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Bishop Spong On Evolution


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Most Christians who accept evolution will argue that there is no conflict between theism and evolution but Bishop Spong has a different view on it in this article: http://www.tcpc.org/library/article.cfm?library_id=656

Armed with this information I now faced the fact that the work of Charles Darwin had rendered the basic tenets of traditional religion so suspect that if I were to speak of life after death with any credibility I would have to find a new starting place, perhaps outside of or beyond religion itself. I could no longer employ any concept of God that had reigned in religious circles since the birth of religion.

 

The first flash point in the conflict between Darwin and Christianity was centered on the authority of scripture. Evolution did not jibe in any detail with the biblical story of creation. The time line in the Bible was quite different from the time line that Darwin was utilizing. This was so even though Darwin was not yet aware of the actual age of the Earth at 4.7 billion years or the age of life at 3.8 billion years. Second, the Bible attributed the varieties of species to the divine initiative; Darwin to natural selection. Third, the Bible saw human life as a special creation, not related to anything else, while Darwin saw it as evolving out of other forms of life.

 

We live today in the midst of this transition. Those who cannot see the problem and who seem to think that all one has to do is to recite the old formulas loudly and they will be believable have become the fundamentalists. They come in both a Catholic and a Protestant form. Those who do see the problem are now convinced that religion is dying or has already died. They become the secularists who get on with the task of living creatively in a godless world. Most of them have been drawn from the "main line" churches, which are all in a statistical freefall.

 

Darwin removed God from the day-to-day workings of our world. He redefined human life biologically as one species of the animal kingdom, finite creatures destined for a fate no different from the sheep of New Zealand or the iguanas of the Galapagos. If that proved to be an accurate definition then traditional religion with its theistic concept of God could not survive. No artificial respiration will resuscitate a concept that is not in touch with established knowledge. Either we have reached the end of religion as a human enterprise or we have to find a new way to approach both human life and whatever we mean by transcendence

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Darwin's discovery changes so many assumptions man has held for centuries.

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That was really excellent Neon. People who don't see a problem with evolution/Christianity have their heads in the sand. A fundamentalist saying its wrong doesn't make it wrong.

 

It was after I understood this problem that I left the Baptist Church because they insisted on shoving creationism on me.

 

Incidentally, Spong will be speaking in the Chicago area in April, 2010. If I were not so far away, I would attend:

 

http://www.healingourreligiouswounds.org/

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Most Christians who accept evolution will argue that there is no conflict between theism and evolution but Bishop Spong has a different view on it in this article: http://www.tcpc.org/library/article.cfm?library_id=656

 

Darwin removed God from the day-to-day workings of our world. He redefined human life biologically as one species of the animal kingdom, finite creatures destined for a fate no different from the sheep of New Zealand or the iguanas of the Galapagos. If that proved to be an accurate definition then traditional religion with its theistic concept of God could not survive. No artificial respiration will resuscitate a concept that is not in touch with established knowledge. Either we have reached the end of religion as a human enterprise or we have to find a new way to approach both human life and whatever we mean by transcendence

I have read this from another surprising source. One of the authors of the wedge document admitted as much (I've got the quote at home).

 

Ultimately, if Darwin is right (and he is), there is no salvation, and no meaning to anything in the bible from beginning to end. There is really no way to reconcile Judeo-Christianity and Evolution.

 

Of course, I won't be telling that to too many Christians. The truth will perhaps hit them, and it is more important that they understand the basics of evolution than the relationship of evolution to religion.

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Most Christians who accept evolution will argue that there is no conflict between theism and evolution but Bishop Spong has a different view on it in this article: http://www.tcpc.org/library/article.cfm?library_id=656

 

Darwin removed God from the day-to-day workings of our world. He redefined human life biologically as one species of the animal kingdom, finite creatures destined for a fate no different from the sheep of New Zealand or the iguanas of the Galapagos. If that proved to be an accurate definition then traditional religion with its theistic concept of God could not survive. No artificial respiration will resuscitate a concept that is not in touch with established knowledge. Either we have reached the end of religion as a human enterprise or we have to find a new way to approach both human life and whatever we mean by transcendence

I have read this from another surprising source. One of the authors of the wedge document admitted as much (I've got the quote at home).

 

Ultimately, if Darwin is right (and he is), there is no salvation, and no meaning to anything in the bible from beginning to end. There is really no way to reconcile Judeo-Christianity and Evolution.

 

Of course, I won't be telling that to too many Christians. The truth will perhaps hit them, and it is more important that they understand the basics of evolution than the relationship of evolution to religion.

 

 

I think there is an important distinction to point out here: theoretically Evolution does not necessarily have to represent a threat to Christianity because Christianity is already a multiple out anyway. So for example, many liberal Christians have argued that Evolution poses no threat to their belief system because perhaps "God rolls dice" etc.. However, what you and others are referring to is the very real practical threat that Evolution poses and continues to pose towards Christianity; in essence it's like a wrecking ball that is absolutely demolishing Fundamentalism and forcing them into a position entailing severe cognitive dissonance. Of course the Fundies try to avoid this by controlling their childrens' exposure to science and information in general with an Iron Fist, but that is so their children don't have to suffer as much cognitive dissonance as they did. The curious after effect of this strategy is that they distance themselves from society as a family unit in order to maintain this strict control-and the internet is a very grave threat to this control might I add- thus dooming their kids to a very very tough life where they struggle immensely to make sense out of the real world, should they ever escape. Hopefully this practical effect of Evolution continues and the only people left will be the liberals who can all safely be ignored (in the area of evolution) for the reasons of logic that I just indirectly mentioned; multiple outs are non-falsifiable entities and as such can never be truly disproven as there will always be another excuse or "out".

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I have read this from another surprising source. One of the authors of the wedge document admitted as much (I've got the quote at home).

 

Here's the quote:

 

Phillip E. Johnson of the Discovery Institute, which authored the Wedge Theory and supports the teaching of Intelligent Design in place of Darwinian Evolution theory, states his concerns with evolution in the following quote:

 

"To talk of a purposeful or guided evolution is not to talk about evolution at all. That is slow creation. When you understand it that way, you realize that the Darwinian theory of evolution contradicts not just the Book of Genesis, but every word in the Bible from beginning to end. It contradicts the idea that we are here because a creator brought about our existence for a purpose. That is the first thing I realized, and it carries tremendous meaning."
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Guest marabod
work of Charles Darwin had rendered the basic tenets of traditional religion so suspect that if I were to speak of life after death with any credibility I would have to find a new starting place, perhaps outside of or beyond religion itself. I could no longer employ any concept of God that had reigned in religious circles since the birth of religion.

 

I have a suggestion for Bishop Spong of how to find the way out. If he likes to stress religious values, he simply needs to establish a new religion, which would be free from various suspicious old scriptures, written by the people of Bronze Age. It is enough for him to visit some Pentecostals or Southern Baptists, and preach to them that Charles Darwin has destroyed Christianity; after this they would promptly crucify him and in a year or so enlightened Spongism would start taking over the world! Of course some early Spongians would be intermediately sawed in halves, burnt or thrown to the lions, but the effort is worse the costs.

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I have a suggestion for Bishop Spong of how to find the way out. If he likes to stress religious values, he simply needs to establish a new religion, which would be free from various suspicious old scriptures, written by the people of Bronze Age. It is enough for him to visit some Pentecostals or Southern Baptists, and preach to them that Charles Darwin has destroyed Christianity; after this they would promptly crucify him and in a year or so enlightened Spongism would start taking over the world! Of course some early Spongians would be intermediately sawed in halves, burnt or thrown to the lions, but the effort is worse the costs.

Actually, I was thinking that about Christianity. Jesus was "asking for it." And, if crucifixion hadn't occurred, that would have been the end of the religion.

 

Jesus was on a suicide mission for God.

 

I wonder what he did with the 72 virgins?

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I have a suggestion for Bishop Spong of how to find the way out. If he likes to stress religious values, he simply needs to establish a new religion, which would be free from various suspicious old scriptures, written by the people of Bronze Age.

Bishop Spong actually has a book about this but I don't know if it's exactly what you're thinking of as I haven't read it yet and he actually has been nearly shot at by fundamentalists and receives numerous death threats: http://www.amazon.com/New-Christianity-World-Traditional-Faith/dp/0060670630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254408840&sr=1-1
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I have a suggestion for Bishop Spong of how to find the way out. If he likes to stress religious values, he simply needs to establish a new religion, which would be free from various suspicious old scriptures, written by the people of Bronze Age.

Bishop Spong actually has a book about this but I don't know if it's exactly what you're thinking of as I haven't read it yet and he actually has been nearly shot at by fundamentalists and receives numerous death threats: http://www.amazon.com/New-Christianity-World-Traditional-Faith/dp/0060670630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254408840&sr=1-1

 

:lol: I heard first time about him from the OP - but the quote was clearly suggesting we are dealing with a new prophet-in-the-making. We may be witnessing a historical moment!

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I can agree with this much of what he said:

 

We did not need to be redeemed, we needed to be called and empowered to become more deeply and fully human.

 

However,

 

No, I am not prepared to reject Christianity, but I am prepared to rethink its meaning in a radical way, so radical that traditional Christians may feel that all that they once believed was holy is now being taken away from them.

 

I seriously doubt he can rethink any of it, unless he is prepared to admit it is all a myth and there is no truth to it. It is all just a new spin on old motifs and nothing more.

 

As for a new religion, he's already done that. It's called Non-realism. The problem with that is, they are attributing things to a deity that are part of the human condition and not a deity at all. They may realize this, but they don't want to let go of an idea of a god concept. The very things Spong accuses others of and one of the things he and I had a dispute about, in which he never answered me, he is doing himself. He accuses others of needing a security blanket, when he hasn't let go of his security blanket. He is trying to find new ways to keep the idea of a deity- thus hang on to the idea that a deity exists. He says people haven't grown up, well what is he doing by trying so hard to hang on to the idea of a god and change Xianity so he can keep up with modern times? Oh he's trying to grow up, but he doesn't want to let go of the impossibility of a deity, so he choses to rearrange and remodel the furniture. It can't be done, IMHO.

 

Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the man and I would never attempt to disabuse him of his god concept, but I don't agree with him completely. At one time I did, but not anymore. This is not to say I disagree with him on everything. His more humanistic views I agree with entirely. IMHO, humanism is the answer to the question, but that is me and not him. I am also not in my 70s, like he is. I can understand that leap could be much harder for him than it is for me.

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The very things Spong accuses others of and one of the things he and I had a dispute about, in which he never answered me, he is doing himself. He accuses others of needing a security blanket, when he hasn't let go of his security blanket. He is trying to find new ways to keep the idea of a deity- thus hang on to the idea that a deity exists. He says people haven't grown up, well what is he doing by trying so hard to hang on to the idea of a god and change Xianity so he can keep up with modern times? Oh he's trying to grow up, but he doesn't want to let go of the impossibility of a deity, so he choses to rearrange and remodel the furniture. It can't be done, IMHO.

 

I think Spong's idea of God though is more closer to that of what Dawkins calls "Einsteinan religion" or "sexed up atheism" than it is to the invisible sky fairy of fundamentalists. I guess it's like how there are cultural Jews who practice Jewish rituals and observe Jewish traditions but they don't believe in God and are more committed to Judaism as a way of life than they are a belief. From what I understand, Spong's newest book is basically saying there is no afterlife other than us living on in the memories of others, so I'm not sure how much of a security blanket Spong's god is if he doesn't believe in a literal afterlife.
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I have a suggestion for Bishop Spong of how to find the way out. If he likes to stress religious values, he simply needs to establish a new religion, which would be free from various suspicious old scriptures, written by the people of Bronze Age.

Bishop Spong actually has a book about this but I don't know if it's exactly what you're thinking of as I haven't read it yet and he actually has been nearly shot at by fundamentalists and receives numerous death threats: http://www.amazon.com/New-Christianity-World-Traditional-Faith/dp/0060670630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254408840&sr=1-1

 

:lol: I read that book. It killed any belief I had left. That book and "Why Christianity Must Change or Die". He wanted me to read his books, gave a list he suggested which would be best to answer all my questions I threw at him, so I read several and well... He regrets that he had killed any belief others may have had. Sometime after that I asked him, knowing that Christianity is seriously bankrupt, how can you believe any of it? Or something to that affect. Between him and my so-called friend, he gave me the better answer, which was no answer at all. I rather that than my so-called friend's anger and defensiveness. So, yeah... I've had a few falling outs with a few higher ups in the Episcopal Church. Remember, my so-called friend is a priest, who not only helped me become a licensed lay minister, but I worked beside her for a few years. I don't think I have anymore people left to confront in the Episcopal Church. Very few if I do and they are menial.

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The very things Spong accuses others of and one of the things he and I had a dispute about, in which he never answered me, he is doing himself. He accuses others of needing a security blanket, when he hasn't let go of his security blanket. He is trying to find new ways to keep the idea of a deity- thus hang on to the idea that a deity exists. He says people haven't grown up, well what is he doing by trying so hard to hang on to the idea of a god and change Xianity so he can keep up with modern times? Oh he's trying to grow up, but he doesn't want to let go of the impossibility of a deity, so he choses to rearrange and remodel the furniture. It can't be done, IMHO.

 

I think Spong's idea of God though is more closer to that of what Dawkins calls "Einsteinan religion" or "sexed up atheism" than it is to the invisible sky fairy of fundamentalists. I guess it's like how there are cultural Jews who practice Jewish rituals and observe Jewish traditions but they don't believe in God and are more committed to Judaism as a way of life than they are a belief. From what I understand, Spong's newest book is basically saying there is no afterlife other than us living on in the memories of others, so I'm not sure how much of a security blanket Spong's god is if he doesn't believe in a literal afterlife.

 

It is, I won't argue that, but I don't call it God. I call it neurology or numinous definition #3 in Webster. It is the aesthetic sense, but not a deity. I haven't read his two latest books- "Jesus for the Non-Religious" and whatever this last one is. Before our falling out, or I think it was a falling out since he did not reply back to me, he wanted me to read "Jesus for the Non-Religious". I wasn't interested in believing in a historical Jesus or Jesus at all. However, I have heard good reviews about it and from people how have absolutely no connection with him or any sort, except reading his book. So, I might "rethink" reading "Jesus for the Non-Religious", I have been considering it at least.

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I think his newest book will be his last book, at least that's one Amazon.com reviewer said. His newest book is Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

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I think his newest book will be his last book, at least that's one Amazon.com reviewer said. His newest book is Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

 

Ahhh - all goes in circles, so after all he read Nietzsche too, not the Bible only... I mean Beyond Good and Evil :lol:

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Jesus for the Non-Religious is good. I think I have that one anyway. I have Why Chritianity must Change or Die and I have another one also. I love the way he puts insights into the Bible that are just cold, drab sayings without the mystical understanding.

 

He isn't the only one though. There are several Christian mystics. It helped me actually pull some good from it and his books bring tears to my eyes with this new understanding. Is this what it was meant to be? I don't know, but mystics go back a long time. I would love to see Christianity change in this way.

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I think his newest book will be his last book, at least that's one Amazon.com reviewer said. His newest book is Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

 

Yes, that is what Spong himself said. I don't know if it really will be his last though.

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I think his newest book will be his last book, at least that's one Amazon.com reviewer said. His newest book is Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

 

Yes, that is what Spong himself said. I don't know if it really will be his last though.

I would hope for a post mortem book called, "What I wouldn't dare say while I was alive and a Bishop."

 

That would be a hoot.

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As for a new religion, he's already done that. It's called Non-realism. The problem with that is, they are attributing things to a deity that are part of the human condition and not a deity at all. They may realize this, but they don't want to let go of an idea of a god concept. The very things Spong accuses others of and one of the things he and I had a dispute about, in which he never answered me, he is doing himself. He accuses others of needing a security blanket, when he hasn't let go of his security blanket. He is trying to find new ways to keep the idea of a deity- thus hang on to the idea that a deity exists. He says people haven't grown up, well what is he doing by trying so hard to hang on to the idea of a god and change Xianity so he can keep up with modern times? Oh he's trying to grow up, but he doesn't want to let go of the impossibility of a deity, so he choses to rearrange and remodel the furniture. It can't be done, IMHO.

 

To be fair, I think most people in general desire a "security blanket" whether for religious or other reasons. People want to feel certain that their lover isn't cheating on them behind their back so they might turn their intimacy into a security blanket and act jealousy when they see them talking to someone of the opposite sex. Other people want to feel certain that their favorite political party is the right one so they turn to only one source that confirms their beliefs and gives them reassurance that they made the right choice and insult anyone with opposing views. Other people want to feel certain that there is no hell so they might adopt the "strong" atheist position to give them a sense of comfort and some have accused me of being a bigot and not a "true" atheist because I'm not an anti-theist (this is not to say that all strong atheists are only strong atheists because it's a security blanket; I'm just using this as an example because I've met some anti-theists at other sites who can be just as irrational as fundies). I don't think it's wrong in itself to have "security blankets." I think it only becomes problematic when people start requiring everyone else to have the assurance they have and reacting dangerously when you criticize their assurance for its faults.
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I actually feel pity parting with Jesus - such a cute and kind fella! I was recently explained by a large group of holy people that he died not for the sins of his followers, but for everyone's sins, means mine are included... And as soon as I got used to feel myself sinless - here we are! - some Spong comes and insists that Nietzsche was right and the God is dead...

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To be fair, I think most people in general desire a "security blanket" whether for religious or other reasons. People want to feel certain that their lover isn't cheating on them behind their back so they might turn their intimacy into a security blanket and act jealousy when they see them talking to someone of the opposite sex. Other people want to feel certain that their favorite political party is the right one so they turn to only one source that confirms their beliefs and gives them reassurance that they made the right choice and insult anyone with opposing views. Other people want to feel certain that there is no hell so they might adopt the "strong" atheist position to give them a sense of comfort and some have accused me of being a bigot and not a "true" atheist because I'm not an anti-theist (this is not to say that all strong atheists are only strong atheists because it's a security blanket; I'm just using this as an example because I've met some anti-theists at other sites who can be just as irrational as fundies). I don't think it's wrong in itself to have "security blankets." I think it only becomes problematic when people start requiring everyone else to have the assurance they have and reacting dangerously when you criticize their assurance for its faults.

 

Well, yes, I guess you are right. As an only child and single woman, I sort of rely on at least one of my grown sons (18 and 20) when I need a little help with something, more so than other mothers. They don't get along with each other and I keep telling them that one day they will be glad they have each other, esp when I die. Then I tell them, when my mother dies, I'm it and will have to handle much of it (all the stuff that comes with a parent's death) by myself, because I have no siblings to rely on when that happens. I appreciate their help when I need it though and it gives me peace of mind to know that I can rely on at least one of them to help me when I need some help. So, yes, in a way, I guess we all have our security blankets, for me it's knowing I have someone around to ask for help when I need it. I only hope they resolve some of the issues they have between them, some rightly so, because one day they are going to need each other.

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Sometime after that I asked him, knowing that Christianity is seriously bankrupt, how can you believe any of it? Or something to that affect. Between him and my so-called friend, he gave me the better answer, which was no answer at all. I rather that than my so-called friend's anger and defensiveness.

There was a video of a lecture Spong gave on youtube called "The Terrible Texts Of The Bible" and one lady in the audience asked Spong this question at the end in a question and answers session. She asked him if the bible had so much immoral scriptures in it, why should we still cling to it today? Spong's answer to her was that while the bible had many immoral texts in the scriptures, that he saw the scriptures as having a morality that evolves and changes with the times and in his mind, the timeless scriptures and traditions of Christianity still had enough meaning to him to outweigh the negative scriptures. Here's a link to the video. The point where this question is asked takes place near the end of the video once they start the questions and answers:

 

So, yes, in a way, I guess we all have our security blankets, for me it's knowing I have someone around to ask for help when I need it.
People often compare Christianity to a crutch, so the way I see it is, if you had broke your leg and had to use a crutch, you wouldn't just kick the crutch out of a person who was still healing from their broken leg. You would give the leg time to heal and then they'd go into rehab to learn how to walk properly on their own again until they can reach a point where they can walk without using a crutch or a cane but kicking the crutch out of them is not recommend because it might make it worse. The way I see it is that liberal Christianity is like the rehab stage where humanity is learning how to walk on their own again.
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Yes, I've seen that one before. It's a good one and his humour shines in it.

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People often compare Christianity to a crutch, so the way I see it is, if you had broke your leg and had to use a crutch, you wouldn't just kick the crutch out of a person who was still healing from their broken leg. You would give the leg time to heal and then they'd go into rehab to learn how to walk properly on their own again until they can reach a point where they can walk without using a crutch or a cane but kicking the crutch out of them is not recommend because it might make it worse. The way I see it is that liberal Christianity is like the rehab stage where humanity is learning how to walk on their own again.

 

Great wording, Neon! And you are also completely correct saying this crutch is a useful and understandable thing - but only in regards to liberal Christianity. Mind you, it was also wild, and was burning us alive - but with time it was domesticated to a degree when we can respect and tolerate it.

 

But what would relate to a group of lame grubs, coming to your door and insisting you and your children MUST also walk with a crutch? And you feel that if you openly refuse, they would be praying to have chance to burn you alive?

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