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A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying How a New Faith is Being Born ePub download

by John Shelby Spong

  • Author: John Shelby Spong
  • ISBN: 0060670630
  • ISBN13: 978-0060670634
  • ePub: 1627 kb | FB2: 1280 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Bible Study & Reference
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (September 17, 2002)
  • Pages: 304
  • Rating: 4.9/5
  • Votes: 828
  • Format: lrf doc txt docx
A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying  How a New Faith is Being Born ePub download

John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at. .Deism has been dead for a while. Most Christian traditions reject outright a deistic definition of God.

John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at more than 500 other universities all over the world. His books, which have sold well over a million copies, include Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy; The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic; Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World; Eternal Life: A New Vision; Jesus for the Non-Religious, The Sins of Scripture, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?; Why Christianity Must Change or Die; and his autobiography, Here I Stand.

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church. Now he offers the antidote, calling Christians everywhere into a new and radical reformation for a new age. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity - a vision of the power that might b.

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a.

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity - a vision of the power that might be. Author Bio. ▼▲. John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at more than 500 other universities all over the world.

A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born is a theological book by Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong, published in 2001.

A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born is a theological book by Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong, published in 2001, in which he outlines his ideas for doctrinal changes within Christianity in the modern world.

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise . Nontheistic religions.

Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity - a vision of the power that might b. (more).

Mobile version (beta). A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born.

In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity - a vision of the power that might be. Read on the Scribd mobile app. Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere.

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Christianity will not be a viable belief system for honest people in the contemporary world, writes John Shelby Spong, until it drops a few outmoded ideas-for.

In his bestselling book Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Bishop John Shelby Spong described the toxins that are poisoning the Church. Now he offers the antidote, calling Christians everywhere into a new and radical reformation for a new age. Spong looks beyond traditional boundaries to open new avenues and a new vocabulary into the Holy, proposing a Christianity premised upon justice, love, and the rise of a new humanity -- a vision of the power that might be.

Uyehuguita
I appreciate everything that Spong writes, and I want all of his books to be made available in Audible. He consistently comes from a place of respect, compassion, awareness, openness, vibrancy, and nurturance, not haughtiness, callousness, dogma, stratification, suppression, or stultification. He speaks the spiritual morality that I find consistent with and worthy of the progenitor of the Christian movement. Fortunately we continue to have a few others of his ethos. Unfortunately they are too few. The future will regard Bishop Spong appreciatively.
Kirinaya
The author's arguments are not persuasive for the following reasons:

1- His conclusions are based on falsified premises, lack clarity and are obscure,
2- Much of the reasoning in the book is logically problematic,
3- There's a number of factual errors in key material,
4- The author seems disinterested in acknowledging relevant counterpoints to his assertions.

I provide reasoning below for these points:

REASON 1 (false premises)
A major theme of the book – that "Theism" is dead – is hung squarely on the premise of the nature of God; that is, how he defines the theistic god. Incidentally, the definition he gives describes not a theistic God, but a deistic god – a watchmaker-type – of the kind that briefly became popular in popular American imagination during the 18th and 19th centuries, but was quickly discovered by its successors (naturalists) to be logically untenable. (Atheists have wasted a lot of energy debunking this kind of god ever since.) The definition the author gives is wholly deistic: "a being, supernatural in power, dwelling outside this world and invading the world periodically to accomplish the divine will." This is more in line with what the Greeks called a demiurge, (just another being, albeit the most-powerful being with a super-intellect, “dwelling” out there somewhere) which makes for an easy strawman to knock over. And he proceeds to do just that all throughout the book.

Contrarily, Christianity has always held to Classical Theism’s definition of God, which describes Him not as another being beside the universe who put it together and walked away (yet who sometimes intervenes); but instead a bit closer to how the author describes who God really is, as the "Ground [or source] of all Being." Classical Theism understands God as the actuality in which all finite things live and move and have being. He is to creation as the musician is to music, so that if he stops playing the “song” creation disappears into nothingness. His essence *is* existence itself. He actualizes creation, and gratuitously donates his own infinite, transcendent Being to all existing things. It is deduced from this He is self-aware and personal, because part of reality includes beings who are self-aware and personal. In other words, He cannot donate something he doesn’t have. In Thomistic terms, the theistic God is Pure Actuality, the Unmoved Mover, Absolutely Simple (and therefore one), unchanging (and therefore immaterial), the Non-Contingent Reality, etc. But the author doesn't mean all this when he describes God as "The Ground of all being," because he describe what he means as something impersonal, unconscious; a “what”, not a “Who”; a sort of “base” to reality itself. To paraphrase, “God” is all things in existence combined (nothing more). This “God” he claims is somehow obscurely accessible to people if they reach down into their inner selves in contemplation. This concept merges the idea of “God” into the totality of existence itself; therefore, what we get in practice is something more like Pantheism, which when carried out is pretty much indistinguishable from atheism.

Therefore, in one sense what the author claims (that theism is dead) is very much true if what one means by theism is “deism.” But his premise derails the whole argument. (He has no excuse for this either as a clergyman and admitted reader of St. Thomas’s Summa Theologica). Deism has been dead for a while. Most Christian traditions reject outright a deistic definition of God. Theism, correctly understood, is very much alive and has a rich philosophical and rational understanding that is easily defensible. And Christianity isn’t alone in its conclusions about the existence of a theistic God: Judaism, Islam and even some traditions within Hinduism and Buddhism draw rational conclusions about the Non-Contingent Reality of God. Catholic Tradition (which makes up the largest single religious tradition) offers the most coherent and comprehensive explanation of how one can know with certainty the existence of God through “the natural light of human reason.” (Can the reader guess that I’m Catholic?)

REASON 2 (logical problems)
Space permits one example but there are more: The author observes modern society “medicating” itself with caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, anti-depressants and such. His reasoning: Since people have access to modern knowledge about the universe, we all just know deep down there is no God (as if the empirical sciences can disprove God), and therefore people experience insecurity over this conviction. According to him the insecurity stems from an evolved self-awareness which causes people to have an innate emotional and primal need for a supernatural “protective parent” to look after them. That is, people can’t bear the thought of the meaninglessness of the universe. So in response to subconscious anxiety over the conflict of emotion vs. reason, they self-medicate. (He even suggests modern people are prone to smoking because cigarettes substitute the urge to breastfeed.)

This is, at the very best stretch, nothing more than a specious hypothesis. A claim such as this demands professional-level studies and reports with data to back it up, especially before formerly asserting it as an academic. The reason for the “self-medicating” is much more likely explained by mechanistic industrial farming combined with globalism. The emergence of modern machinery and cheap global commerce makes coffee, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs accessible and affordable everywhere. People consume coffee and alcohol because those products enhance the social experience; they taste good; and they make people feel good. Tobacco (not discovered until the modern era) and most anti-depressants (very recent developments) are addictive, habit-forming drugs – a biological fact that applies to humans, and probably most mammals, in any era of history. More people consume these products now because they are available and cheap.

I was particularly amused by the ridiculous analogy he offers between smoking cigarettes and breast feeding. He devotes space to pointing out that the end of a cigarette is about the same size as the tip of a nipple, and warm smoke is analogues to warm milk being ingested. I’m willing to bet the author has never smoked; because, as a former-smoker I can attest that drawing on a cigarette is not even remotely analogous to nursing. There is a large disparity between inhaling and swallowing. Breathing smoke in a single pull through a straw-like filter is hardly comparable to putting one’s whole mouth over the supple flesh of a woman’s breast and rhythmically sucking in order to drink. And even if babies did re-nourish by inhaling vaporized milk from a straw poked into a breast, this analogy still doesn’t explain the widespread habit of chewing tobacco, which demonstrates people use tobacco for reasons other than a primal urge to breastfeed.

REASON 3 (factual errors)
There are key facts he gets indisputably wrong. Employing a leftist bias, he claims because population growth is out of control the new religion must strictly enforce mandatory use of birth control (and suggest penalization when not observed). The problem is, most of the globe – the U.S. included– is facing a birth-rate crisis. Population pyramids have been reversed, revealing a big bulge in the middle when it should be at the base. In other words, there aren’t enough youth coming into the workforce to support the top-heavy elderly. According to most economists, a nation must have a *minimum* birthrate of 2.1 children for every woman just to replenish society and keep it stable. The latest CDC report confirms the birthrate for the U.S. is 1.8. Much of Europe is as low as 1.6. Russia, China, Korea and Japan are in equal straights – especially China because of their “one-child” policy. An excellent secular book that covers this topic (by man who suggests he is gay) is “The Accidental Superpower” by Peter Zaihan.

Another factual error is the author’s dependence on the Protestant idea of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, a novel doctrine of the Reformation. Throughout the book he scoffs at the idea that God would be angry and vindictive and require a blood sacrifice of His own son. This (false) doctrine suggests God the Father punishes the innocent (Jesus) and acquits the guilty (sinners). This is the epitome of injustice – something a perfectly Just God cannot be, at least not without contradicting himself. The author’s problem in attacking this doctrine is that the majority of Christian traditions don’t hold to that understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus. Instead of punishment, Christ willingly offered himself as a perfect gift to God, a complete surrender motivated by love; love understood as a disposition that freely gives of itself and is always ready to endure suffering for the beloved. That is, Jesus would have endured his Passion even if no one at all would have benefited from the resulting atonement. The act was firstly out of love for the Father; that is, to restore the wound to divine justice wrought by the human race, (something justice demanded must be done by humanity). (This sheds light on the need for the incarnation of Jesus). Yet, because God’s love is boundless, He invites (compels even) the rest of the human race to identify themselves with this new Man, who through his love brought forth a renewed human race as the Second Adam. He therefore draws out of human suffering an elevated and transcendent meaning. Through His own suffering He offers fallen humanity a transcendent dignity by inviting them to add their sufferings to His Passion, and co-expiate humanity with Him.

One might argue that the author is Episcopal and therefore he is merely responding to his own Protestant tradition. The problem with this is, Protestants make up a slim minority of Christians both globally and historically. And since his net is cast so wide as to attack not only all Christians but also all theistic religions, one can’t be any less generous in response.

REASON 4: (failure to disclose)
The author attempts to discredit the historicity of the gospels by using old arguments without, disclosing or even hinting at the salient, long-established responses to those arguments. Even further, he articulates the fundamentalist understanding of Scriptural inerrancy (literal interpretation) while failing to disclose the much-more ancient and rational understanding of what the Church Fathers meant by Scriptural inerrancy. The Fathers and nearly all of Christianity the 19th century never treated the Bible as a kind of text book or manual to the faith, written to communicate facts about science, numbers in an armies, “how” species were created, or the geological history of the earth. As far back as the 1960s C.S. Lewis refuted the critical historical approach to the texts in an essay to, of all people, Anglican clergymen, in his work: "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism". Since then much more comprehensive responses have been offered, but the author fails to even address the most basic counterpoints. And as an Episcopal/Anglican he should know they exist.

His sole argument for rejecting the historicity of recorded miracles is something like, "we all know miracles don't happen; therefore, we know the Resurrection and other recorded miracles were added later to the texts." Here he is merely reading his own bias into the text. He ignores the compelling evidence offered for the Resurrection and doesn't even hint that such arguments exist. (See for example Dr. William Lane Craig’s scholarly work for historical evidence on the Resurrection.)

Then, in what seems to be a hypocritical turn, the author proceeds to cherry-pick highly selective parts of the gospels to support his own position. Either the gospels are, or are not, reliable sources. He can’t have it both ways.

He also props up numerous ridiculous beliefs he ascribes to theists. He attributes to conservative Christians motives and positions that they would reject outright, such as babies being God’s “punishment” for sex (yes, he uses the word “punishment”).

Finally, in his attempt to reform Christianity, he merely lapses into the same tired Fundamentalist effort, which supposes if we can just return back to the way the very first Christians understood Christianity, we’d have a pure religion. Only, he’s on much more unstable ground here than even the Fundamentalists because he rejects the historical credibility of the manuscripts. He therefore has nothing else to build his case on but conjecture.

This book would be more respectable if he were honest about his intentions, like Mohammad was, and just acknowledge that the essence of his proposals amount to a new religion.

I was tempted to give only one star, but the author does emphasize an important truth in the book; namely, that humanity is at its best when people selflessly offer their lives to others in love. This isn’t granting much; however, because that part of his message boils down to “Love = good; Malice = bad.” Virtually all ideologies assume this truth, from the most pharisaical and heartless religious conservative, to the most belligerent and hedonistic liberal. Even hardened criminals acknowledge this truth in principle if not in practice. Since most grant this then, the real crux is how to effect a motive in society for love to govern behavior. I think where Classical Christianity succeeds in this area, the author’s proposed religion fails. The reason is because the author has removed from his religion the truth of a personal God, and by extension God’s love for even the most marginalized of humanity. And this is the main motive Christianity offers for loving others – that we ourselves are passionately loved by Beauty and Justice and Mercy Itself. His religion is merely an assertion of what we should and shouldn’t do. And as any Christian with basic theological knowledge will attest to, this was the weakness of the Old Covenant with Israel.
Alsath
Great book pretty much tells it like it is. Most people anymore never read and don't really know what's happening in the world. They just listen to what others tell them and take it for truth.
LiTTLe_NiGGa_in_THE_СribE
The clearest and most comprehensive statement of Rev Spong's Christian beliefs. Rev Spong demonstrates with cogent arguments that you can be a follower of Jesus, understand what was devine in His life without accepting a literal view of the events in the Bible.
Ballalune
John Shelby Spong continues his position expressed in earlier books that Christianity for the modern Christian cannot be "like your father's Oldsmobile". The "old time religion" doesn't cut it for the Seeker of this day and age.

He contends that theism, is a belief in "God as a supernatural power, dwelling outside this world and invading the world periodically to accomplish the divine will". It's not that miracles no longer happen--they never did. Events, he says, that our early ancestors called miracles are now often able to be described by a better understanding of science.

In contrast to the theistic God, Spong states that "God is the ultimate source of love. One worships this God by loving wastefully, by spreading love frivolously, by giving love away without stopping to count he cost". "God is Being--(not a being, but Being!) the reality underlying everything that is. To worship this God you must be willing to risk all, abandoning your defenses and your self-imposed or culturally constructed security systems." And this, is difficult to do!

The Church, he explains, is instead of being an organization for Christians, is the community in which all sorts of people are members. This faith-community is there to "assist in the creation of wholeness--not goodness, but wholeness where each person can be nurtured into being".

Bishop Spong wants no part of old-fashioned evangelism that holds Christianity as the sole route to God. "That concept", he says, "reflects a tribal mentality that cannot be part of our post-theistic world." "We need to realize that as Christians we do not possess the sole way to God, for there is no sole pathway"!

Readers of Spong have come to realize that he constantly "stirs the pot" and one often comes away disturbed by the onslaught of new concepts that need living with for a while--perhaps for months or years before they can be assimilated into a philosophy of life.

In these few lines I have attempted to convey just some of the issues Bishop Spong deals with in this book; there are more! Readers familiar with Spong will not be disappointed. Those unfamiliar with his writing are encouraged to read and hang on.
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