Natural Christian?

Grateful Seeker Christianity

I created these debate posts last year when I was researching a novel project that involved a conflict between Fundamentalist Christianity and what I am calling Grateful Seeker Christianity, Hero Christianity, or Natural Christianity. It could also be considered Atheist Christianity, as there is no Deity, Heaven or Hell, and the focus is upon such things as healing the sick and ending war and poverty. Even if there was never actually a man that the Hero Jesus story is based on, those values of love and compassion that define Christianity would still exist, and the Grateful Heart that motivates their practice is a choice that does not require promises of heavenly reward, threats of hellish punishment, or the Words of God to command it.

These “Twelve Points for Reform” come from Spong’s book A New Christianity for a New World: The rebuttal of his points comes from Stephanie D. MonkAn Examination of the Theology of Bishop John Shelby Spong. The analysis is mine.

  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found. (Post #1)
  2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt. (Post #2)
  3. The Biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense. (Post #3)
  4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible. (Post #4)
  5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity. (Post #5)
  6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed. (Post #6)
  7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history. (Post #7)
  8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age. (Post #8)
  9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard written in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time. (Post #9)
  10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way. (Post #10)
  11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior. (Post #11)
  12. All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination. (Post #12)

First Post – Point #1: Theism