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Calling All Liberal Christians


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I'm new to this site anyhow, but I've been pursuing Christianity for the last year or so. I've been suppressing (what I think is) my brain's inner bullshit meter with leather bound Bibles and "I love yous" from Jesus. My mind just cannot cope with a conservative Christianity, it turns out: like a bad transplant. The end result of all of this is that I do now recognize (after having examined my atheism) that a God could exist, that it might be Jesus, but that the Bible just does not seem to have the literal truth. To say that it does have the literal truth almost seems to be like ignoring what's right in front of you. Maybe I'll be wrong in the end, and God will point His finger at me and say "Foolish child, did I not tell you man's wisdom was foolish and one day I would make a debacle of it all?" The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem. I believe there is truth somewhere buried in the Bible, but between scribal errors and Paul's editorializing it's pretty hard to pick out what's what. So, what are some resources you guys have concerning a liberal view of Christianity?

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The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem.

 

Jen, may I ask if you could share these experiences with us? How do you know it was "God" answering "prayers?" How have you seen "God" work?

 

Just curious to know how you are so sure it's "God."

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Jen,

 

Welcome to the site.

 

Rather than overwhelm you with information, I'd like to applaud your willingness to investigate and question. Most of the people who come here found that decision a hard thing.

 

You will not find that the people who come here have a bigger beef than the fundamentalist's unwillingness to examine their faith and become educated.

 

You seem committed to looking at the questions of faith with intellectual integrity. That means you're among friends here.

 

Mongo

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The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem.

Why can't a god answer your prayers and work with people if you convert to "some form of Deism"?
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To say that it does have the literal truth almost seems to be like ignoring what's right in front of you.

 

"Almost"? :fdevil:

 

Maybe I'll be wrong in the end, and God will point His finger at me and say "Foolish child, did I not tell you man's wisdom was foolish and one day I would make a debacle of it all?"

 

If the gawd of the literal babble exists then it is the supreme sadist of the universe. Consider: Being omniscient, it knew in advance that Adam and Eve would fail - you know what I mean. Being omnipotent, it had plenty of options to prevent them from failing. But no, it (according to the book) just let them stumble into this "original sin". What for? The only plausible answer to me seems that it wanted a (fake) reason to curse them.

Tell me - with such a deity, will there be any hope at all that it spares you, no matter what you do or don't do? Such a monsters promises would be worth as much as a piece of shit.

Honestly, if this gawd could possibly exist (fortunately it can't), I'd tell it to go fuck itself, in full consciousness of my fate... because I'd know what I'd be lost anyway.

 

The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem.

 

Aaah, but then, believers of other faiths experience the same. Are all these deities real then? And if so, what about the biblical claim that there is only jehoover?

Take myself for an example. I've (among other things) watched a thunderstorm at midnight, far to the south (just saw the lightning), spontaneously raised my cup of coffee to the clouds and greeted Thor (the God of thunder in my faith)... and immediately there was one single chain of cloud-to-cloud lightning directly above me, then it continued far south as if nothing ever happened.

Anecdotal evidence of course, but somehow this kind of evidence is always anecdotal. So what to make of it? ;)

 

So, what are some resources you guys have concerning a liberal view of Christianity?

 

Pointing you to the German mainstream understanding of christianity isn't going to be of much use to you I'm afraid... so I'm at a loss. :shrug:

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There is one liberal Christian member here that I hope she can help.

 

'Suggesting to send a private message to Open_Minded so she notices you, as she may not have noticed this thread in this section.

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The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem.

No liberal Christian resources here, but I do have a link for you regarding a large-scale double-blind study that was done on prayer. The scientific results don't match your anecdotal evidence, but then that shouldn't be surprising....

 

Prayer Study Results

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My mind just cannot cope with a conservative Christianity, it turns out: like a bad transplant.

 

Then abandon conservative Christianity, I'd say. Religion is like alcohol. Some like it. Some don't. Some like Bud Lite. Some like whiskey. Some use it well. Others abuse it, and abuse others as a result. Find the Christianity that fits you, that makes sense to your mind and your heart. Some like to dance in the aisles (pentecostals); some like to sit quietly (quakers); some like to do things in order, according to a methodical plan (methodists); and others like to go to church and not talk too much about God (unitarians-universalists). Find what works for you as we all are different and have different tastes and God moves in mysterious ways.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

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Then abandon conservative Christianity, I'd say. Religion is like alcohol. Some like it. Some don't. Some like Bud Lite. Some like whiskey. Some use it well. Others abuse it, and abuse others as a result. Find the Christianity that fits you, that makes sense to your mind and your heart. Some like to dance in the aisles (pentecostals); some like to sit quietly (quakers); some like to do things in order, according to a methodical plan (methodists); and others like to go to church and not talk too much about God (unitarians-universalists). Find what works for you as we all are different and have different tastes and God moves in mysterious ways.

 

Actually I would agree with most of this, except I would replace "Christianity" with "religion" or "philosophy". There are a great many flavors of Christianity, but there are just as many other religions/philosophies in the world. You may find a better fit with one of them and not have to give up your theistic beliefs.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

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Then abandon conservative Christianity, I'd say. Religion is like alcohol. Some like it. Some don't. Some like Bud Lite. Some like whiskey. Some use it well. Others abuse it, and abuse others as a result. Find the Christianity that fits you, that makes sense to your mind and your heart. Some like to dance in the aisles (pentecostals); some like to sit quietly (quakers); some like to do things in order, according to a methodical plan (methodists); and others like to go to church and not talk too much about God (unitarians-universalists). Find what works for you as we all are different and have different tastes and God moves in mysterious ways.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

 

But that makes religion then insignifigant then. If you say choose whatever suits you. Then breaks the line of being "the truth" because every religion is against each other. That just makes religion look more like bull shit. You are a Christian and you say this but look what you are saying about religion in general.

 

Every religon has a "truth" just listen to a truth you like? That makes religion in the end meaningless.

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I tried being a liberal Christian and realized that I was just hanging onto the label of Christian just to make other people happy. Life is too short for that. I have to be true to myself, at least, and being true to myself isn't pretending to believe in 2,000 year old myths.

 

Not to mention, if you are a liberal Christian, you still have to come to terms with hell somehow. And if you say that hell doesn't exist but heaven does, you're just cherry picking what you want to be true. Just because you want something to be true, that doesn't necessarily mean it is true.

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To me, it's very simple: If Jesus was real - and wasn't insane - and there really is a holy spirit that he somehow released into the world, then you don't need a religion, a theology or a book. You simply need to live your life the best you can, and treat others the way you would want to be treated. It works for me.

 

Rob

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I don't see it that way, Ramen666. Take music, for example. Some are moved by jazz and others by gospel and still others by classical. Why should religion be any different? For me, it's light through a prism. Yes, in my view there is one light (the Source) and one prism, but the one light that emanates from the prism is in a wide and wonderous variety of hues.

 

Each week, I download the mp3 sermons preached at the Memorial Church at Harvard University. These are great sermons, and I recommend them as shining examples of deeply-felt, welcoming, joyful, kind-spirited Christianity. Just today driving to work, I listened to Rev. Austin's sermon called "When in Doubt," preached last month. (She's one of four ministers at the Memorial Church; the most famous of the four is Rev. Peter Gomes, whose book, "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind," is a great read.)

 

Rev. Austin's sermon can be heard, only 23 minutes, at

 

http://www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu/publ...ve.shtml#austin

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

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So, Currentchristian, how did you come to terms with hell? Or have you?

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To me, it's very simple: If Jesus was real - and wasn't insane - and there really is a holy spirit that he somehow released into the world, then you don't need a religion, a theology or a book. You simply need to live your life the best you can, and treat others the way you would want to be treated. It works for me.

 

Rob

 

I think you have some powerful truth here. But I'd say that consulting the wisdom traditions is a good and helpful thing. Recently, I read for the first time "The Bhagavad Gita." While I did not agree with every bit of philosophy contained in this Hindu book, I enjoyed the read and grew spiritually. Likewise with Plato or Rabbi Akiba or Buddha's "Dhammapada." These books document the quest of humankind for something higher (whether or not that something exists); therefore, I think they are worth our time. But not worth our worship!

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

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Um...why are you evading my question?

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So, Currentchristian, how did you come to terms with hell? Or have you?

 

Reasonable question, Amethyst.

 

Like many Christians of the past and of today, I reject the doctrine of hellfire as unscriptural. Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and many other reject hellfire. There's a new book out by an evangelical Christian called If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person. Sounds like a great idea to me!

 

There are many Christians who are annihilationists. I share this view that some, sadly, will be "destroyed," be "extinquished," but none will ever suffer in a hellfire.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

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I'm new to this site anyhow, but I've been pursuing Christianity for the last year or so. I've been suppressing (what I think is) my brain's inner bullshit meter with leather bound Bibles and "I love yous" from Jesus. My mind just cannot cope with a conservative Christianity, it turns out: like a bad transplant. The end result of all of this is that I do now recognize (after having examined my atheism) that a God could exist, that it might be Jesus, but that the Bible just does not seem to have the literal truth. To say that it does have the literal truth almost seems to be like ignoring what's right in front of you. Maybe I'll be wrong in the end, and God will point His finger at me and say "Foolish child, did I not tell you man's wisdom was foolish and one day I would make a debacle of it all?" The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem. I believe there is truth somewhere buried in the Bible, but between scribal errors and Paul's editorializing it's pretty hard to pick out what's what. So, what are some resources you guys have concerning a liberal view of Christianity?

 

Welcome on board, Jen...

 

Like you .... there was a time when I considered myself Diest and then I moved back to Christianity. And like you, I have my reasons. They are subjective, but that does not make them any less valid, nor worth ignoring in my decision to claim the title Christian.

 

It is possible to claim the Christian title and still read the Bible in a rational way. Most mainstream scholars do NOT read the Bible literally. Most mainstream scholars recognize the mythology in the Bible.

 

However - as a practicing Christian - be warned that finding a community is not an easy thing to do. After avoiding church for years on end & then being run out of one church when I did go back, I've found a place I am comfortable in. But, it takes work - a lot of work. Christianity is changing - but very slowly.

 

Several months ago someone started a thread and asked me about the way I read the Bible. The thread can be found here:

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?s=&a...st&p=147960

 

Let me know if you have questions:

 

In Peace

Open_Minded

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So, Currentchristian, how did you come to terms with hell? Or have you?

 

Reasonable question, Amethyst.

 

Like many Christians of the past and of today, I reject the doctrine of hellfire as unscriptural. Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and many other reject hellfire. There's a new book out by an evangelical Christian called If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person. Sounds like a great idea to me!

 

There are many Christians who are annihilationists. I share this view that some, sadly, will be "destroyed," be "extinquished," but none will ever suffer in a hellfire.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

 

So then how do you justify murdering someone simply because they are not part of your religion? If a Christian murdered an atheist because they were an atheist, they would be thrown in jail. How is it any more ethical for a so-called divine being to destroy and extinguish people simply because they are not Christian or not perfect enough in his view?

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So then how do you justify murdering someone simply because they are not part of your religion? If a Christian murdered an atheist because they were an atheist, they would be thrown in jail. How is it any more ethical for a so-called divine being to destroy and extinguish people simply because they are not Christian or not perfect enough in his view?

 

Well, I'm opposed to all forms of murder or injury. Those who claim to know God and those who claim there is no God should still be able to be friendly with each other. As I said in a previous post, however, religion (politics, too) is like alcohol, and some people abuse it and harm others in the process.

 

I don't think God will murder anyone. We all die. Some will be allowed to remain deceased due to their inability to enjoy peace and enjoy a world in which no one is hungry, suffering, sick, dying, and where the love of power and money and war are things of the past. They will be allowed to remain in the grave. Those who want to live in a world governed by love will be present, whatever their religion in this life.

 

Or so it seems to me.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

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The reason I do not give up Christianity and merely convert to some form of Deism is because I have seen God work in people, I have seem Him answer prayers, strange as that may seem. I believe there is truth somewhere buried in the Bible, but between scribal errors and Paul's editorializing it's pretty hard to pick out what's what. So, what are some resources you guys have concerning a liberal view of Christianity?

Seeing prayers answered does not prove that what happened can be attributed to the God of Christianity (as commonly understood).

 

Now, with that said.... :)

 

I'm not a Christian, but only because of what the religion is commonly known as. If it were to ever reflect, what I feel to be, the true teachings of Jesus (inclusive), then I would consider re-labeling myself. (It won't happen in my lifetime I'm sure) :)

 

Here are a few to get you started. I find that other beliefs such as Buddhism, Universalism, Theosophy, and Religious Science honor Jesus as he should be more than the Christians claim to today. There's a passage about that somewhere in the bible! :HaHa:

 

Anyway, here you go:

 

Byzantine Christianity: http://members.aol.com/theloego/byzantine/page2.html

Gnostic Christianity: http://www.thepearl.org/What_is_Gnosticism.htm

Esoteric Christianity: http://www.hermes-press.com/Perennial_Trad...hristianity.htm

Mystic Christianity: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta44.htm

And one with a little New Age flare: Jena http://www.jena.org/about.asp

 

I wouldn't worry too much about picking out what is good and what is not. Your own sense of right and wrong will probably work. You don't have to believe all of it in order to understand the messages.

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Well, I'm opposed to all forms of murder or injury. Those who claim to know God and those who claim there is no God should still be able to be friendly with each other. As I said in a previous post, however, religion (politics, too) is like alcohol, and some people abuse it and harm others in the process.

 

I don't think God will murder anyone. We all die. Some will be allowed to remain deceased due to their inability to enjoy peace and enjoy a world in which no one is hungry, suffering, sick, dying, and where the love of power and money and war are things of the past. They will be allowed to remain in the grave. Those who want to live in a world governed by love will be present, whatever their religion in this life.

 

Or so it seems to me.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

 

So because someone can't enjoy peace, they deserve to be completely and utterly destroyed? That sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Why not just let everyone live? Why single out some people because of their supposed inability to enjoy peace? Do you realize how unjust that sounds? It's just as unjust as torturing people for all of eternity. IMHO, singling out a few people for eternal life and letting everyone else remain dead is the same as murder because god could have let them live, but he chose not to for a reason that is completely arbitrary. It is no better than the fundy version of god arbitrarily torturing people because they don't meet his standards of perfection.

 

Also, what do you think happens to atheists? Ex-Christians? Homosexuals? Do they deserve to be destroyed too?

 

Do you see what I am getting at? Cherry picking does absolutely no good. Sure, you can do your best to have a fluffy bunny version of god, but the truth is, the bible does not support it. You are just hanging onto the Christian label as I was.

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Those who claim to know God and those who claim there is no God should still be able to be friendly with each other.

 

Here is the very crux of the dilema. Most, if not all Christians, I deal with and have known are NOT friendly with non-believers (many pretend to be but are not truly).

 

The people I work with are Catholics, Orthodox Greek and Assyrian Church of the East - they are ALL very aggressive to people who do not believe in "God."

 

Many of the Christians who come to my meditation sessions start out as very aggressive and hateful of non-believers.

 

The very problems we are having in Oz between the Christians and the Muslims now can, in my humble opinion, be attributed more to the inherent haterd of other beliefs held by the Christians. I have been in quite a number of meetings that degenerate into shouting matches simply because the Christians believe that the country is rightfully theirs and that they alone should decide what others follow and believe.

 

I am still in court over the use of public facilities that are shared by Christians - they insist that non-believers should not be allowed to use the same facilities. Talk about living in the dark ages.

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Right, Jun. I have met very few Christians who are friendly with non-believers, and those Christians I have met who are friendly are in sci-fi fandom, which tends to be open-minded anyway.

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Well, I'm opposed to all forms of murder or injury. Those who claim to know God and those who claim there is no God should still be able to be friendly with each other. As I said in a previous post, however, religion (politics, too) is like alcohol, and some people abuse it and harm others in the process.

 

I don't think God will murder anyone. We all die. Some will be allowed to remain deceased due to their inability to enjoy peace and enjoy a world in which no one is hungry, suffering, sick, dying, and where the love of power and money and war are things of the past. They will be allowed to remain in the grave. Those who want to live in a world governed by love will be present, whatever their religion in this life.

 

Or so it seems to me.

 

-currentchristian in massachusetts

 

So because someone can't enjoy peace, they deserve to be completely and utterly destroyed? That sounds pretty arbitrary to me. Why not just let everyone live? Why single out some people because of their supposed inability to enjoy peace? Do you realize how unjust that sounds? It's just as unjust as torturing people for all of eternity. IMHO, singling out a few people for eternal life and letting everyone else remain dead is the same as murder because god could have let them live, but he chose not to for a reason that is completely arbitrary. It is no better than the fundy version of god arbitrarily torturing people because they don't meet his standards of perfection.

 

Also, what do you think happens to atheists? Ex-Christians? Homosexuals? Do they deserve to be destroyed too?

 

Do you see what I am getting at? Cherry picking does absolutely no good. Sure, you can do your best to have a fluffy bunny version of god, but the truth is, the bible does not support it. You are just hanging onto the Christian label as I was.

 

I'm not sure I'm using the "quote" stuff right, so if there's a lot of extra stuff carried over, sorry. I'll have to figure it out.

 

One thing we often hear is that if there were a god, why didn't he stop Hitler? Why didn't he stop Stalin? Well, one day God will. Those who want to harm and destroy and kill and injure will not be allowed to eternally do so. They will have to be annihilated, left in the grave.

 

How can we blame God for not stopping evil and evil men, then blame God for stopping evil and evil men? Either way, God is blamed. Seems unfair to me.

 

I trust homosexuals who want to follow the way of love will be in the "world to come." Seeing I am homosexual, I sure hope so. I trust atheists will be there, too! After all, the world of religion is very confusing. So my hope is that after we leave this world, we are shown the truth. Those who will accept the truth, will be saved. Those who won't will have to be allowed to remain dead.

 

My hope is that all will be saved!

 

--currentchristian in massachusetts

 

Most, if not all Christians, I deal with and have known are NOT friendly with non-believers (many pretend to be but are not truly).

 

I don't doubt your testimony. That's too bad. But we have to remember that for some reason intolerance is part of human nature. Remember how intolerant atheist Joseph Stalin was of believers. Christians may be unfriendly, but for the most part they are not sending anyone to the gulag or the death champer. Look at the crimes of atheist communist China against not only believers in religion, but intellectuals, artists, professors, etc. Intolerance is a nasty part of the human condition; I hope we are working hard to overcome it.

 

As in my previous post, however, God cannot win this argument. Some say Jesus is namby-pamby because he called upon his followers to "turn the other cheek," "go the second mile," "return good for evil," etc. And those followers of Jesus who are aggressive are criticized for their aggressivness. Who can win when either way one behaves is deemed incorrect.

 

We all have light and darkness marbled in our natures. We should all -- atheists, agnostics, deists, theists -- try to live in the light.

 

--currentchristian in massachusetts

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