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Gunnar
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While reading Richard Dawkin's book 'The God Delusion' i came across a reference to JS Spong's book 'A New Christianity for a New World' which I have now read and found most interesting.

I have spent most of my life in Australia but was raised in a very strict fundamental pentecostal church in northern Sweden. From a young age I was told I was a sinner and needed to be saved and would spend hours on my knees praying to be saved and baptised in the holy spirit while other kids my age were outside playing games. Seems so weird now but when you grow up in a family where this is 'normal' I did not really question this until my teenage years when I did a complete turnaround and left all this behind (and also emigrated to Australia).Incredibly my siblings in this day and age still literally believe all the bible stories which I find totally amazing. One of my brothers has actually been quite a well known gospel singer in the US for nearly 50 years.

JS Spongs book has really struck a chord with me and I find I can relate to his view of the bible, God and science. I don't have anyone I can talk to about these matters as nobody I know, including my partner, has the slightest interest in anything spiritual. All conversation has to be on a superficial, materialistic level and if somebody has a religion their faith is not to be questioned at all.

I look forward to having a conversation with and exchange ideas with other members of this forum. Are there any other members living in Australia?

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Gunnar, Salutations to the Divinity within you. God and science go well together and they both help us discover who we really are. Fatherman started a good thread that harmonizes God and science very well also the link he put in one post is great. Nice to have you aboard and look forward to your ideas.

 

http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/3641-the-god-user-interface/

Science of Happiness: Why Your Complaining is Literally Killing You

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Yes, welcome Gunnar.

 

I'm over here in Mandurah, Western Australia. And you live in my 2nd favourite Aussie state - I've had a few holidays in Noosa and along the Sunshine Coast!

 

We also have very similar stories - I was raised within the Churches of Christ denomination, also very fundamental with a literal view of the bible. I threw out the baby with the bathwater in my late teens and moved away from any notion of Christianity or belief in God, but still have parents and a sibling who are fervent believers (my sister is a missionary in Mexico). I revisited things a few years ago in my early forties (I'm 48 this year) when experiencing anxiety about money matters (I though I was facing bankruptcy which felt like letting down my wife and kids) and thankfully I learnt a new, progressive understanding of the Bible, Jesus & Christianity. I can't say I hold a belief in God today, other than maybe God is simply our life experience that we share.

 

Like you, my wife has no interest in these things, nor does anyone in my circle of friends. Thankfully, amongst other things I found this forum in my darkest hours and have been able to share with people here. It has been wonderful therapy! :)

 

I look forward to your participation here. Feel free to drop me a PM anytime too.

 

Cheers

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for reply Paul. I have now ploughed through quite a few of bishop Spong's books and find I can relate to most of his ideas and thoughts on a reformed Christianity for our age. But I still have a problem understanding his view of Jesus as the pathway to his experience of God; I think most Christians if they had met the historical Jesus of 2000 years ago would find it very difficult to believe that this was the son of God with the holy spirit as his father and a virgin mother. Just amazing how people over the years will adopt a completely unrealistic view of this Jew who had studied nothing except the Torah and by our standards of today would be considered completely ignorant and with little to contribute to our understanding of the universe we inhabit. That also applies to other glorified religious figures of course like the illiterate Muhammad who claimed to receive a new revelation from the archangel Gabriel whenever required like when he wanted to marry a 9-year old girl. Just amazing how gullible we humans are!

Cheers, Gunnar .

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I think what you point our speaks volumes about human behaviour, Gunnar. I think there is often a desire to know 'the truth', to be 'right' in what we believe. Blend that with a 'community' of people with like minds and it's a difficult thing to ignore. I think that's where Christianity as an organised religion started to build its base.

 

To me it's pretty clear that Jesus wasn't considered a Christ, or Son of God when he was alive. This tradition/view developed some decades later and I would suggest was built upon over the next hundred or so years until the word of God was 'closed' with the last book being written (who knows what else was written but didn't make the cut).

 

Just like other notable figures such as Mohammed, these notable people are turned into 'Gods' by people over time.

 

In any event, the way I imagine Jesus and his message suits my thoughts and I'm happy enough with them. I probably don't align with the bulk of Christianity but I kinda think too bad, they don't own Jesus

 

I hope you enjoy things here and good luck with all your reading/learning.

 

Cheers

Paul.

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Paul I see you point and agree. "To me it's pretty clear that Jesus wasn't considered a Christ, or Son of God when he was alive. This tradition/view developed some decades later and I would suggest was built upon over the next hundred or so years until the word of God was 'closed' with the last book being written (who knows what else was written but didn't make the cut)."

 

I don't think Jesus preach about religion, but was trying to share a spiritual experience he was having, "I and the Quantum Unity are one". He said, "I and the Father are one" and also said, I am the truth,the way and the life. He didn't talk much so I think he was saying watch me, how I live my life and you will witness the truth within yourself, the light and your unique way as well.

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Yes, Soma, I think Jesus probably was simply living his experience of God. I do think that he saw God through the eyes of a Jew and subsequently probably did see God as a 'father' sitting 'out there' somewhere, but simultaneously thought that people could 'experience' what God was like/wanted by living in 'the kingdom of God' in the present time, present place. I think he meant the "I and the father are one" quote in the sense that we can experience what it is like to be God if we let go of the baggage, live as community and care for each other.

 

I agree he doesn't seem to have talked much and what he did have to say seems to usually be in response to people asking him questions. So to that end I too think he was living an experience which captured people's interest. Perhaps when people couldn't all experience what Jesus had, then along came the theologising, and the rest they say, is history!

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Ministers take a two year course and start selling plots in heaven with talking and selling points. The followers of Jesus only had the experience because the resurrection and crucifixion had not happened yet.

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