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July 02, 2013

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It's a good thing Spong is so outspoken with his new "religion" so the world can read him "loud and clear".

"For the time will come when men will not
put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to
suit their own desires, they will gather
around them a great number of teachers to
say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the
truth and turn aside to myths." 2Tim 4:3-4

Thanks for bringing this to light, Mr. Wallace.


Thank you, Mr. Wallace, for this intriguing exposé of Mr. Spong. (This is the first I've heard of him). His core points of view, as you have presented them here, strike me as something that would naturally emerge when a person accustomed to expressing doctrinal authority in a Christian denomination feels compelled to acknowledge and accept rationalism as an unstoppable force that promotes real progress.

But the part in your post that really resonated for me was this:

Truth is often offensive. The right or true way isn’t always the way that feels good,

I couldn't agree more, and you can always count on me to join you in any genuine battle against wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and other forms of self-indulgent rationalization.

Alas, included among the opponents in my battle is the pernicious habit of imagining that everyone remains conscious after death, and that some people (including, ideally, oneself) will have eternal bliss while others get eternal suffering. But apart from that, I know there are issues on which we can collaborate.

... and Christianity has a long and rich history of speaking truth to power, regardless of cultural acceptance.

Granted. Of course, Christianity also has a long and (copiously, materially) rich history of speaking as the holder of power (sometimes at the expense of truth), and enforcing cultural acceptance.

Things have certainly improved in the last few hundred years, and Protestants deserve a lot of credit for that. But I dare say it's their propensity for being rational (and not rationalizing) that accounts for much of the progress they've accomplished.

Keep up the good work, but be careful not to abuse the power you have when you are in the majority. It's often the case that power must have truth spoken to it, no matter who wields the power, or who does the speaking.

@Otto Tellick: You wrote,

"His core points of view, as you have presented them here, strike me as something that would naturally emerge when a person accustomed to expressing doctrinal authority in a Christian denomination feels compelled to acknowledge and accept rationalism as an unstoppable force that promotes real progress.

But the part in your post that really resonated for me was this:

'Truth is often offensive. The right or true way isn’t always the way that feels good,'

I couldn't agree more, and you can always count on me to join you in any genuine battle against wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and other forms of self-indulgent rationalization.

Alas, included among the opponents in my battle is the pernicious habit of imagining that everyone remains conscious after death, and that some people (including, ideally, oneself) will have eternal bliss while others get eternal suffering. But apart from that, I know there are issues on which we can collaborate."

Alas, indeed, your mocking remarks here remind me of the oft-quoted words of John Knowles in his book A Separate Piece: "It was only long after that I recognized sarcasm as the protest of people who are weak." (The only difference here is that we all got it right away.)

Your utopian idea of an atheistic world governed by your personal concept of "rationalism" has no hope of reality, because the God you deny, demean, and scoff at through clenched teeth has already prevailed against evil. And you seem to have already chosen the path you'll take into that eternity you deny, but God cannot be blamed for your decision. If it's to be eternal suffering, the choice is entirely yours. I do hope you'll change your mind while you have the time to do so. As you so heartily agreed with, "Truth is often offensive..."

@Carolyn,

I can only say (with teeth comfortably unclenched) that blaming an imaginary entity for anything is at best silly, and choosing what path to take on an imaginary journey can be an entertaining form of mental diversion, but it's nothing more than that.

I'm not knocking imagination - it's a vital part of our normal behavior as humans. But I'm compelled to object when people publicly proclaim imaginary things as unquestionable realities. Anything that actually does constitute a part of reality can and should be questioned and rigorously examined as such, so that we can honestly move beyond our respective "personal concepts of rationalism."

@Otto Tellick:

Your own personal concept of "reality" presupposes that the natural world that you can perceive with your own eyes is all there is--a self-imposed parameter that is handily rewarded by the senses you possess via the Creator of the universe (a concept which I realize you thoroughly reject, of course). Because your limited thinking negates anything more than superficial understanding and can't conceive of something larger and outside of what you presently experience, does not, in actuality, so easily dismiss an entire panoply of existence that is open to those who belong to Christ. Indeed, that realm is far greater than this physical world and richer by far than can be conceived. Calling it imaginary only reveals that you do not belong to Him and must cling to your avowed atheism, as you can never "disprove" Him.

Again, there is still time for you, Otto Tellick, to humble yourself before God. I urge you to consider.

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