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Fredl
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Hello!

 

Seveal months ago, I left the Mormon Church. I wasn't mad at anybody and told my Bishop that I wished to be considered a friend of the church and attend from time to time with my family. There were two problems: First, I did not believe the Book of Mormon to be true, at least in the usual sense of the word. Second, I had decided to accept a rather large financial burden on behalf of my wife's relatives in the Philippines and this had brought the matter of the lack of transparency of handling funds within the church, a matter that had bothered me for a long time, to a head in my mind and I no longer wished to pay tithing.

 

We were friends before we talked and still are.

 

This has brought me to a period of extended consideration of what I DO believe.

 

I think the individual whose religious position I admire the most would be Benjamin Franklin. Skeptical, friend of all that was beneficial to mankind, generous with all the congregations in Philadelphia, good humored, especially about himself; I wish I could be more like him. I also love greatly Emerson, Spinoza (though I'm not crazy about his Determinism - I guess he lived too early to understand Quantum Mechanics), the Teachings of Jesus and the Buddha. I have great reverence for Jesus and his teachings, but no more than for certain other Great Souls who have walked among us here on Earth.

 

I have come to consider myself a Pantheist. But, a special sort of Pantheist. I believe in the presense of Deity in ALL things: War as well as Peace, Conflict as well as Tranquility, Tragedy as well as Joy, Death as well as Life, Pain as well as Pleasure, the Works of Man as well as the Wonders of Nature, a fetid open sewer in a 3rd World Country as well as in a sparkling Mountain Stream. I also strongly believe that I will never accept any church which denies the understandings of Modern Science. Organic Evolution stands out. I feel the function of religion is to reconcile us with the many unhappy facts of the real world, not create a system of denial to use in coping with it.

 

Politically, I believe in Free Market Capitalism with minimal government intervention, tolerance without encouragement of abortion and homosexuality, the War to free Iraq and consider George W Bush a fine man and good president doing his best in a very difficult world.

 

OK, my question is, "Am I in the right place here?

 

Fred

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YES!

 

Welcome.

 

I just began a political string here called Politics Usa and a different opinion would be great. No one here would say that a PC has to be a Democrat or even a Liberal on all issues. We try to be open. We try to learn. Many of your beliefs are close to mine and a few are not. That's OK.

 

Are you familiar with the Perennial Philosophy which is closely linked to mysticism?

PP advocates claim there are underlying truths common to all religions. Aldous Huxley wrote a book named THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY in the 40s. It is still quite relevant and inspirational and practical. So is the book by the graet American pragmatist, William James: THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE now about 100 years old but still relevant and inspirational and, of course, practical.

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Welcome !!

 

I believe that most of us here follow the dualistic precepts that you disclosed, but also acknowledge an underlying unity to it all that is still mostly mystery. However, most of us shy away from political discussion because, well, politics sucks ! But that's not everyone's belief.

 

Looking forward to interesting discussions...

 

flow.... :)

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Welcome to the board fred. I live (and grew up) in Utah. Most of my family is Mormon, although I have a few on my mother's side that are JW's. :)

 

We all have different views towards a few things that you mentioned, but that's the beauty of progressive Christianity. We can agree, and disagree, and hopefully have fruitfull discussion.

 

Welcome to the board!

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Wow, Fred, I guess I agree with most of your spiritual beliefs. I do, however, also believe that as Flowperson said, there is an underlying unity to it all. I don't share your political beliefs but we all have a right to our own political persuasions.

 

I think you will have a lot to contribute to the discussions here and I look forward to more of your posts.

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Welcome! Your understanding of Mormonism would ad some great new insights to our community. So far we have Progressive people here who previously came from Catholic, Christian Science and JW, so now having LDS added to our collective will help all the more expand our understanding of different faith groups. :)

 

It would also be helpful if would could also add Progressives who also came from the following faith group backgrounds:

 

1. Calvery Chapel or Vineyard Christian Fellowship, or FourSquare Gospel

 

2. Evangelical Luthern

 

3. Southern Baptists

 

4. Church of Christ (non-instrumental)

 

5. Seventh-Day Adventists

 

6. Christadelphian or The Church of God of Abraham Faith/Open Bible Church

 

If we could also add one progressive person from each of these 6 faith backgrounds onto here it would really complete our data base of faith groups..and thus expand our understanding.

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Gosh, thanks all for the very friendly and encouraging replies.

 

May I ask another question?

 

As I mentioned, I consider myself a Pantheist at this time or, if we want to get really fancy, a Panentheist. To tell the truth, as a practical matter, I consider this to be what my lawyer friends term a distinction that does not amount to a difference. I suppose the religious text that I revere most would be Homer's Oddesey. I find inspiration in many New Testiment passages, but consider The Old Testament to be pretty much a self serving history of the Jews. I consider it actually pretty horific, what with God commanding frequent genocides, fathers to sacrifice their sons to prove their devotion, and branding marriages between different ethnic groups illicit (my wife is Filipino and not that long ago that was strongly disapproved of by Mormon authorities). And the whole notion of Jesus having to die to save me, I just can't get my head around. Despite hearing people advance this idea for the last 60+ years of my life, I still can't see the connection.

 

So, with my general indifference to ideas Christian, could I slide by in Progressive Christianity just based on my acceptance of the idea that Jesus was a revolutionary thinker who paved the way for the Western World's break with Tribalism in favor of Modern Western Individualism, which I regard as perhaps the single most important development in the history of Mankind?

 

Fred

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So, with my general indifference to ideas Christian, could I slide by in Progressive Christianity just based on my acceptance of the idea that Jesus was a revolutionary thinker who paved the way for the Western World's break with Tribalism in favor of Modern Western Individualism, which I regard as perhaps the single most important development in the history of Mankind?

It strikes me you'd find yourself at home philosophically in Unitarian Universalism, but most UU churches aren't going to share your political views. It's always something, isn't it? What you probably are is a traditional, rather than modern, Unitarian -- an 18th century liberal, rather than a 20th century one. Anyway, based on the 8 Points, and the writers that TCPC tends to draw on, you will find a lot of theological resonance in Progressive Christianity.

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As I mentioned, I consider myself a Pantheist at this time or, if we want to get really fancy, a Panentheist. To tell the truth, as a practical matter, I consider this to be what my lawyer friends term a distinction that does not amount to a difference.

Depending on whom you read, pantheism and panentheism are defined the same or VERY differently. I choose to use the term panENtheism, because it's my experience that most modern people do know of and see a difference. What I mean is, years ago you could say "pantheist" and people at large may have understood that to mean that the universe is in God, but that God transcends the universe. Nowadays, people would probably hear pantheism and think that the universe is God and that God is exhausted within the universe.

I suppose the religious text that I revere most would be Homer's Oddesey.

You'd love my cats then: Circe and Calypso. :P

I find inspiration in many New Testiment passages, but consider The Old Testament to be pretty much a self serving history of the Jews. I consider it actually pretty horific, what with God commanding frequent genocides, fathers to sacrifice their sons to prove their devotion, and branding marriages between different ethnic groups illicit (my wife is Filipino and not that long ago that was strongly disapproved of by Mormon authorities).

Isn't it sad when one groups gradual understanding of who God is, is taken as "carved in stone once and for all time fact" to be used as a dictionary of how to live our modern lives? Ah the joys of fundamentalism. Happily, there are more balanced views of the OT and what it can mean to us today.

So, with my general indifference to ideas Christian, could I slide by in Progressive Christianity just based on my acceptance of the idea that Jesus was a revolutionary thinker who paved the way for the Western World's break with Tribalism in favor of Modern Western Individualism, which I regard as perhaps the single most important development in the history of Mankind?

You probably could, but the question is, would you want to? I can't imagine dedicating any portion of my life to anything that I have a "general indifference" to. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I too have a problem with the Old/New Testament thing. It seems as though, as you pointed out, that the two Testaments are describing, as you intimated, three differing kinds of human beings. Two of them being older in origin, but which have thrived and grown for millenia in a law-driven, reward-punishment scenario that one could really call evolutional thematically in which the toughest guy/tribe/community wins and brands the future in its own way.

 

Your comment on the central attention to the Jewish tribe is appropriate since they were chosen to lead us into realities defined by what knowledge we gained from books, as opposed to how well we learned to slay each other with ass jawbones. It's interesting to note also that this is how Kubrick chose to define the early time of proto humans in 2001, A Space Odyssey.

 

Now , as you mentioned, the New Testament seems to define the emergence of a third kind of human defined by peaceful approaches to life and a primary emphasis upon the individual dignity of humans and communities of like-minded souls, Jesus being the first of this third type, at least that's the way I see things.

 

As far as your statement about the book of Mormon, having read parts of it, it does in a way metaphorically describe some aspects of the great native civilizations that inhabited the Americas for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. Then there are tantalizing clues of others who may have come here from time to time in minor ways such as the Chinese, Norsemen, Phonecians, Irish, and Hebrews. There actually are extant flat rocks found in Tennesse with Hebrew inscriptions on them in an ancient version of the script.

 

I don't know. It's a mystery as I said earlier. If only the LDS didn't always illustrate the characters in their stories as tall, skinny, white guys, this all might become a more viable possibility.

 

flow.... :rolleyes:

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Now , as you mentioned, the New Testament seems to define the emergence of a third kind of human defined by peaceful approaches to life and a primary emphasis upon the individual dignity of humans and communities of like-minded souls, Jesus being the first of this third type, at least that's  the way I see things.

flow.... :rolleyes:

 

 

My reading of the Old Testament leads me to conclude that the emergence of the "peaceful approaches to life" began in Old Testament times, primarily with the writings of the prophets. The historian Will Durant provides a reasonable argument for this hypothesis as does the psychologist Julian Jaynes (to mention only a few outside of the usual theological/historical debates).

 

minsocal :o

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Well, thanks for the kind responses. Fredp, yours was right on the money. For many years I was, indeed, a Unitarian but, as time went on, I bcame increasingly uncomfortable, not with Unitarian doctrine but with Unitarian Culture, particularly with the establishment of what amounted to a Church Political Position. When I joined the church in my college days I was intensely proud of it. That was 50 years ago and, at that time much of the 18th Century Liberal view survived. I was proud of the church's stand against racial prejudice before it became popular and the church's acceptance of even religious skeptics before religious skepticism became the prevailing attitude in the church. I was a huge fan of early Unitarian Transendentalism and am still a great admirer of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I also thought highly of the Universalists and welcomed their merger with the Unitarians.

 

I would not consider the UU church today. It reminds me of a friend I had in college, Rubin R. When we were fraternity brothers at Rutgers, Rubin was an editor of the college newspaper and I was on Student Council. Together, we took some very unpopular positions at the time, such as not allowing fraternities on campus if their national or local charters discriminated against any racial (Blacks) or Ethnic (Jews) groups, making ROTC voluntary and against the local barbershops refusal to give Black Sudents haircuts. Well, Rubin today is a college professor: fat, pompous and immensely self satisfied. While I am just as fervently against racial discrimination as we both were back in our college days, I am slender and as much a seeker as I was then. And dramatically different in my political views, having come to understand why Free Market Capitalism works and other Economic Systems don't. Pretty much one of those rarest of political animals: A Liberal Republican.

 

Anyway, before I drive the discussion even further off the track, let me promise to answer the question regarding why I have an interest in Progressive Christianity soon and sign off for now.

 

Fred

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Now , as you mentioned, the New Testament seems to define the emergence of a third kind of human defined by peaceful approaches to life and a primary emphasis upon the individual dignity of humans and communities of like-minded souls, Jesus being the first of this third type, at least that's  the way I see things.

flow.... :rolleyes:

 

 

My reading of the Old Testament leads me to conclude that the emergence of the "peaceful approaches to life" began in Old Testament times, primarily with the writings of the prophets. The historian Will Durant provides a reasonable argument for this hypothesis as does the psychologist Julian Jaynes (to mention only a few outside of the usual theological/historical debates).

 

minsocal :o

 

I agree that the prophets prepared the people for the eventual coming of the third persons. But the coming of them did not begin until Jesus arrived and began to form communities of the new beliefs, which then did not begin to really start to transform human societies until about the 4th century ad. I believe we're on the same page if we look at this as a timeline.

 

flow.... :)

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First, let me say how appreciative I am that a couple of you here picked up on the significance of the tribal mentality and the signficance it has to Jesus and the birth of Christianity. I have enjoyed very much the comments on that subject. Tribalism has been a HUGE issue in my personal life and I experienced the most important breakthrough in understanding my wife in our entire 20 years of being married when I came to understand the significance of the destruction of tribal societies and the effect that it has had on the survivors of shattered cultures. The gradual breakup of such cultures in the Philippines and the cataclysmic destruction of tribal societies in North America were enormously powerful and unrecognized influences on the two of us. My coming to understand this probably saved our marriage.

 

Which is another story.

 

Anyway, about my present interest in Christianity: I have come to recognize that I am, for the most part, a "Cultural Christian". Though, only on my Father's side, really. I'm not sure that my Mother's side of the family was ever really "culturally assimilated". But, as a kid I pretty much thought of myself and my family as culturally, if not religiously Protestant. My Mom was 3/4 Cherokee, a fact she kept quiet and that I didn't really know until fairly late in life, after the Mormons got me working on Geneology. My dad was a rather outspoken Agnostic, but we still thought of ourselves as Protestant. Soooo, I've been thinking lately about a church which honors the Protestant tradition and the key figure in the Christian tradition but recognizes the importance of intellectual freedom and our modern Scientific understanding of theUniverse and Mankind's place in it.

 

Could this be "Progressive Christianity"?

 

Fred

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Soooo, I've been thinking lately about a church which honors the Protestant tradition and the key figure in the Christian tradition but recognizes the importance of intellectual freedom and our modern Scientific understanding of theUniverse and Mankind's place in it.

 

Could this be "Progressive Christianity"?

 

Progressive Christianity certainly honors the Protestant tradition, however, there are also Progressive Catholics, Progressive Episcopalians and (dare I say) Progressive Orthodox.

 

United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Lutheran churches (not Missouri Sinod), and Presbyterian churches might interest you. Some are going to be more conservative, some are going to be more liberal.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Well as for Lutheran, it would more be ECLA (some like Wisconsin synod are pretty conservative as well). Presbyterian USA is fairly progressive. There are other Presbyterian churches (like the Cumberland branch) which are quite conservative.

Also Disciples of Christ is pretty progressive.

 

 

--des

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