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  1. #16
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense? Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no.
    I don't see what is remarkable about a Christian believing that part of God is always with them, indeed I would be interested to hear how an omnipresent being could not be.
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    I don't see what is remarkable about a Christian believing that part of God is always with them, indeed I would be interested to hear how an omnipresent being could not be.
    Your focus misses "God not separate from us" is the denial of omnipresence, by stating He is not a separate being.

    In technical terms, omnipresence means God is both immanent and transcendent; Spong rejects the transcendence part.

    Romans 1:25 stresses the distinction between Creator and creation.
    Last edited by Mrs Jono; 12-07-2012 at 06:39 AM. Reason: define omnipresent for ease in lookup
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  3. #18
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Your focus misses "God not separate from us" is the denial of omnipresence, by stating He is not a separate being.

    In technical terms, omnipresence means God is both immanent and transcendent; Spong rejects the transcendence part.
    I don't think I would draw that conclusion based on the line you quoted; got a source so I can read it in context?

    EDIT: Nevermind I found it here. The very next line reads:
    The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.
    Last edited by Desmond; 12-07-2012 at 07:00 AM.
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    I don't think I would draw that conclusion based on the line you quoted...
    Here's more from Spong:

    "This understanding of God is called “theism” in theological circles. It assumes that God is a supernatural being who lives outside this world, but who periodically invades this world in a miraculous way. There is no question but that this is the popular and the majority view of the God that one meets in the pages of scripture."

    ...

    "This theistically understood deity was also said to have entered the world in the “fullness of time” in the form of a human life known as Jesus of Nazareth. That is the central image upon which the traditional Christian faith story is built. So powerful was this theistic definition of God that it dominated the way people told the Jesus story. Ultimately it was this definition that prevented people from seeing Jesus as a God-infused human being and forced them rather to perceive him as a divine visitor who came from heaven."

    ...

    "But this theistic God died long before the ecological crisis overtook us, and despite great efforts at denial by fundamentalists, those who embrace the modern world recognize that this is so. There is no theistic God who exists to take care of you or me.* There is no God who stands ready to set aside the laws by which this universe operates to come to our aid in time of need."

    ...

    "Christian evangelicals like to use the term “born again.” It is an interesting choice of words, for when one is “born again,” one is newly a child. It represents a second return to a state of chronic dependency. Perhaps what we specifically need is not to be “born again,” but to grow up and become mature adults. Until we recognize that this understanding of God is no more, that the theistic God has either died or that such a God never existed, we will fail to reach the maturity that enables us to recognize that we have to be responsible for ourselves—for our own breeding habits and for our constant violation of the earth that is our home."

    From The Sins of Scripture (Text repeated in this article) - emphasis in bold



    * I think most would agree that contradicts one of the most important verses of Scripture, John 3:16, which states, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    The very next line reads:
    The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.
    Yes, and that is pantheism, not Christianity!

    See pantheism defined here (in the atheist section of About.com), almost identically: ""... or that God is the sum total of all there is and that the combined substances, forces, and natural laws which we see around us are but manifestations of God". Also pay attention to the three paragraphs in that article, from "...explicit pantheism has been rejected by orthodox Christian theologians for three reasons" and the reasons given. I don't agree with everything in the article, obviously, but the three listed reasons somewhat enforce what I've been saying about it not being Christianity.
    Last edited by Mrs Jono; 12-07-2012 at 09:35 AM.
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  5. #20
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    No. Like my atheist example, it is by the very definition of Christianity that proves not all who profess to be Christian are in fact Christians. Even you used the qualifier banal in your reply.
    My usage of banal was in relation to the word "Saviour". When someone talks of Jesus as their Saviour they are normally referring to a concept related to the doctrine of the immortal soul. Someone can be a saviour in a more everyday sense, for example one could say that Michael Hussey has been the saviour of Australian Cricket on many occasions but that is what I meant by the banal meaning of saviour. Likewise, if someone thinks Jesus was ethically profound but not divine and their saviour in terms of leading them to good ethical behaviour this too would be banal compared with the spiritual usage of Saviour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Since it appears to me that you would most likely dismiss my fellow Christians as bigots
    Not at all but people who use the term "fellow Christians" as a means of excluding people who are generally terms Christians but who the speaker does not consider to be so generally are bigots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    let's look for a moment to a famous atheist, Bertrand Russell
    Sure but I think he was a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian.
    I agree with that in principle but I would add that the purpose of Russell's definition in this essay is not to give a widely-accepted definition of Christian but rather to be very specific about his own beliefs and so necessarily focuses on a few issues which are important to him in terms of his rejection of Christianity. So rather than a definition, per se, Russell actually provides a set of minimum criteria.

    That being said, I'm happy that Spong conforms to the Russellian criteria so we can continue on this basis if that is your wont.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    No matter that I disagree with him on other matters, I accept this is a valid point. Good works do not make one a Christian, nor does refusal to accept the most basic tenets that define Christianity.

    Russell goes on to say more on the subject (see the link for the full context), but in summary:

    I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian.
    I think this is a rather weak definition as in my mind there is more to it than that. I think you have to accept the Gospels as reflecting some sort of reality, either a literal reality or what some people call a religious reality (as distinct from the former). With just a dogma on the existence of god and immortality Russell is too inclusive. So they are a good start in terms of providing necessary conditions I would not call it a good definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense?
    I believe we are now coming to the crux of your bigotry. Russell did not say "in the christian sense". These are just weasel words you have inserted so that you are able to de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity.

    That is not to say that Spong's concept of god is mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and a number of theologians have taken issue with his idea of god. However he does believe in god.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no.
    I think you are being rather to presumptuous here. I don't think Spong claims to know what God is but he does believe that the dogma separation of God from the creation is preventing finding out. Hence his aim is to try and break down this dogma so that a dialogue can be opened along these lines. It is not clear that Spong believes that this is all there is to god and hence I find the argument that he is a pantheist, pure and simple, is completely unconvincing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Does Spong believe in immortality in the Christian sense?
    You just can't help yourself, can you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    His writings point toward the answer being no
    You seem to have adopted the ipse dixit mode of argument here. Which part of his writings point towards the answer being "no"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    but even if I missed something that disagrees with me here, it isn't enough to simply believe in immortality. The ancient Egyptians believed in immortality with their gods, but by no definition can they be called Christian.
    Which is why you were rather silly to adopt Russell's necessary criteria to frame your reply around. Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious. One because it gives the believer something to cling on to in the face of impending death and two it allows the priestly class to use afterlife reward and punishment to rationalise earthly inequities and control the population of believers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    So even by Russell's limiting definition, Spong is not a Christian.
    Sorry but he believes in god and without evidence to the contrary he also believes in immortality, so by the Russell "definition" he is a Christian.

    It's only when you put the words "in the christian sense" into Russell's mouth that you start to have an issue. However this is essentially circular since by "in the Christian sense" you mean "in the sense of the tradition which I follow" which returns to the issue of bigotry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    And even Russell says it is a definition that is effectively redefined from the original meaning:

    ... excerpt removed...

    Why? Why should we agree that the definition should be changed from its original meaning?
    I believe Russell was reasonably comfortable with the concept of the language evolving over time. There is nothing "more true" about the usage of the term Christian in Augustine's time and I assume when we discuss things we are both happy with using terms as generally accepted usage in the 21st century and not 4th century. Ignoring the the moment the problem that English as a language didn't exist in the 4th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Would you allow the redefining of atheist to include those who accept Christ as their Saviour (in the non-banal sense, to agree with you)? I can tell from your previous answer you would not.
    I would hope that what you could tell from my previous answer is that I don't presume to define standard English usage that is something that evolves over time and is a complex social phenomenon which I (as an individual) have very little control over. Should the term atheist somehow change from it's present meaning and there was sufficient need to distinguish those who don't believe in god(s) then usage would dictate that a word would be coined to fill this need and I would adopt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Does that mean you are exhibiting bigotry for refusing to allow them to be called atheists? I'd say no.
    This seems like a hypothetical argument based on faulty reasoning of my position as outlined in my reply to the previous section.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Jono and I both believe that there are Christians who are inconsistent in their beliefs, but are still Christians. We also believe there are those of whom we can discern are not Christians, based on their opposition to those most basic tenets that define Christianity. If we failed to recoginse those instances, we'd invalidate the term as to make it meaningless.
    Yes but these are people who are widely identified as Christians and fundamentalists are the ones who are imposing their literalist dogma and excluding those who disagree with that theological position. Spong believes in god and immortality and considers the gospels as scripture. His ideas on a number of points of theology are radically different to you and indeed to a large segment of mainstream theology as well. However to deny him and others of the same viewpoint the label Christian is uncharitable, unreasonable and by Jono's own definition bigoted.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  6. #21
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    I go when I read them being used interchangeably.
    I appreciate the distinction and I agree in principle, but bear in mind that I was raised catholic some 40+ years ago and heard the term "the virgin birth" many more times that "the virgin conception", (in the catholic tradition the conception was more than just virgin, it was immaculate) so I might be dyed in the wool on this point.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  7. #22
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Someone can be a saviour in a more everyday sense, for example one could say that Michael Hussey has been the saviour of Australian Cricket on many occasions but that is what I meant by the banal meaning of saviour.
    Did you put that in for my benefit?
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  8. #23
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    Did you put that in for my benefit?
    Just seeing who was paying attention.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    bigots ... the crux of your bigotry ... de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity
    From here on out, decries of bigotry relating to my descriptively differentiating between or contrasting distinct ideas will be ignored, because it is no more bigotry than a statement pointing out MSG might be found more often in Chinese cuisine than in Italian cuisine could be considered racist.

    For example, you point out, "Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious [sic]." Russell's essay gives a contrasting example of Mohammedans belief in immortality. Ergo, to indicate I am speaking of immortality in the Christian sense is both appropriate, and imperative to avoid miscommunication.

    You also mistook my point of using my fellow Christians, incorrectly labeling it a remark of bigotry, rather than recognizing it descriptively differentiated work by my fellow Christians from work written by, as you indicated, "a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist" (which still means he was a famous atheist . I didn't say he was famous for being an atheist.). It was used to indicate that I am aware that you might dismiss those with whom I align my beliefs, thereby staving off any claims of shared bias.

    If it is your intention to continue to kick sand in my face in any effort to drag me into a boxing ring with you, I respectfully both decline, and point out that you are wasting my time. If you'd like to remain at the table with substantive communication, I'll be more than happy to continue discussing this subject with you for a little while longer.

    From here forward, if you see me write #ForrestGump, all I mean is "That's all I [had] to say about that".

    That being said, I'm happy that Spong conforms to the Russellian criteria so we can continue on this basis if that is your wont.
    I don't see how he does, and I think you might think so because you separated the first bit of what I said from the rest of my points. So, I disagree.

    I think this is a rather weak definition as in my mind there is more to it than that. I think you have to accept the Gospels as reflecting some sort of reality, either a literal reality or what some people call a religious reality (as distinct from the former). With just a dogma on the existence of god and immortality Russell is too inclusive. So they are a good start in terms of providing necessary conditions I would not call it a good definition.
    I don't disagree that it was rather weak, but it was a start, and it avoided claims of shared bias by solely using Christian sources. I guess we should begin with what you think an acceptable definition of Christianity would look like.

    That is not to say that Spong's concept of god is mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and a number of theologians have taken issue with his idea of god. However he does believe in god.
    Do you think a correct definition of Christianity must include the divinity of Christ? I think you would agree that Orthodox Judaism includes belief in God, but does not include belief that Christ is divine or that He is the Messiah.

    I think you are being rather to presumptuous here.
    I disagree, and more evidence was provided in a following post, including more of Spong's own writings.

    You just can't help yourself, can you?
    #ForrestGump

    You seem to have adopted the ipse dixit mode of argument here. Which part of his writings point towards the answer being "no"?
    Examples in the subsequent post.

    Should the term atheist somehow change from it's present meaning and there was sufficient need to distinguish those who don't believe in god(s) then usage would dictate that a word would be coined to fill this need and I would adopt it.
    Ah, but to that point, what if the manner in which it was changed made it lose enough of the meaning it has now as to be indistinguishable from either the original meaning, and from other currently existing belief system?
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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    ... so I might be dyed in the wool on this point.
    Yeah, I wasn't picking at you; it's just one of those things that crawl under my skin.
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  11. #26
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Yes, and that is pantheism, not Christianity!
    Pantheism or panentheism? And whichever your answer, am I to understand you correctly that that is a belief that no Christian could hold and still call himself one?
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  12. #27
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    From here on out, decries of bigotry relating to my descriptively differentiating between or contrasting distinct ideas will be ignored, because it is no more bigotry than a statement pointing out MSG might be found more often in Chinese cuisine than in Italian cuisine could be considered racist.
    Your analogy is weak as we are not talking about a measurable quantity. What we have is a generally accepted definition of what is is to be a Christian and a subset of that group claiming that another subset denying that the first subset is in fact a member of that group because they don't align well enough with their own particular theological position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    For example, you point out, "Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious [sic]." Russell's essay gives a contrasting example of Mohammedans belief in immortality. Ergo, to indicate I am speaking of immortality in the Christian sense is both appropriate, and imperative to avoid miscommunication.
    I think you misunderstand Russell here. He doesn't contrast the Islamic concept of immortality with the Christian one what he does is he says that because Muslims both believe in God and immortality that just the two criteria you focussed on in the last post were really insufficient to define Christianity and some belief concerning Christ was necessary. (If you need a reference it is about 1/2 way through the second para. of the essay.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    You also mistook my point of using my fellow Christians, incorrectly labeling it a remark of bigotry, rather than recognizing it descriptively differentiated work by my fellow Christians from work written by, as you indicated, "a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist" (which still means he was a famous atheist . I didn't say he was famous for being an atheist.). It was used to indicate that I am aware that you might dismiss those with whom I align my beliefs, thereby staving off any claims of shared bias.
    No more a famous atheist than many others perhaps well known for the bigotry he was subject to in America. However regarding the "my fellow Christians" and "a famous atheist" they both smack of making a point rather than just being descriptive. I know you are a Christian and whether Russell was an atheist or not is besides the point as to whether I would think his definition was adequate. To use of the phrases then just jar, not significantly but slightly in the same way John Howard's use of "My fellow Australians" used to jar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    If it is your intention to continue to kick sand in my face in any effort to drag me into a boxing ring with you, I respectfully both decline, and point out that you are wasting my time. If you'd like to remain at the table with substantive communication, I'll be more than happy to continue discussing this subject with you for a little while longer.
    I'm not sure what you are getting so defensive over. It is my claim that fundamentalists claiming some liberals are "not christians" is bigotry. You seem to subscribe to the first view and hence it's logical that I would consider you a bigot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    From here forward, if you see me write #ForrestGump, all I mean is "That's all I [had] to say about that".
    The seems to contradict your earlier claim of wanting to remain at the table with substantive communication.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    I don't see how he does, and I think you might think so because you separated the first bit of what I said from the rest of my points. So, I disagree.
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean I didn't allow you to add "in the Christian sense" to Russell's definition then I think that is justified for the reason I already said. Either we are using Russell's definition or we are using yours. You can't use yours and call it Russell's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    I don't disagree that it was rather weak, but it was a start, and it avoided claims of shared bias by solely using Christian sources. I guess we should begin with what you think an acceptable definition of Christianity would look like.
    I'm happy with Russell's view that as a minimum a Christian should believe in a God and the concept of an existence transcending death. The nature of the second seems to vary quite a bit between denominations but they all seem to have something along those lines. Also to use Russell's words...

    "I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men."

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Do you think a correct definition of Christianity must include the divinity of Christ? I think you would agree that Orthodox Judaism includes belief in God, but does not include belief that Christ is divine or that He is the Messiah.
    See Russell's criteria above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    I disagree, and more evidence was provided in a following post, including more of Spong's own writings.
    Some more quotes were forthcoming (in reply to RR and not me and in a subsequent post so if you intended these to also address these point you should have said so by editing your reply to me).

    In any case, Spong saying "The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability." is clearly not pantheism. Pantheists generally believe the universe and god are identical and hence the "something more" disqualifies Spong's position from being considered pantheism. You could claim it is panentheism (in fact you did originally but then seemed to change to pantheism) but in any case I would contend that panentheism is compatable with Christianity, certainly with the Russellian definition we have been working with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    #ForrestGump
    The point though is you cannot add your own words from a circular argument and claim that Spong does not conform to Russell's definition. What you are really saying is that Spong doesn't conform with the Jonos' definition, which we already knew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Examples in the subsequent post.
    None of which as far as I could tell dealt with his concept of immortality directly. That all seemed to be directed to RR on the point of whether he believed in a god at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    Ah, but to that point, what if the manner in which it was changed made it lose enough of the meaning it has now as to be indistinguishable from either the original meaning, and from other currently existing belief system?
    I don't know what you re getting at here. These sort of hypothetical questions are pretty pointless so perhaps you could rephrase it in terms of what you think has happened to the definition of Christianity and we might get somewhere. The fact that there are more Christian denominations now than in the time of Augustine does not mean the term Christian has lost it's essential meaning it just reflects the historical fact that these denominations now exist requiring a broader definition to capture the essential feature which is a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    To claim (as I think both the Jonos do) that your understanding of teaching of Jesus is more "Christian" than that of another denomination would seem to me to be symptomatic of intolerance of the viewpoint of that different opinion.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    Pantheism or panentheism?
    Well, let's see:

    Quote Originally Posted by road runner
    The very next line reads:
    The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.
    Firstly, this is a very illogical statement, given that the sum of all that is allows no room for plus something more.

    Although his writings at times have pointed in one direction or the other,


    I'd posit that his beliefs are more in line with Pantheism.

    "Pantheism comes from two Greek words, pan (all) and theism (God) meaning "all is God" or "God is all." It is the belief that all things contain divinity and that God is the sum of all things. Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone - and consequently that everyone and everything is God." http://www.theopedia.com/Pantheism

    If he were Panentheistic, he'd believe the "combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything)" [http://www.gotquestions.org/panentheism.html]. This is inconsistent in his writings, as he denies God as the supreme being, including what he says in A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born, where (pg 3) he begins the book by saying he does "not define God as a supernatural being". He goes further on the next page to say:

    Since I do not see God as a being, I cannot interpret Jesus as the earthly incarnation of this supernatural deity, nor can I with credibility assume that he possessed sufficient Godlike power to do such miraculous things as...

    (and he gives some examples)

    A bit further in the book, he defines "the theistic God", which he rejects, as follows:

    I define the theistic God as "a being, supernatural in power, dwelling outside this world and invading the wrorld[sic] periodically to accomplish the divine will."

    And later still:

    To have the courage to be is to move beyond the self-absorbed survival mode to which human life is so deeply attached. It is to live for another. It is to worship the God who is not a being but Being itself. This God is not a supernatural entity

    and much later:

    It no longer defines God as an external supernatural being who was incarnated into the human Jesus through a miraculous birth[sic].

    So, I'll ask you the same question. Pantheism or panentheism? Which would you say is more closely aligned with his statements?

    As to whether pantheism is compatible with Christianity, I think Bill Muehlenberg's article covers the topic pretty well (and includes some commentary on Avatar).
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  14. #29
    CC International Master Goughfather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Jono
    So, I'll ask you the same question. Pantheism or panentheism? Which would you say is more closely aligned with his statements?
    Rincey is quite correct to describe Spong as panentheistic. It is clear that Spong's reference to "all that is" is a reference to the physical world, so there is certainly no contradiction. In saying this, I recognise that this may be a very difficult concept for literalists such as Mrs. Jono and Jono to grasp. Yet this panentheistic concept that God is "the ground of being" advocated by Paul Tillich and embraced by Spong is an idea that is well received in broader Christendom, although perhaps not in Jono and Mrs. Jono's sect.
    "People with guns don't understand. That's why they get guns. Too many misunderstandings." - Jerry Seinfeld, The Little Kicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Your analogy is weak as we are not talking about a measurable quantity.
    Most analogies are weak, but serve to illustrate the speaker's point in a manner that might be more familiar to the listener.

    What we have is a generally accepted definition of what is is to be a Christian and a subset of that group claiming that another subset denying that the first subset is in fact a member of that group because they don't align well enough with their own particular theological position.
    I don't know if I am just overly tired, or if it is due to the lack of internal punctuation, but I'm just not following this. At. All.

    I think you misunderstand Russell here.
    Not at all.

    He doesn't contrast the Islamic concept of immortality with the Christian one
    Yes, I am aware of that. I think you might be getting caught in a bit of "discussion creep", akin to instruction creep, heh. You said that I said that you said. Let's just leave this go as simply you attributed a form of bigotry to me that was neither accurate nor acceptable, since I merely qualified for distinction.

    ...just the two criteria you focussed on in the last post were really insufficient to define Christianity and some belief concerning Christ was necessary...
    And again, I don't disagree. I indicated it was a foundation for discussion. Again, how would you define Christianity? Can we agree that it is at the very (very!) least "of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ"?


    The seems to contradict your earlier claim of wanting to remain at the table with substantive communication.
    Nope. Note the word substantive. I intend to use the tag as a humorous (to me) way to indicate my intent to ignore any further nitpicking or bullying. I've been civil, and expect the same civility in return.


    I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean I didn't allow you to add "in the Christian sense" to Russell's definition then I think that is justified for the reason I already said. Either we are using Russell's definition or we are using yours. You can't use yours and call it Russell's.
    I think you lost the plot here, and your confusion has now confused me, since that's not anything I said or meant at all. Let's just move on.

    I'm happy with Russell's view that as a minimum a Christian should believe in a God and the concept of an existence transcending death. The nature of the second seems to vary quite a bit between denominations but they all seem to have something along those lines. Also to use Russell's words...

    "I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men."
    So you think that is an appropriate and sufficient definition of Christianity? Do I understand you correctly?

    Some more quotes were forthcoming (in reply to RR and not me and in a subsequent post so if you intended these to also address these point you should have said so by editing your reply to me).
    Huh? Indicating the answer is in the thread now should be sufficient, rather than editing a previous post with a redundant replies. Or do you not read all the replies in a thread?

    In any case, Spong saying "The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability." is clearly not pantheism.
    Not on its own, no, it is not. That's why I said that statement is panentheism. In the post above this one, I show that Spong's beliefs align more with pantheism, though

    (in fact you did originally but then seemed to change to pantheism)
    Different quotes. Spong is inconsistent, which is why you may be confused. He makes statements that lean one direction, but then contradicts himself. His overall leaning seems to indicate pantheism, though. I explained why I posit this in the post I made above this one.

    I don't know what you re getting at here.
    I think you do understand me. Is it just that you don't want the conversation to go this particular direction? Is it because you'd eventually have to admit that the shifting goalposts of redefinition can completely distort the original definition to the point of being unrecognizable? Is it bigotry to point to basic definitions? Atheism cannot by definition include belief, acceptance, or even acknowledgment of the existence of God or gods, right? Is it bigotry to insist that is fact, or merely insisting someone adhere to the way the word is defined?

    What I'm "getting at" is questioning whether you would ever find acceptable any definition so changed as to redefine the meaning into another category altogether. Can atheism ever be redefined acceptably to include things that are contrary to the definition as it stands today?

    To claim (as I think both the Jonos do) that your understanding of teaching of Jesus is more "Christian" than that of another denomination would seem to me to be symptomatic of intolerance of the viewpoint of that different opinion.
    Huh? You do realise we aren't discussing denominational differences here (e.g., immersion baptism vs sprinkling, Arminianism vs Calvinism, etc.), right? And that's not my Jono's claim (and I doubt it's Jono2's claim either). It sounds like a straw man to me.
    Last edited by Mrs Jono; 13-07-2012 at 06:20 AM. Reason: replacing confusing wording & adding definition
    In regione caecorum rex est luscus ~Erasmus

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. ~Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

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