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Source: (consider it) Thread: Spectrum of conevo to radical
Mark Wuntoo
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The following was drafted before I found the 'Deconstruction' thread. I think it raises similar but distinct issues.

An email exchange went like this:

Me: “I no longer believe…”
Friend: “ I sensed many years ago that you were headed in that direction…”.

My friend, when last I interacted with him many, many years ago, was a conservative evangelical. I presume he still is.
I have only been a non-theist for about 15 years and I never doubted the existence of GOD until that point.

So I suspect that what my friend ‘sensed’ was my pilgrimage from conservative evangelicalism to liberalism and on towards a more radical faith and that he interpreted this as something other than a development in my thinking.

This set me thinking and I would like to put this question to shipmates: is it inevitable that a person who sets out as a conservative evangelical and moves gradually to a radical faith will eventually give up altogether on the concept of God?

I suppose the answer must be ‘No’ but I would be interested to hear the views of those who have trodden the path from conservative evangelicalism to liberal / radical faith and have or have not given up belief in GOD.

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Zoey

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My situation is that I could no longer accept conevo theoloy, specifically a hell involving eternal conscious suffering, because this does not fit with the concepts of justice or love as I understand them, which then makes conevo theology which claims God to be just and loving logically inconsistent.

But the idea of God has never gone away. I have never had any period in my life during which I have been an atheist and cannot imagine ever being so in future. At my furthest removed from Christian practice, I have been highly agnostic and ignoring matters of faith and religion because they make my head hurt. But then the sense of God being somehow around returns and, given that Christianity is the faith in which I've been raised to relate to God, and I've never been presented with a persuasive reason to think any other faith or religion would serve me better in this regard, a non-evangelical form of Christianity is where I end up at.

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Enoch
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Mark Wuntoo, I'm sure the answer is 'No'. It's an easy assumption to make that everyone else's journey will be the same as one's own. There's no philosophical or empirical justification for it.

A few extra questions I'd ask:-
First, you say your friend starts off as a 'conservative evangelical', and that you've moved from faith to no-faith. You're critically implying that he has fallen short by not making the same journey. But did you start off as a conservative evangelical, or only him?

Second, what is it that you're describing as 'conservative evangelical', because this means different things in different countries and denominations?

Thirds, you describe your journey as "my pilgrimage from conservative evangelicalism to liberalism and on towards a more radical faith". However, what you're describing as 'a radical faith', sounds more like 15 years of non-theism and having given up the concept of God. Is there a reason why you don't think it would be clearer thinking to describe that not as 'radical faith' but as 'no-faith'?

Fourth, are you sure it's about 'a concept of God'? What some of us who have made different journeys would say, is that the God we've journeyed with and found is different from whom we might have expected, isn't a concept.

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Mark Wuntoo
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Zoey, thanks.

Enoch: sorry if I was not clear. My friend and I both started as conservative evangelical (I actually don't think it matters too much how we define the various terms, the picture remains the same).
I moved from one end of the spectrum to the other before I became a non-theist. Becoming a non-theist did not seem to me to be a 'progression', it was something different, triggered by different circumstances (I think); although my adoption of non-theism may have been helped by the previous movement along the spectrum it was a separate thing.
I do not wish to be critical of my friend's probably conevo position, only in that I sense this position may assume certain things about my pilgrimage - i.e. that one thing inevitably leads to another leads to non-belief. I could be wrong but this seems to me to be the position of some of my old conevo friends.
Yes, the 15 years have been of non-faith; the radical bit was whilst I still was a Christian (this is the position of many of my newer friends).

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Arethosemyfeet
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I think the mistake here is viewing atheism and conservative evangelicalism as opposite ends of a spectrum and liberal Christianity as some sort of point in between; that going conservative->liberal->radical->atheist is just progression in the same direction. It's not. You can be a faithful believer with as great a commitment as a con evo while still thinking that PSA is awful theology and that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old.
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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I think the mistake here is viewing atheism and conservative evangelicalism as opposite ends of a spectrum and liberal Christianity as some sort of point in between; that going conservative->liberal->radical->atheist is just progression in the same direction. It's not. You can be a faithful believer with as great a commitment as a con evo while still thinking that PSA is awful theology and that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old.

Couldn't agree more. But I suspect others strongly disagree!

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Ricardus
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I thought it was a cliché that Prof Dawkins and fundamentalist Christians are mirror-images of each other ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:

I do not wish to be critical of my friend's probably conevo position, only in that I sense this position may assume certain things about my pilgrimage - i.e. that one thing inevitably leads to another leads to non-belief.

My impression is that the path from conevo to atheist or non-theist is fairly well-trodden by now, so it doesn't surprise me that some conevos recognise the signs in some vague sense. Of course everyone is different, so I suppose the tendency to generalise can be irritating.

With regards to liberal Christianity, the idea that it leads to atheism isn't confined to conevos. A number of historians have made the connection as well, although usually in connection with institutions rather than individuals. The issues aren't solely theological, but sociological.

But you could argue that Christianity in general is quite fragile under certain conditions.

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
A number of historians have made the connection as well, although usually in connection with institutions rather than individuals. The issues aren't solely theological, but sociological.

But you could argue that Christianity in general is quite fragile under certain conditions.

Yes, I subscribe to the theory of secularization, and of the development from sect to congregation to church theory (though I never really understood why the trend could not be bucked!). I hadn't applied it to individuals but I find that a very helpful idea to think about - thanks.

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Bishops Finger
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Zoey said:
quote:
My situation is that I could no longer accept conevo theology, specifically a hell involving eternal conscious suffering, because this does not fit with the concepts of justice or love as I understand them, which then makes conevo theology which claims God to be just and loving logically inconsistent.

But the idea of God has never gone away [....] and I've never been presented with a persuasive reason to think any other faith or religion would serve me better in this regard, [so] a non-evangelical form of Christianity is where I end up at.

Pretty much my own experience, FWIW.

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Second, what is it that you're describing as 'conservative evangelical', because this means different things in different countries and denominations?

FWIW, I’d never heard the terms “conevo” or “conservative evangelical” before the Ship. We talk about “conservatives” and about “evangelicals,” of course, but rarely if ever about “conservative evangelicals.” At least in a Protestant context over here, that would likely be seen as redundant, as “evangelical” suggests “conservative” (much to the dismay of some Evangelicals).

To be honest, I’ve never been quite sure what exactly Shipmates mean when they talk about “conevos” as opposed to simply “conservative” or “evangelical.”

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Arethosemyfeet
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I think the issue is that evangelicals include say, Steve Chalke and soon-to-be-Bishop Anne Dyer, neither of whom are particularly conservative. Likewise conservatives includes the likes of Bishop Philip North and Pope Emeritus Benedict, neither of whom can reasonably be called evangelicals. Consequently when one wishes to refer to the intersection of the two categories, which might contain, say, Bishop Rod Thomas, one needs to clarify that you mean both conservative AND evangelical. You can, of course, also have conservative Calvinists who wouldn't necessarily be evangelicals.

[ 04. February 2018, 19:50: Message edited by: Arethosemyfeet ]

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Mark Wuntoo
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There was a term doing the rounds at the time that I was moving away from a conservative evangelical position - 'radical evangelical'. It was a term I liked because it allowed me to keep a foot in the evangelical camp whilst seriously exploring societal and justice issues and rejecting stuff like creationism and a literal interpretation of The Bible.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
FWIW, I’d never heard the terms “conevo” or “conservative evangelical” before the Ship. We talk about “conservatives” and about “evangelicals,” of course, but rarely if ever about “conservative evangelicals.” At least in a Protestant context over here, that would likely be seen as redundant, as “evangelical” suggests “conservative” (much to the dismay of some Evangelicals).

To be honest, I’ve never been quite sure what exactly Shipmates mean when they talk about “conevos” as opposed to simply “conservative” or “evangelical.”

This will help - the differences between conservative, open and charismatic evangelicals.

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Forward the New Republic

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I think the issue is that evangelicals include say, Steve Chalke and soon-to-be-Bishop Anne Dyer, neither of whom are particularly conservative. Likewise conservatives includes the likes of Bishop Philip North and Pope Emeritus Benedict, neither of whom can reasonably be called evangelicals.

And see, on this side of the pond, Steve Chalke likely wouldn’t be called "evangelical," at least not by most Evangelicals or by the average non-Evangelical. He'd be called "liberal," which to most people excludes the possibility of being called "evangelical." As for Pope Emeritus Benedict, that's why I specified a Protestant context. Over here, one could likely say that not all conservative Christians are evangelical, but all Evangelicals are (assumed to be) conservative—again to the dismay of those Evangelicals who may not be so conservative.

One thing I constantly appreciate about the Ship is the chance to have the assumptions of my own context challenged and broadened by the realities of other contexts. Speaking of which, thank you Doc Tor!

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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SvitlanaV2
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One difference is that in the USA, liberal Christianity seems have a much stronger identity than in Britain. In spite (or because) of evangelical dominance, American liberal clergy and congregations seem quite committed to emphasising their distinctiveness.

By contrast, liberal Christian confidence has waned since the mid-20th c., and relatively few British mainstream congregations or ordinary churchgoers proclaim or advertise a deliberately 'liberal' identity (although some do).

Ironically, evangelicalism isn't even dominant in British Christianity (yet), but because it's a stronger 'brand' than the Protestant alternatives one can see why there'd be a reluctance for many liberal/emerging/post- etc., evangelicals to give the term up. It's not clear what they'd be getting in exchange.

AFAIUI, the conservative evangelical fraternity here isn't powerful enough to claim ownership of the term anyway, but I'm sure others will say that they try very hard.

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Barnabas62
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Doc Tor

That's an August 2003 link (unless there has been some editing update). It predates the Steve Chalke controversies.

I think Steve Chalke self-identifies as an Accepting evangelical (so do I). Regardless of what others may say about him.

Actually, Steve is a fascinating example of how folks from an evangelical background do not necessarily remain stuck with a particular outlook, but move on as they learn. His views on the atonement, gay marriage, and the inspiration of scripture have indeed made many folks in the evangelical community wonder if he is still "one of us". But they are well written, decently argued and thought provoking. I think by instinct he is a reformer, not a trouble maker.

And that's probably the most important thing to say. Where people are at any particular point on the conservative evangelical to radical spectrum is not necessarily fixed. I hope we can all live and learn.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Bax
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Stopping believing in GOD is a good thing. It is, arguably, essential in become a Christian, because all human beings start out with a concept of GOD that is false. That is to say, we all being life as idolaters, worshipping a false GOD.

Holy Scripture is the story of moving from Idolatry (worshipping something that is not god at all) to worshipping the one true God. The one true God we see revealed in the gospels is very different to most people’s idea of God: that would include most conservative Evangelicals (and a lot of believers from other traditions).

To take a biblical example, Abraham no longer believed in the GOD that ordered him to sacrifice Isaac when he came down from the mountain. He went up the mountain as a worshipper of an idol (a false god, demanding sacrifice) and came down the mountain as a believer in the true God. The entire Jewish nation was then born from the boy Isaac who would have been killed had this conversion not taken place. (Gen 22:1-19)

So, the fact that you no longer believe in the god you have heard about is not necessarily a bad thing. It is part of a journey.

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Mark Wuntoo
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Bax: 'journey' yes. But I think your argument falls down for those of us who believe there is (for us) no GOD.

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Nick Tamen

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Thanks for the link and additional info, Barnabas.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Doc Tor

That's an August 2003 link (unless there has been some editing update). It predates the Steve Chalke controversies.

I think Steve Chalke self-identifies as an Accepting evangelical (so do I). Regardless of what others may say about him.

Yes, it's an old link, but it does provide a primer to what the differences are between ConEvos and OtherEvos.

My own journey has been probably very similar to others: home parish church, then ConEvo student church, then realising that actually, the contradictions between conservative evangelical theology and being a decent human being are both real and an increasing strain on my credulity. Followed by rising levels of discontent and finally a decisive break.

At that point, I suppose it could have gone in one of several directions, but we pitched up at a soft-charismatic evangelical church (still a parish church) and have been there ever since.

Admittedly, my level of engagement at church is significantly less - I no longer put all my emotional/spiritual eggs in that one basket - through fear of getting burned again. But my engagement with, and understanding of, God through other mediums and activism, is greater.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
You can be a faithful believer with as great a commitment as a con evo while still thinking that PSA is awful theology and that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old.

and istm that at least in some conevo circles, the instance that you can only be a believer if you believe those last two things is equally recent - and owes much to the influence of American evangelicalism.
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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
You can be a faithful believer with as great a commitment as a con evo while still thinking that PSA is awful theology and that the earth is closer to 4.5 billion years old.

and istm that at least in some conevo circles, the instance that you can only be a believer if you believe those last two things is equally recent - and owes much to the influence of American evangelicalism.
chris stiles: How recent is recent? It was commonly around in my circles in the 1950's (and we thought it was 'orthodox' [Ultra confused] ).

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Bax:
Stopping believing in GOD is a good thing. It is, arguably, essential in become a Christian, because all human beings start out with a concept of GOD that is false. That is to say, we all being life as idolaters, worshipping a false GOD.

Well, I have to agree that stopping believing in god was definitely a good thing for me! No pilgrimage involved; just a logical conclusion arrived at after a long time during which I met many people with different experiences and some of whom were atheists. My belief finally just was not there any more.
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.
We do not begin life as idolators or worshippers, we begin life with not even a concept of the idea of any god or worship of it. All such concepts and beliefs are introduced by other people able to articulate their ideas.
quote:
Holy Scripture is the story of moving from Idolatry (worshipping something that is not god at all) to worshipping the one true God. The one true God we see revealed in the gospels is very different to most people’s idea of God: that would include most conservative Evangelicals (and a lot of believers from other traditions).
How would you define the ‘one true God’? An impossible question, I know, but I just mention it anyway!

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Barnabas62
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At least the Catholics have a catechism. I suspect, certainly in the UK, that self identifying evangelical churches have varying smorgasbords!

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Eutychus
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Don't tell anyone, but our church hasn't had a confession of faith of its own for the past 14 years of its latest incarnation.

[ 05. February 2018, 12:59: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.

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Forward the New Republic

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Don't tell anyone, but our church hasn't had a confession of faith of its own for the past 14 years of its latest incarnation.

But then how do you know which people to look down on and exclude? [Two face]
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
chris stiles: How recent is recent? It was commonly around in my circles in the 1950's (and we thought it was 'orthodox' [Ultra confused] ).

It seemed more acceptable as recently as 15-20 years ago, depending on the circles of course.

At about that time, I saw things becoming increasingly more militant at the fringes of such groups which were ostensibly open about such things - with the circulation of certain DVDs pushing such viewpoints and so on.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Don't tell anyone, but our church hasn't had a confession of faith of its own for the past 14 years of its latest incarnation.

But then how do you know which people to look down on and exclude? [Two face]
Dammit, my very reason for not having one has been rumbled (this is the exact truth).

[ETA to clarify: in all honesty I decided, following an insight from someone else, that exclusion is the only functional purpose of church confessions of faith]

[ 05. February 2018, 13:25: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.
Bit of a nuisandce, but I have to agree - there! [Smile] However, perhaps this is because the concept is entirely flexible?!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.
Susan's idea is therefore false! I don't think you can simply assert that all human ideas are false; but perhaps that they are reifications. Thus, I have various ideas about football (soccer), but they are false in a way, since they are not football. Same with God. See the Cloud of Unknowing for more on this. This line of enquiry can take you up a garden path, and drive you mad, since nothing is anything else, especially words and ideas.

Bringing objectivity into it messes with my mind. Surely (some) people have a personal experience of the numinous or 'that which is in everything'. Of course, you don't have to call it God.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Barnabas62
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@ Eutychus

Oh yes!

One of the truly excellent values of the Northumbria Community is that pilgrimage together is much more important that agreement. It avoids having policies re issues on which Christians disagree.

[ 05. February 2018, 13:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
@ Eutychus

Oh yes!

One of the truly excellent values of the Northumbria Community is that pilgrimage together is much more important that agreement. It avoids having policies re issues on which Christians disagree.

The problem with that is it leaves the victims of those disagreements unsure of being welcome.
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The problem with that is it leaves the victims of those disagreements unsure of being welcome.

There's an Asterix cartoon somewhere with Obelix complaining about a pub along the lines of "I knew a place called The Warm Welcome where..."

I don't think affirmations of welcome necessarily work either. What counts is a faith community being actually committed to being for all-comers, rather than that being what it says on the tin.

We very definitely have people with us because they would never make it past the door of anywhere else - but because of who we are, not because of any affirmations.

(As it happens, largely through an accident of history, our church has an unmistakeably inclusive name, and I frequently exhort our folk to embody it, but I don't think the name in and of itself has ever attracted anyone to my knowledge. Most people take one look at our frontage and conclude we are an Afro-Caribbean church...)

[ 05. February 2018, 13:54: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I think Steve Chalke self-identifies as an Accepting evangelical (so do I).

Actually, Steve is a fascinating example of how folks from an evangelical background do not necessarily remain stuck with a particular outlook, but move on as they learn. His views on the atonement, gay marriage, and the inspiration of scripture have indeed made many folks in the evangelical community wonder if he is still "one of us". But they are well written, decently argued and thought provoking. I think by instinct he is a reformer, not a trouble maker.

And that's probably the most important thing to say. Where people are at any particular point on the conservative evangelical to radical spectrum is not necessarily fixed. I hope we can all live and learn.

Steve Chalke is a radical and a reformer. I'm not entirely convinced that he is wholly innocent of stirring the pot, simply as a wind up.

He can call himself what he likes but surely true identification comes from the affirmation and acceptance of (broadly) fellow travellers. Most evangelicals (in the traditional definition) would not own the "accepting" label - indeed, it would be considered an oxymoron especially when "accepting" has been designed to refer to matters of human sexuality.

With his 95 You Tubes Chalke would probably be welcomed as a fellow traveller by 19C liberalism.

For most evangelicals these days, it is not a question of the specific issue, more the understanding of how we approach it biblically. That's why, for Baptists in particular, the situation is pretty concerning: given the statement of principle in reference to the scriptures, the question is not what holds us together but on what grounds do we stop associating? Many of the larger Baptist churches have dipped out of formal BUGB involvement for that reason.

IMHO Steve Chalke has now pushed it beyond that rubicon.

[ 05. February 2018, 14:26: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.
Motivation to war, motivation to slaughter the innocent, motivation to rape the heathens. Those motivations? If religion is the motive for the good actions, it is the motive for the bad as well. It this what you are saying?
Susan's logic is flawed as it is an assumption framed as an argument. Yours is flawed for the same reason.

ETA: The flawed logic is the assumption that because religion has endured means that it is true.
The motivation thing is a separate flaw.

[ 05. February 2018, 15:23: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.
Motivation to war, motivation to slaughter the innocent, motivation to rape the heathens. Those motivations? If religion is the motive for the good actions, it is the motive for the bad as well. It this what you are saying?
Susan's logic is flawed as it is an assumption framed as an argument. Yours is flawed for the same reason.

ETA: The flawed logic is the assumption that because religion has endured means that it is true.
The motivation thing is a separate flaw.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Also, my logic is not at all flawed. My statement makes no assumption as to whether or not God exists. Merely that the concept of God has existed throughout time and space, and still endures. Which is, I think, indisputable.

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Forward the New Republic

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Any ‘concept’ of God is a human idea, so must be false. There is of course no objective God with which to compare one’s concept.

Despite this, the concept of god/s is ubiquitous throughout history and across the world. It's survived literally everything, and remains (possibly) the single greatest motivation to action.
Motivation to war, motivation to slaughter the innocent, motivation to rape the heathens. Those motivations? If religion is the motive for the good actions, it is the motive for the bad as well. It this what you are saying?
Susan's logic is flawed as it is an assumption framed as an argument. Yours is flawed for the same reason.

ETA: The flawed logic is the assumption that because religion has endured means that it is true.
The motivation thing is a separate flaw.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Fair enough.
quote:

Also, my logic is not at all flawed. My statement makes no assumption as to whether or not God exists. Merely that the concept of God has existed throughout time and space, and still endures. Which is, I think, indisputable.

Actually, it is disputable. The concept of God, as far as we know, has existed through a portion of human existence. Beyond that is speculation.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Actually, it is disputable. The concept of God, as far as we know, has existed through a portion of human existence. Beyond that is speculation.

Well, if we're going by intentional grave goods, that portion goes back 300,000 years. Otherwise, more certain evidence dates back to 50,000 BCE. Either of which means you're really clutching at straws on this point.

There is no evidence for Stone Age man being a conservative evangelical.
.
.
.
.
.
The converse may be true, however.

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Forward the New Republic

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Either of which means you're really clutching at straws on this point.

Not sure what straws I'm clutching. I'm just saying we have no evidence that the concept of god exists outside of humans. How much actual time of human existence that entails is irrelevant, just saying that it likely isn't all of it.
quote:

There is no evidence for Stone Age man being a conservative evangelical.
.
.
.
.
.
The converse may be true, however.

heh

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gramps49
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Mark Wuntoo

I started from a very conservative theological background and, as I have said elsewhere have moved to a more liberal, if not radical, faith.

As I look at what you initially wrote I wonder if you approached faith from the wrong way. Evangelicals, for instance, insist on the six-day creation. You and I both know that is not factual scientifically. But for me, it still contains the truth that God was involved in the whole of creation, and God saw everything as tov--which means very good.

The problem with evangelicals is the insistence on the literal interpretation of the Bible. I sort of grew up with that as well. The problem is there is very little of the Bible that can be proven. When I have struggled with my faith is when I insist what the Bible says happened the way it happened.

But, frankly, I think even atheists also insist that the Bible be taken literally that way they can work to disprove it.

What I finally realized was I was approaching the Bible the wrong way. When I insist that the six-day creation is factual the Bible becomes like a line of dominoes. When one domino falls, all the other dominoes fall.

I came to realize the best way to approach the Bible is through the prism of the resurrection--not that I can prove it either. By looking at Scripture through the prism of the resurrection, I have come to realize while the Biblical stories may not be literally factual they still contain truths that are timeless.

Yes, I can say I have a radical faith but I do not think it leads to unbelief. Yes, I struggle with doubts, by the enemy of faith is not doubt but certitude. To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)

At the point where I am, I love dancing on the edge. I can argue that David and Jonathan of the OT had a same-sex relationship. I can question most of the stories of the Gospels but in every story, the author is trying to make a point. I actually, think the man called Legion in Mark is also the man that told the women Jesus was no longer in the tomb--in fact, I think it might be the author of Mark himself. I will even argue the writer of what we know as the Gospel of John is the woman Mary of Magdala,

[ 06. February 2018, 01:11: Message edited by: Gramps49 ]

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mr cheesy
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I think there are a couple of things here.

First, many Conservative Evangelicals have a difficult time dealing with doubts. Second, often ConEv theology is very much about ticking the "correct" theological boxes (defined in various ways).

So I don't think anything is inevitable, however it does seem to be a regular pattern that ConEvs start questioning the top-layer of the house-of-cards of their faith and continue until the whole structure has gone.

Other forms of Christianity seem to be able to deal with doubters better, and the difference between those who are "in" verses "out" seems less pronounced - so maybe those who might be otherwise on a non-theist path are more accommodated and lack the ex-evangelical fire to work out their faith, and perhaps are less bothered about what they believe.

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Mark Wuntoo
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Gramps: I think our pilgrimages may be similar (up to the point, for me, of unbelief).
It seems to me that my difficulty in having a GOD is one of intellect v faith. Creationism went out of the window because of intellect. Frequently I was faced with Bible issues / statements that did not make sense to me. To have faith that these things were true seemed a rather ridiculous response.
I also like dancing on the edge!
I may come back later. But I’d like to state (not wishing to offend anyone) that at the point that I eventually abandoned any belief that there is a GOD, I was ‘surprised by joy’. This, of course, says a lot about the engineering of guilt in my evangelical days. But I will stick with joy, thanks a lot. [Yipee]

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
<snip> Evangelicals, for instance, insist on the six-day creation. <snip> The problem with evangelicals is the insistence on the literal interpretation of the Bible. <snip>

I just wanted to pick up in this. 30 years ago, I studied at an institution which was a beacon of non-denominational conservative evangelical scholarship in the UK. Certainly there were some students who were six-Day creationists, though I think they were a minority. The same was true for literal inerrantists. The Bible had a central place in its studies, but there was a strong emphasis that honouring the Bible in study meant taking seriously the nature of the text, and reading it for what it actually was, and not as if it were a different kind of text altogether. We were encouraged to try to use the Bible as a touchstone for our faith and practice, and not simply to reject something “because evangelicals don’t do that” or because “that’s what Catholics do”.

It was quite a culture shock to come from that into the conservative evangelical sub-culture within the Church of England, where there was a strong sense that there were things which were done or not done, not because of any evaluation of the practices themselves, but because they were party markers of being true members of that sub-group.

One of the most dispiriting things to me about the change I observe over the last three decades is the increasing sense of the dominant voice saying you can only be a true evangelical if you are against women leading churches, believe in literal biblical inerrancy (and therefore a six-day creation) etc. etc. And worse still that any attempt to discuss or critique these issues is a sign of creeping liberalism and falling away. Unfortunately, in my experience, the very flat and shallow reading of the biblical texts which underlie this approach are also present in those of a much more liberal persuasion. But instead of saying that the texts must be accepted as a matter of faith, the mantra tends to be that they must be rejected as a matter of common sense or humanity.

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Mark Wuntoo
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BroJames: I also studied at "an institution which was a beacon of non-denominational conservative evangelical scholarship in the UK" although 30 years before you. We lived in a Victorian building and, looking back, the theology seems Victorian, too! I don't recall that we were encouraged to think outside the box.
mrcheesy: I agree. The 'pack of cards' is a good illustration of my pilgrimage - again, it's faith v intellect.

Today (and I suspect tomorrow) I would say it's 'too late' for me; GOD is gone, I recognise that there is value in people gathering together, I try not to be critical (that's why I am a non-theist and not an atheist), I am happier, Christianity can cope without my involvement and the real world continues with my involvement. And The Ship is a good place in which to travel!

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:


One of the most dispiriting things to me about the change I observe over the last three decades is the increasing sense of the dominant voice saying you can only be a true evangelical if you are against women leading churches, believe in literal biblical inerrancy (and therefore a six-day creation) etc. etc. And worse still that any attempt to discuss or critique these issues is a sign of creeping liberalism and falling away. Unfortunately, in my experience, the very flat and shallow reading of the biblical texts which underlie this approach are also present in those of a much more liberal persuasion. But instead of saying that the texts must be accepted as a matter of faith, the mantra tends to be that they must be rejected as a matter of common sense or humanity.

Mm. Well these "markers" of (self-defined) "true" Evangelicalism have been around for a lot longer than 30 years, albeit possibly not as a major force in the CofE.

That said, I still don't really believe that this kind of Evangelical is a particularly strong or influential voice in the CofE. To me it looks to be a smaller constituency than the New Wine and HTB tendency - and I don't think either is particularly against women leadership (for example).

But the Anglican mess is a particularly messy mess, not helped by being the frontline of the battle between different kinds of Evangelical and between Evangelicals and others.

As far as I can see, the battlelines are even starker outside of the CofE. That said, those who are against women leaders and for 6-day creationism are in a small but loud minority IMO.

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arse

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:

It was quite a culture shock to come from that into the conservative evangelical sub-culture within the Church of England, where there was a strong sense that there were things which were done or not done, not because of any evaluation of the practices themselves, but because they were party markers of being true members of that sub-group.

One of the most dispiriting things to me about the change I observe over the last three decades is the increasing sense of the dominant voice saying you can only be a true evangelical if you are against women leading churches, believe in literal biblical inerrancy (and therefore a six-day creation) etc. etc.

Just wanted to echo this as this was much my experience too - albeit it was somewhat more recent and I was moving from baptist/conservative Pentecostalism to conevo CofEism (which at the time was much more accepting on variance on the questions of creationism et al than the scene I was coming from).
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Evangelicals, for instance, insist on the six-day creation.

Some do and some don't.

It is a meaningless generalisation.

It is one of the countless issues over which evangelicals differ.

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Evangelicals, for instance, insist on the six-day creation.

Some do and some don't.

It is a meaningless generalisation.

It is one of the countless issues over which evangelicals differ.

Yeah, well. You're not a true evangelical if you don't believe in 6-day creationism, [Devil] you are a liberal [Mad] and if you once believed it but now don't you are a backslider. [Ultra confused]
Aren't these terms wonderful. [Snigger]

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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