Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christian Insecurity

Photo credit: Scott Griessel (2006);
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong describes religion perfectly in an interview over at Religion Dispatches: "Religion is not about truth, it's about security."

Spong doesn't withdraw from being Christian, though he's not the kind of Christian I knew growing up. He seems to embrace what Alan Watts called "the wisdom of insecurity," and to him (Spong), Christianity in its essence is about embracing insecurity. It's existential. Spong's a non-theistic Christian. His latest book is called Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World.

I've written about him before, but this interview is as good an introduction to "Spongian theology" as any:

It seems to me that what the Christian faith says is that every life is holy, every life is loved, and every life is called and empowered to be all that it can be. That's not what you hear [when politicians invoke religion]. Christianity has been a religion of victimization if you look at its history. We victimized Jews during the Crusades. We victimized Muslims in the 14th century. We victimized heretics. We victimized people of color. We victimized women. We victimized homosexuals. We victimized the environment. We're currently victimizing immigrants. It's all the same mentality. 
What is it about Christianity that makes us constantly be a victimizer? I think it's because we've adopted a victimizing theology. We spend all our time in church talking about how sinful and evil human beings are. The only way you can tolerate listening to that is to pass it on. We have to pass on this hostility that we have. The idea that God killed Jesus because you were a sinner is a really strange idea. It makes God an ogre. It makes Jesus a sadomasochistic victim and it makes you and me guilt-laden. [link]

Source: Candace Chellew-Hodge. "The Bible Is a Good Book, But God Didn't Write It." Religion Dispatches (January 8, 2012).

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