Point #2: Jesus was a Man

January 21, 2015
This is the second of a planned twelve post debate series that can be found in the New Christianity category.

I have not read Mr. Spong’s book. The purpose of this series is to help me get a better understanding of the New Christianity that John Spong is proposing, the arguments that challenge it, and how I would respond to those arguments. This series can be considered research for my screenplay The Hero Science Project, about an eighth grade Christian/Catholic student whose experiment in team problem solving goes viral, setting off an intense internal Christian conflict, the Character Wars. Again, I would like to apologize to Ms. Monk for what will almost certainly be disrespect for her arguments. Like John Spong, I do not believe in “objectivity”, and will not pretend it in this series, nor conceal the passion of my feelings.

Spong – point 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.

Monk – Response to Thesis 2: Incarnation

G.K. Chesterton shrewdly stated, “The man who denies original sin believes in the Immaculate conception of everybody.”

This is exactly what Spong does, and this is neither incarnation in the Biblical sense, nor is it compatible with the Bible‟s portray of Jesus‟ perfection and man‟s fallen nature.

Sly – Jesus and God are not the Bible

Ms. Monk makes the mistake of so many “Knowers of the Truth”, their misperceptions lead them into basing all of their arguments on a Truth that isn’t. The Bible is neither God, nor Jesus, it is a storybook written by many PEOPLE, with many motives, and rewritten for many motives, and rewritten again for many motives.  None of its authors were either God or Jesus, and no rational person is going to let you open the debate by quoting God.

We are not God, and pretending the Bible is the inerrant, literal word of God is calling yourself the inerrant literal mouth of God. You are free to hold such delusional egotistical fantasies, but my personal opinion is that this is a mental illness that is destroying our democracy (more on this here, here, and here), and I, for one, am grateful that John Spong is trying to heal this disease.

John Spong may call this New Christianity, or Progressive Christianity, but I consider it “Natural Christianity”, or perhaps even Hero Christianity. Not only can Natural Christianity survive Jesus being human and God not being a supernatural Diety that writes books, it could survive Jesus never being born, just as Buddhism could survive Buddha never being born. Natural Christianity existed BEFORE Jesus, and Jesus clearly benefited from the wisdom learned by those Natural Christians that preceded him, as did Buddha. Even, if Jesus DID NOT EXIST, and it is nothing but a story, Natural Christianity would still exist, and the wisdom of Jesus would be the wisdom learned by Natural Christians who DID exist.

In any case, Jesus precedes the New Testament. Fundamentalist Christianity is based on a book written many years after his death, not on the man the stories in the book attempt to depict. Given that, I have to wonder if perhaps Fundamentalists are the ones who should not be calling themselves Christians, since they appear to care so little about the man Jesus, and the heroic way he chose to live his life, and so much about getting themselves to heaven.

G.K. Chesterton shrewdly stated, “The man who denies original sin believes in the Immaculate conception of everybody.”

Again, a statement based on a Truth that isn’t. Fundamentalist Christians believe man is inherently sinful without understanding that their definition of sin arises from their definition of a God that does not exist anywhere except inside of their storybook, and their egotistical fantasies.  G.K. Chesterton “shrewdly” states that given that original sin is a fact for humanity, if you deny the fact, you are claiming to believe we all must be the son of God, because we KNOW only Jesus was not born with Original Sin. This is a perfect example of “Knower Logic” that begins with a “Truth that isn’t”, and walks in a circle to arrive back at their Truth and proclaim – Tahdah! (Intelligent Design is another example.)

Is Christianity about what is written in a book, or is it about Jesus, and how he chose to live the life that God gave him, and how that inspires you to live YOUR life? Is Christianity about a selfish hunger for heaven, about needing Jesus to be tortured to death to pay for your “fallen nature?”

Fundamentalists don’t own the word Christian, and neither did the authors of their book. Jesus belongs to everyone, and if you value his wisdom and believe that the example he set with his life is an example for how you would seek to live your life, then you are a Christian, and perhaps also a Buddhist, or a Taoist, or a Jew, or a Muslim, who respects, and learns from, and tries to emulate their heroes as well. By transforming Jesus into a “perfection”, a God, you steal from mankind his living example as a Hero of the People, and replace it with empty promises of heaven.

It is not a New Christianity I seek, but rather, a heroic Christianity, that arises naturally from the grateful heart and the seeking mind of the hero character. The reason I love Jesus is BECAUSE he was a man who CHOSE to take on the hero function and help the poor and desperate. But maybe, you can feel this way, and still not be able to properly call yourself a Christian. In the term Hero Christian, I would cross out the term Christian before crossing out Hero, and it would still be my religion of the grateful heart and seeking mind, and none of my beliefs would change.

The real question is not whether I can be a Christian, but whether a Christian can be a Grateful Seeker.

Now I understand that the issue in the Character Wars will not be whether Grateful Seekers can start calling themselves Christians, but what happens if some Christians start calling themselves Grateful Seekers. In some Muslim countries, I read that up to 80% of the Muslim population believe that you deserve the death sentence for leaving Islam.

“Even to express doubts about this doctrine, al-Wahhab said, should occasion execution.” Middle East Time Bomb, by Alastair Crooke

How would the Saints and Monsters of Christian Fundamentalism react if their People began to embrace the grateful heart and seeking mind, and left Christianity to move to the Hero? Perhaps the point it moot, because the knowing minds will never embrace the seeking mind, may no longer be able to. This moves the battlefield to the school systems, where young minds must be “petrified” by the Truth before they can be seduced across the threshold of uncertainty into “Godlessness.”

John Spong may offer the only path to peaceful resolution, the creation of a grateful seeker Christianity.

Next up – Point #3: Creationism, Original Sin