw on them in order to do our best on this planet. More and more Christians are going to the deep end, but unfortunately at this time the vocal ones are making a ruckus in the shallow end splashing others who don't agree. The problem is they are only hurting themselves, but are not aware of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overcast,

 

In short, I think if Jesus did exist he was amazingly human, just like any of us are. He may/may not have said certain things which meant a great deal to the people he was speaking to or who developed them later on (bearing in mind the gospels were written decades after Jesus' existence and more than likely not by people who ever actually met Jesus). To question any of this is proper and should not be regarded as criticism (which is how it is instantly heard by those who don't want their security rocked).

 

Regarding the 8 points - I label myself most days as an atheist, but I feel that I fit into the 8 points and don't care that other Christians might say I can't enter their club! :)

 

My interpretation of the 8 points require no 'belief' in a God. I accept that some might believe and that works for them. But to me, God or no God, I can still experience a scaredness, oneness and unity with all because after all, we are all from the same stardust!

 

Much of what is attributed to Jesus makes sense to me as a beneficial way to live, as do many of the words of Buddha and other religous and non-religous greats.

 

So being atheist doesn't preclude anybody from being a PC, IMO anyway.

 

Cheers

Paul

Edited by PaulS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, everybody, I think I'm getting a better picture of Progressive Christianity. Until recently, I was convinced through visions and other psychotic experiences that Jesus and God existed, but I couldn't reconcile that belief with a Christian/Jewish theology that seemed to be historically false, contradictory, obsessed with blood, etc. I wondered if Progressive Christians were like that - Christian due to their personal experiences of Jesus through visions, miracles, etc., but non-Christian in their rejection of theology, traditions, etc. After reading more, I think Progressive Christians are different - Christian due to their appreciation of church traditions, community, activities, teachings, but non-Christian in their disbelief in a Jesus who is humanity's Lord, Master, Good Shepherd, etc?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

First, on a side note, I believe that certainty is what divides the world up. If you are certain that the Bible does not describe actual events then you are committing the same sin that a Fundamentalist commits when he is certain EVERYTHING in the Bible is actual events. I have never regretted being open minded when it comes to God, Jesus, and the Bible.

 

Now, as has been pointed out many times on this forum, Truth and Fact are different things. And I think that everything revealed to the men who wrote the Bible doesn't have to be fact for them to ring true.

 

I believe that the God of the Bible is a God that continues to reveal himself to us day by day whether we notice it or not. The book of Revelation is not the end of God's story.

 

I do not believe that Truth evolves. Rather, our understanding and relationship to Truth evolves.

 

So do God's Laws evolve? That's a different question. God said to the Jews, don't eat all if this sh!t that could be bad for you. But then God revealed in a dream to Peter that Christians (mainly the Gentiles) don't have to worry about that stuff anymore. In a small way, God's stance on something change, or was amended to include non Jews. Homosexuality is a good one to look at. I'm tired of trying to say that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality. I know all of the translations and arguments, but at the end of the day I am not swayed by it. I believe that in those times, it was a sin. When you're trying to build a nation, you can't waste seed on infertile soil. If you're gay, you gotta suck it up and take a wife for the sake of God's Chosen people. In a culture where there was no concept of a loving gay relationship, where there was only adultery, prostitution, and pedophilia, then yes, it's sinful. But we're no longer trying to build a nation. And we have a loving context for homosexuality. So I don't believe it is a sin anymore.

 

So does that mean that Truth evolved? Or that new truths were revealed?

 

Circumstances evolved. And I choose to believe that God does not condemn homosexuality in our modern circumstance. Love is the constant Truth that makes it sacred now.

 

As far as what Jesus may or may not have said that wasn't recorded the Bible, I say err on the side of love, grace, kindness, forgiveness, and inclusion.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Overcast,

 

I'm a little bit confused because I've only ever come across the term 'revealed religion/truth' in relation to 'revealed theology vs natural theology.'

 

All religions evolve within their cultures with the passage of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Overcast,

 

I'm a little bit confused because I've only ever come across the term 'revealed religion/truth' in relation to 'revealed theology vs natural theology.'

 

All religions evolve within their cultures with the passage of time.

That's true. When I posted this question, I was trying to understand if PC is a type of Christianity or something else. Most Christian denominations perceive the goal to be following Jesus, but they disagree about what Jesus taught. Theoretically, that should disallow Christians from knowingly making up their beliefs to suit their fancies (although in practice that is what probably happens throughout history - Christians wish something is true and then they get a "sign from God" telling them that this somethis is true).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service