Friday, July 06, 2007

An example of how a moderate Christian can help

Like many other atheists, I consider many moderate Christians as part of the problem, since they are too respectful of fundamentalist beliefs. Now, I see that there is one moderate Christian who is writing a book addressing the very problems with fundamentalist belief.

Jesus for the Non-Religious

This is not, as the title suggests, a theological riposte to the hugely popular God-denying books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Rather, as Spong, a retired bishop, explains in the prologue, it tries to answer the 21st-century questions: "Is it possible, Jesus, that we Christians are the villains who killed you? Smothered you underneath literal Bibles, dated creeds, irrelevant doctrines and dying structures?"

This book embraces modern science and all the controversial contemporary theological history and tries to reach beyond that and discover a Jesus that is "the source of life, the source of love, the ground of being, a doorway into the mystery of holiness".

Of course, any book that has as its goal to "discover" Jesus doesn't embrace modern science, but the book goes against the concept of an inerrant Bible, which is a major roadblock to teaching proper science.

The author also seems to address the problems with the New Testament accounts of Jesus' life, and make clear that they are impossible, and certainly shouldn't be understod literately. That of course leads me to wonder what keeps the author to believe in a divine God and his son? (a check of his wikipedia entry indicates that he doesn't believe in a divine son of God)

Anyway, I welcome the voices of more moderate Christians who speak out against fundamentalism, and reject giving crazy ideas any undeserved respect. Something we see all too rarely. The author of the book, John Shelby Spong seems to have been at it for a while though, with noticable less success at changing the US debate than the current bunch of atheist books. Maybe his time has come, now that the public discurse has changed in the US?

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Blogger Anonymous said...

I think things are changing in general. There are a lot of good signs in the zeitgeist that make me feel more optimistic about my country's future. Certainly more so than anytime in the past 6 years.

July 07, 2007 6:38 AM  

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