Charting the New Reformation: The Twelve Theses

“Time makes ancient good uncouth.” The poet, James Russell Lowell, who wrote these words, understood the difference between an experience and the way that experience is explained. So important is this distinction for our later theological work that I want to press it onto the memories of my readers with two rather commonplace illustrations.

First, look at the motion of the sun. It rises in an absolutely same manner each day in the East and sets each day in the West. Look next at the variety of ways that this experience has been explained in human history. The Egyptians explained it by suggesting that their God, Ra, rode his chariot across the sky each day surveying the earth. Other ancient people explained it as the sun circling the earth, making the earth appear to be the center of the universe. Galileo explained it as the planet earth turning on its axis as it made its 365 ¼ day elliptical orbit around the sun. The experience being described was identical, but the explanations reflected the time in which the explainer lived and the level of knowledge that the explainer possessed.

Now look at the experience of epilepsy, a phenomenon that affects only a small minority of people, but is common enough to be universally recognized. A 1st century epileptic seizure is identical with one that occurs in the 21st century. The way epilepsy was explained in the 1st century, however, differs so widely from the way it is explained in the 21st century that one would hardly recognize that they were describing the same thing. It is hard to relate “demon possession” to the “electrical chemistry of a brain cell.” These illustrations point to the distinction between an experience, which can be real and even eternal and the explanation of that experience, which is always time-bound and time-warped.

Jesus was a 1st century experience in which people perceived that what they called the divine and what they understood as the human had somehow come together. The New Testament is a 1st century attempt to explain that experience. The creeds of the Christian church are a 4th century attempt to codify that experience. No explanation can ever become identical with the truth it seeks to explain. Lowell said it so clearly: “Time makes ancient good uncouth.”

Historically, Christianity then proceeded to make excessive claims for the authority of its explanations, freezing them into their 1st and 4th century frames of reference. Literalized words are always doomed words since the perception of truth is always expanding and changing.

The explosion of knowledge over the last five hundred years in the West has rendered most of the biblical and creedal presuppositions to be unbelievable. They rise out of a world that no longer exists. Yet churches continue to operate as if eternal truth can be placed into these earthen vessels, proclaiming that in both the Bible and the creeds ultimate truth has been captured forever. The result is that Christianity seems less and less believable to more and more people. Can we separate the Christ experience from the dying explanations of the past? If we cannot then surely Christianity will continue its relentless journey into a declining irrelevance. If we can achieve this separation, however, the result will necessitate a reformulation of Christianity that is so radical that Christianity as we know it may well die in the process. Death or radical revision, however, appear to be the only realistic alternatives. I cast my vote for the latter. I would rather die in controversy than die in boredom. So I issue today a call for a new reformation. To frame the debate I post through this column “Twelve Theses.” I state them as sharply and as provocatively as I can. People need to feel the dead weight of their traditional claims before they can develop the ability to open themselves and their ancient words to new possibilities. I now invite the Christian world into this debate.

The Twelve Theses

  1. God

Understanding God in theistic categories as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading the world with miraculous power” is no longer believable. Most God talk in liturgy and conversation has thus become meaningless.

  1. Jesus – the Christ.

If God can no longer be thought of in theistic terms, then conceiving of Jesus as “the incarnation of the theistic deity” has also become a bankrupt concept.

  1. Original Sin – The Myth of the Fall

The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which we human beings have fallen into “Original Sin” is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

  1. The Virgin Birth

The virgin birth understood as literal biology is impossible. Far from being a bulwark in defense of the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth actually destroys that divinity.

  1. Jesus as the Worker of Miracles

In a post-Newtonian world supernatural invasions of the natural order, performed by God or an “incarnate Jesus,” are simply not viable explanations of what actually happened.

  1. Atonement Theology

Atonement theology, especially in its most bizarre “substitutionary” form, presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is a victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. The phrase “Jesus died for my sins” is not just dangerous, it is absurd.

  1. The Resurrection

The Easter event transformed the Christian movement, but that does not mean that it was the physical resuscitation of Jesus’ deceased body back into human history. The earliest biblical records state that “God raised him.” Into what, we need to ask. The experience of resurrection must be separated from its later mythological explanations.

  1. The Ascension of Jesus

The biblical story of Jesus’ ascension assumes a three-tiered universe, which was dismissed some five hundred years ago. If Jesus’ ascension was a literal event of history, it is beyond the capacity of our 21st century minds to accept it or to believe it.

  1. Ethics.

The ability to define and to separate good from evil can no longer be achieved with appeals to ancient codes like the Ten Commandments or even the Sermon on the Mount. Contemporary moral standards must be hammered out in the juxtaposition between life-affirming moral principles and external situations.

  1. Prayer

Prayer, understood as a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history, is little more than an hysterical attempt to turn the holy into the servant of the human. Most of our prayer definitions of the past are thus dependent on an understanding of God that has died.

  1. Life after Death

The hope for life after death must be separated forever from behavior control. Traditional views of heaven and hell as places of reward and punishment are no longer conceivable. Christianity must, therefore, abandon its dependence on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

  1. Judgment and Discrimination

Judgment is not a human responsibility. Discrimination against any human being on the basis of that which is a “given” is always evil and does not serve the Christian goal of giving “abundant life” to all. Any structure either in the secular world or in the institutional church, which diminishes the humanity of any child of God on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation must be exposed publicly and vigorously. There can be no reason in the church of tomorrow for excusing or even forgiving discriminatory practices. “Sacred Tradition” must never again provide a cover to justify discriminatory evil.

 

Can a new Christianity for a new world be forged on the basis of these Twelve Theses? Can a living, vital and real faith that is true to the experience of the past, while dismissing the explanations of the past, be born anew in this generation? I believe it can and so to engage this task I issue this call to the Christian world to transform its holy words of yesterday into believable words of today. If we fail in this task there is little reason to think that Christianity, as presently understood and constituted, will survive this century.

Having laid these Twelve Theses out in the briefest of ways, I will start next week to address each one until we begin to catch a glimpse of what the Christianity of tomorrow might be. I will not stop until the case is clear, at least to me. I invite you, my audience, including academics, scholars, pastors, faithful and disillusioned people alike in the pews and even those who have long ago given up any religious commitments to take up citizenship in “The Secular City,” to join in this journey and to engage this debate.

~John Shelby Spong

 

This is Part III in a provocative new series. To read Part I, II and the upcoming essays in this series, sign up for his column here: https://johnshelbyspong.com/sign-up/

 

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Review & Commentary

  • BPatMann

    Spong, you’re still pushing your “12 Theses”? How much mileage are you going to try to get out of those retreads? You will go to your grave knowing that you life was a meaningless vapor, so give it a rest.

    • Phil Yandel

      How Christian of you! Why not refute what he proposes instead of making an ad hominem argument?

      • BPatMann

        Because he is a nut.

      • Have you seen any of the other comments that BPatMann has written? They are all inflamed troll fodder. Pay no attention to the monkey or the crap he slings.

        • BPatMann

          Great idea! Go ahead an look at my other comments. They might even provoke you into thinking.

        • pennyroyal

          better yet, once identified, ban trolls from posting at all

  • Ralph Locklin

    You might want to read some of the research on Directed Human Intention that relate to healing and well being of the person(s) that are the topic of the intention.

    • pennyroyal

      please post here on Directed Human Intention. Does it have Buddhist roots?

      • Ralph Locklin

        pennyroyal, I do not know all the details except that the DHI terminology is being used by researchers. I think you are correct in suggesting a connection to Buddhist practices, but I do not really have a lot of information about that.

  • Randall Wehler

    Spong’s assertions or convictions come with much thought, devoted biblical research, and a rich familiarity with scripture over the course of his life-long career. To one not really familiar with some of his books, essays, and videos, these statements may seem quite bold and even shocking. I can understand much of the rationale behind these 12 theses, many of which I am inclined to support. Though an agreement overlap (his and mine) can never be 100%, I champion his coming forth again with what he has felt “called” to do to cast Christianity in the light of contemporary times and needs. My thanks are to him for feeling compelled to reveal what he feels strongly about!!!

    • BPatMann

      He is being “called” by a God that he doesn’t believe even exists? Curious indeed!

      • Timothy Palmer Curl

        Bishop Spong does believe in God. You are not reading him correctly.

        • BPatMann

          He nonsensically believes that God is some sort of ill-defined “essence” — whatever that means.

  • NealeA

    I agree with all these, although the idea of that we can know “what actually happened” (or what didn’t happen) is also absurd. So we talk using myth and story. If we understand that’s what we’re doing, we can get at the truth of the matter, I believe.

    • Schuh

      Yes, but that’s a big IF. The problem with re-using old myths and symbol language — swapping out the old referents for new ones — is that the uninitiated *don’t* understand what we’re doing. If I give new meanings to all the old words, I can comfortably use the word ‘God’ and say the creeds with traditional believers, but the apparent unity is a sham. Surely I’m being dishonest … unless, as you say, we all understand that’s what we’re doing. But do we?

      • NealeA

        But of course we must re-use old myths and symbolic language. As Richard Rohr points out today, Jesus so used the scriptures, explaining them in new ways, not as his priestly class had. “‘The Law says and I say’ he repeats seven times in a row (Matthew 5:17-48),” Rohr points out.
        I agree we are dishonest if we pretend we are agreeing. If my friend says, “I love the book of Genesis. It says God created the earth in six days and I believe it,” and I simply say I love the book of Genesis too, and leave it at that, I’m dishonest. But if I add that I love it for the story of creation, for what it says about the relationship of God to the world, for its poetic vision, for its insight into the nature of being–then I’m giving new meaning to old words and being honest.
        And–this is a big point–I don’t question the validity of my friend’s Christian faith. We are sharing the story, and that is the important thing. Plus struggling to act as loving Christians.

      • pennyroyal

        well-said!!! The old meanings creep in and still influence us. And more to the point, those in the present day who are trying to stay as, shall we say, religious humanists. Thoughts?

  • Not only the theology but the rituals are no longer viable or relate-able. Clergy dressed in vestments of a thousand years ago to represent what? Candles on the altar in an age of LED lights for what purpose? The younger generation cannot relate to clergy dressed like Little Bo Peep telling them that Angels sang in Latin “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” to the Shepherds in Bethlehem who spoke Hebrew. What was Jesus looking at when He said “This is my body”
    It is time that we all preach just the Good News as clergy and not play dress up “look at me” sitting on the big chair on the altar looking down at the little people. While the Bishop’s theses may be eyebrow raising to some, how much longer can we preach the Santa Claus version of God flying around in the sky watching every move we make so we can get gifts while we as clergy are dressed in much more than just swaddling clothes…….

    • taprooters

      Candles are special. Their actual combustion taps ancient symbolic archetypes: hope, community, illumination, wisdom. LEDs are no substitute. Whether the person lighting candles is Pagan, Catholic, Protestant, or Atheist, candles bring a sense of reverence that is undeniable. No, I don’t work for the paraffin lobby!

      • pennyroyal

        some of the Ethical Culture societies don’t (or didn’t) use candles because of the theistic trappings.

  • Michael E. East

    The twelve theses are most relevant.
    The only difference i see is that I believe that God does intervene in our lives.
    I believe this because i have experienced it.
    Perhaps this is the difference between a modern mindset and a post-modern mindset.

  • Wong Weng Hon

    John S. Spong’s intuitive understanding of God should be perceived from the perspective of 8 points of Progressive Christianity and Progressive Christianity curriculum specifications for Christian Children. Some of his severe critics give me the impression that they do not understand the 8 Points in relation to God immanence and transcendence in Man. God and Man co-exist to determine human destiny . God alone can not do so; Man alone cannot do so .The Ultimate reality is God abides in me ; I abide in God reciprocally.

  • BPatMann

    Thesis #1: “Understanding God in theistic categories as ‘a being, supernatural in
    power, dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading
    the world with miraculous power’ is no longer believable. Most God talk
    in liturgy and conversation has thus become meaningless.” Where does he get this from? Certainly not from the Bible or from any recognized Christian denomination. Certainly not from science, as science is necessarily silent on the issue. Could it be a personal revelation that he received from God? Hmmm, that would completely contradict the basic premise of his “thesis,” as such a revelation would invade “the world with miraculous power.” The only answer is that it is wishful thinking from his imagination. Interestingly, Spong dedicated his entire career to a church that is more liturgical than any other protestant denomination and its liturgy is full of “God talk” — so we can conclude that if he really believes his thesis, then he was lying to the parishioners under his guidance. Or maybe he is lying in writing his thesis. In either case, he is a liar and, therefore, his first thesis should not be believed. Since the remaining eleven theses are predicated on the first, they similarly cannot be believed. Spong is a liar and a fraud. He has fed at the trough of the Episcopal collection plate all of his life, yet he has shown nothing but hostility toward the faith of the people who fed his lifestyle. He is no better than any of the most questionable televangelists.

  • Dwight Welch
  • aisiantonas

    This is very close to gibberish. ‘Understanding God in theistic categories…is no longer believable’. You realize that ‘understanding God in theistic categories’ is pretty much synonymous with ‘understanding God in categories appertaining to God’? You specify the sort of conception you have in mind (a conception which pretty much everyone rejects!), but couldn’t you have just skipped the fluff about ‘theistic categories’? Then there’s the believability question. What, pray tell, is it for a mode of understanding, as opposed to a proposition, to be believable? One generally employs some mode of understanding in framing a belief, but one does not *believe* that mode of understanding. Perhaps the thought is that the mode of understanding is not fit for framing beliefs. But why think that? I’d say that I, and indeed you, believe that God is not a being supernatural in power dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading the world with miraculous power.

  • Albina

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  • Houston Markley

    The Twelve Theses as interpreted by Gene Marshall of Realistic Living. org
    1. God

    Understanding God in theistic categories as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to the world and capable of invading the world with miraculous power” is no longer believable. Most God talk in liturgy and conversation has thus become meaningless.

    All the above I believe is true, but what is the new “God talk” and how do we view the biblical material today? Here is my take on that: We must read the Bible as poetry and story, not science or serious philosophy. The Truth sought in such reading is an existential truth. Here is the key means of translating for our time this ancient and now too often literally misunderstood “God talk”: “God” is a devotional word for REALITY, INFINITE REALITY that is a complete MYSTERY to the human mind, but a POWER faced in every event of our lives. “God” means trust, devotion, worship, obedience to whatever we associate with that word. If we associate “God” with REALITY, then we are in dialogue with original Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. If we associate “God” with something else (such as a nation, a culture, a religion, or some image in our minds), we are illustrating what these religions meant by “idolatry,” and what Kierkegaard meant by commitments that lead to despair.

    2. Jesus – the Christ.

    If God can no longer be thought of in theistic terms, then conceiving of Jesus as “the incarnation of the theistic deity” has also become a bankrupt concept.

    True, but again POETRY, POETRY, POETRY, STORY, STORY, STORY—Jesus, as the Christ, is more than an individual person. Jesus Christ is a community of resurrected humanity—raised from the death of despair. This community is both human and divine because it is a temporal earthly body with a connectedness of loyalty to INFINITE REALITY. We who are truly IN this Christ humanity are indeed the incarnation of God. Anyone who meets us, meets God. That is a very profound circumstance of possible experience, and many people may not desire to know that that actually means. And, of course, we are IN Christ are imperfectly “in Christ” (that is, in the profound humanness that is our essence): we must press on, as Paul put it, to “the full stature of Christ Jesus.”

    3. Original Sin – The Myth of the Fall

    The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which we human beings have fallen into “Original Sin” is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

    Again the story of the fall is not about science, Darwinian science or any other science. The fall has nothing to do with the origin of anything, it is a story, a story, a story. And this story is about the existential verity that we are good beings who are perverted by our own choices to be what we are not. And when we are committed to being in a reality of our own creation, we believe that our sense of reality is Reality, so Reality has to come to rescue us from our sense of reality. We are indeed “fallen” in a way that we cannot rise on our own. The fall is, in that sense, total, even though our profound essence never goes away. We are being what we are not without being able to get away entirely form what we ARE.

    4. The Virgin Birth

    The virgin birth understood as literal biology is impossible. Far from being a bulwark in defense of the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth actually destroys that divinity.

    The virgin birth is story, a story, a story, about the divinity of anyone who is “in Christ” (IS being who we ARE.). We are born a second time, this time without benefit of an earthly father. Our parents are the INFINITE REALITY and Mother Earth in all her evolution, including your mother and mine. “Mary” came to be a symbol for all that Earthly mothering.

    5. Jesus as the Worker of Miracles

    In a post-Newtonian world supernatural invasions of the natural order, performed by God or an “incarnate Jesus,” are simply not viable explanations of what actually happened.

    All literally true. But all the miracle stories are about one miracle: the possible “virgin birth” of you and me. I am the deaf and dumb, blind, leper, demonic, sick woman, dead daughter, and corpse three days in a borrowed tomb. I am the one being healed in each of these wild and powerful stories.

    6. Atonement Theology

    Atonement theology, especially in its most bizarre “substitutionary” form, presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is a victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. The phrase “Jesus died for my sins” is not just dangerous, it is absurd.

    Again, what Spong says is literally true, but he is missing the code-breakers for this STORY. Jesus died for my sins in the same sense that Martin Luther King Jr. died for my sins, or Malcolm X, or Gandhi, or millions of Jews, and millions American Indians. Indeed, if we live the life that Jesus lived, we will also die for the sins of the world. In some way or another we will be opposed deeply by fallen humanity, even the fallen humanity in ourselves.

    7. The Resurrection

    The Easter event transformed the Christian movement, but that does not mean that it was the physical resuscitation of Jesus’ deceased body back into human history. The earliest biblical records state that “God raised him.” Into what, we need to ask. The experience of resurrection must be separated from its later mythological explanations.

    Spong is hinting here at existential interpretation of the resurrection. We understand the resurrection only when we see the secret that we who are IN Christ are the resurrected body of Jesus, provided, of course, that we are actually participating in his revelation. There is no other resurrected body. Myth in the first century, or any other century, was not literal science or scientific reporting, but existential story. The disciples of Jesus and Christians through the ages were not idiots: they were story tellers.

    8. The Ascension of Jesus

    The biblical story of Jesus’ ascension assumes a three-tiered universe, which was dismissed some five hundred years ago. If Jesus’ ascension was a literal event of history, it is beyond the capacity of our 21st century minds to accept it or to believe it.

    True again on the literal level. Spong is showing us that liberals/progressives can be literalists in our denials as much as fundamentalists are literalists is their idolatries. The ascension is poetry about a strange quality of our healed humanity: we sit on the right hand of INFINITE REALITY FOREVER.

    9. Ethics

    The ability to define and to separate good from evil can no longer be achieved with appeals to ancient codes like the Ten Commandments or even the Sermon on the Mount. Contemporary moral standards must be hammered out in the juxtaposition between life-affirming moral principles and external situations.

    This is all basically true. However the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, if properly interpreted, are examples of doing exactly what Spong is asking for.

    10. Prayer

    Prayer, understood as a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history, is little more than an hysterical attempt to turn the holy into the servant of the human. Most of our prayer definitions of the past are thus dependent on an understanding of God that has died.

    ITrue again. But we can view prayer as the depth of human intentionality that does indeed converse with INFINITE REALTY about the confession of our estrangements; about our gratitude for our forgiveness and for our lives; about our own future destiny; and about the future of the planet and our role and responsibility for that future.

    11. Life after Death

    The hope for life after death must be separated forever from behavior control. Traditional views of heaven and hell as places of reward and punishment are no longer conceivable. Christianity must, therefore, abandon its dependence on guilt as a motivator of behavior. [Finley: AND FEAR]

    All True. Plus: “life after death” is a symbol for the everlasting quality of our profound humanity, not a denial of the temporality of your ego and mine.

    12. Judgment and Discrimination

    Judgment is not a human responsibility. Discrimination against any human being on the basis of that which is a “given” is always evil and does not serve the Christian goal of giving “abundant life” to all. Any structure either in the secular world or in the institutional church, which diminishes the humanity of any child of God on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation must be exposed publicly and vigorously. There can be no reason in the church of tomorrow for excusing or even forgiving discriminatory practices. “Sacred Tradition” must never again provide a cover to justify discriminatory evil.

    All true, and the Christian foundation for this is that our loyalty to the INFINITE includes respect for all that the INFINITE brings to be. Evil is a denial or rejection of the REAL. There is no other evil.

    In summary, the relationship of the work Realistic Living to the work of Spong might fit this analogy: Spong to us is similar to John, the Baptist to Jesus. Jesus has no disagreement with John—of the Baptist’s critique of the established religion of that place and time. He only claimed to be going beyond John toward calling forth what he called the “Kingdom of God on Earth.” Similarly we are assuming the truth of Spong’s thoroughgoing critique of literalism, and then going beyond that critique to a reformulation for our times of the Jesus Christ revelation and its communal and ethical implications.

    • pennyroyal

      you need to start your own blog or study group. Wish I had your email address.

  • Schuh

    Of the 12 theses Bishop Spong says, “People need to feel the dead weight of their traditional claims before they can develop the ability to open themselves and their ancient words to new possibilities.” But after becoming aware of their dead weight, why retain the old forms at all? Surely re-using the old language and symbols guarantees misunderstanding and miscommunication.

  • ainthurtinnobody

    I thought Bishop Spong was Bill Gates and that maybe Bill had an epiphany.

  • I feel that a few events were really helpful to me in gaining an understanding of the Bible.

    First, I read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ work: Women Who Run With the Wolves. This is a review of cultural stories from the viewpoint of a Jungian psychologist. She shows how tales can meet our archetypal needs and also act as cautionary tales (that can keep us safe and can help to make healthy decisions in our lives). When looking at the Bible from this viewpoint, I can see how stories have been honed over thousands of years that allow them to have layers of meaning. For example, David and Goliath tells us that the little guy can win if armed with truth (one can fight city hall, or the prevailing culture and attitudes, and if you have the courage to show up and fight the good fight; etc). If elders had not begun passing on stories in ancient times, each generation would have had to reinvent the wheel for themselves. They might have made the same mistakes over and over. Progress would not have happened. It was the collective wisdom of our ancestors, passed down through stories, that allowed humanity to thrive and survive. A great blessing indeed.

    Therefore, we cannot help but create “religion.” The moment we create stories or rituals that help us to heal from life’s challenges, and we share those with others, we have created a religion.

    Another resource I found helpful was a PBS show about DNA. The researcher showed that descriptions found in ancient stories were highly accurate, even though the language had been stylized (that one could accurately follow the genetic trail/migration of tribal peoples using the geographic landmarks and events in ancient folk tales as a guide). So while a white buffalo may not have “talked” to the people using words, feeling compelled to follow a herd of albino buffalo did lead the people on the next leg of their journey (and to greener pastures, etc).

    We can apply a similar device when interpreting the Bible. Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. If you read Robert Sapolsky’s Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, we find the Curse of Cognition. When we no longer rely on instinct (a state of oneness with the Garden and the Nature of All Things) then we must make choices. This means that we must remember cause and effect relationships and their consequences. It also means that if something goes wrong, then we are responsible (guilty of negligence, commission or omission). We feel the pain of harming a loved one, and the weight of our memories, thoughts, and fears.

    The Ten Commandments are not obsolete, but Jesus said that the Greatest Commandments are that we are to love goodness (God) with all our heart, mind and soul and that we must learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (or even as He has loved us). If we are following the Greatest Commandments, the other 10 are already covered (if you love someone, you would not steal their things or bare false witness, etc). If we actually followed these directives, then humanity will be saved (able to exist on this planet indefinitely). If we do not learn how to get along and to commit ourselves to sustainable action, then we will destroy ourselves and the planet. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

    Galileo said that the universe is written in the language of mathematics. Two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule will create water every time. When we can learn to align our actions to the truth of optimal outcomes and potentials, then we will all be able to experience a greater level of health and vitality. What a heavenly existence that would be.

  • Paula

    I can’t understand why you have the word Christianity in your name. You are by your own definition an atheist.

  • Jack R.

    Ah, human vanity on display. What the bishop doesn’t seem to realize is the shallowness of his scientific knowledge in his worship of the human intellect. The more we learn in science, the more we know that creation of the universe, Earth and us by accident is impossible. One astro-physicist, Dr. Hugh Ross, a former atheist turned Christian, calculated the odds of a planet like ours capable of sustaining life forming by accident to be something on the order of 1 over 10 the 292nd power. In probability, anything greater than 1 over 10 to the 50th power is considered virtually zero. And this doesn’t even address the odds of inert chemicals forming life. Some scientist say it might have been possible for the gases available on our primordial planet being zapped by lightening forming amino acids and if concentrated these acids might be able to assemble themselves into some of the 110 amino acids that make up a protein, which would be one of the 1,500 proteins that make up a gene. But biophysicist Hubert Yockey calculated the odds of amino acids assembling themselves into just one protein product would be 1 over 10 to the 75th power. While this does not sound as bad as the odds of our Earth forming, Dr. Yockey continued with the time factor, forming in one hundred billion trillion years, which would seem quite impossible given the universe itself is estimated to be only about 13.8 billion years old. And even this does not address the flaws in the Theory of Evolution that states we and carrots are distantly related to one original living cell. And that complex biological systems such as the eye or the ability to fly could come about through millions of slow random mutations that benefited each other.
    Our own vanity is the biggest barrier separating us from God, and Spong is putting his own craving for attention above God and seems to want to imitate, in a fashion, what the head chopping progressives of the French Revolution did and replace crosses in cathedrals with statues to the “goddess of Reason.” Being convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority plus the view that human life in no more sanctified than that of a rat these “Enlightened” elites quite reasonably started executing by the tens of thousands those who defied what they sincerely believed was the obvious superiority of their revolutionary ideas, And a couple of centuries this secular progressive ideology led to wonders of “scientific socialism” i.e. communism, which murdered some 100 million “enemies of the state,” plus the Darwin inspired eugenics of the Nazis and Planned Parenthood.
    It is the heresy of people like Spong and another Episcopal bishop, a lesbian who declared that abortion should be considered a blessing, that caused me to leave the church I was baptized into as a baby and join a genuinely Christian church, the LCMS Lutheran.
    For what it’s worth, I would remind Spong of Jesus’ warning about those who consciously lead people away from their faith, which I’m sure this “bishop” might remember despite his self-absorption. You know something about a millstone around the neck,