“Think Different – Accept Uncertainty” Part IX: What is the Human Reality Our Ancestors Called Original Sin?
26 April 2012: 4 Comments »
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be alive? Why are we constituted the way we are? What was there and what is there about our humanity that caused our ancestors to develop a mythological understanding of human life, portraying it as fallen and infected with what they called “original …
Question & Answer
I would guess that this letter could be, or has been, duplicated in its essence by many who have written to you. Recently, I began reading The Sins of Scripture, having asked those same questions, without receiving authoritative answers, for over 50 years. Not once, in all that time, have I ever found a church person, deacon, minister or other who has ever understood why I was asking curly questions. Year after year, first in the UK for 32 years and then in New Zealand, I have hoped to find someone who will give me straight answers, explain the inconsistencies - and not let God cop out of the bad stuff. Finally, I have found someone who thinks like me, but is wise enough not just to have the questions, but the answers as well. You have changed my Christian life from one who has dragged along under the cloud of “Ah well, I suppose there are some things we’re not meant to understand, I’ll just keep plodding along” to “Halleluia, the sun has come out and NOW I know where I’m going.” Please accept my deepest thanks for your unbelievable courage in daring to speak the truth. It can’t have been easy and I am sure you will have many critics and even enemies but if those blind would only see, they would realize that you are their kindest friend. I am wholly and sincerely grateful to have found God again in a guise I can relate to and serve.
Letters like yours make my life worthwhile and I thank you for it.
Religion is a funny subject for many people to discuss. There is so much fear related to the discussion; so deep a sense that the speaker must be right, so unwilling to raise questions that cannot be answered and so eager to impose one’s beliefs upon another that rational discussion is frequently impossible.
It helps me to remember that God is beyond any religious system. That the ultimate truth is that God can never be captured in the Bible or described in the creeds. Both the Bible and the creeds are human creations and both reflect the inadequacies of the all too human mind.
We have been to New Zealand a number of times and know much of the New Zealand religious landscape. Underneath the pious assumptions of some bishops, there is a yearning for truth on the part of many people. I hope you can connect with some of them.
~John Shelby Spong
Read what Bishop Spong has to say about A Joyful Path Progressive Christian Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds: "The great need in the Christian church is for a Sunday school curriculum for children that does not equate faith with having a pre-modern mind. The Center for Progressive Christianity has produced just that. Teachers can now teach children in Sunday school without crossing their fingers. I endorse it wholeheartedly."
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