Can Christianity be progressive?

This podcast doesn’t answer that question, but it’s one of the best attempts at drawing the lines I’ve seen. Bart allows for it, sees some value in it, but he might just be saying that in public, to protect his own brand of using things like getting together, singing, and discussing meaning. He defines “spiritual” as the feelings you get when you reflect on this amazing world, and he critiques his “progressive” Christian friends who have to add on Jesus to that.

It could be, could be, that Bart is seeing progressive religion as an interim step. He knows it isn’t going down easy, and he knows if he pushes it, his message will get lost in that rhetoric and noise.

It’s a fun interview, the interviewer is high energy and really pushes him to reveal his thoughts, while also summarizing well and thinking on the fly.

I liked it. Campolo seems to possess a well ordered and transparent mind.
I absolutely agree with his observation that the existence of a God is a superfluous concept.
Take God away and nothing changes!

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Didn’t listen but it seems plausible. I suspect progressive Christians do move away from religion 9 times out of 10 because what they’re actually looking for isn’t found in religion.

Religions probably can’t be progressive because they are basically a set of fixed traditions. “Progress” might make new religions out of old ones, though.

It’s certainly happening to me. I’m left in a super-positioned state talking to a construct in my head as if it were the best case God. Much like AA’s ‘higher power’. My higher power becomes my idealized self (1840s Feuerbach). I still desire intentionality in the ground of being, but it’s futile, there is no rational basis for it, no meaning in order, apart from fear and story. I cannot imagine how transcendence of nature, sublimation, ‘glorification’ can possibly work. Prior to that there is still immense emotional power in the gospels.

I think some Lutherans (ELCA) and many Episcopalians are progressive… to a point. Lutheran Missouri Synod though, not so much. They are more Catholic than progressive, which is funny, because the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has Evangelical in their title. While Episcopalians are progressive with issues such as women’s rights, Civil Rights, LGBT rights, etc the recent breakaway branch (Anglican Church of America, I believe it is called), due to disagreeing with such issues is not. I guess it all depends on the group we are talking about.

Can Christianity be progressive?
A. Anything can be called progressive by any group wanting to be viewed as progressive.
B. After those views change then those groups are looked upon as none-progressive by the new progressives.
a. Example: The Progressive Action Party was a Cuban political party and the Venezuelan Progressive Movement or MPV used popular progressive policies to help ruin Venezuela and Cuba.

My viewpoint was that Jesus was a progressive in many ways when you look at Jesus the man and Jesus the Jewish Hellenistic Sadducee Christian. Sadducees are said to be atheists. Then look at Jesus’ religion, the Religion of Knowledge (Gnostic) religion and I think you will find a very progressive religion. Paul’s Christian religion is not progressive.

Point being the tree of Christianity was progressive. The tree was removed, and the Roman branch of Christianity is what we have today, and it is not progressive.

All I can say is it’s a religious jungle out there… :face_with_thermometer:

That’s why I like the notion of a mathematical universe. It’s the same for everybody!

Well, yeah. I didn’t define it, but we could. That would be better than some useless history of how the word has been abused. I’m in the camp that says 1st century Jews were rebelling against the Temple order, but they failed to progress the entire culture into one that was more inclusive and based on community instead of centralized power. Mohammed had a wife that owned businesses, according to the stories, pretty progressive for the 7th century.

Those trees though have a lot of dead branches. Being “progressive” to me means relying on values and ideas that have been proven to help make the world more livable. The opposite of it would be relying on a tradition with a bad track record and blocking the means you have to update your old ways.

Calling early Christianity progressive seems like a retcon. While Christ’s concern about the poor, etc could be labeled progressive in a general sense, it’s nothing like the progressive values of today.

I think Christianity was probably the most soulful religion in the ancient world; definitely a lot more so than Judaism and Islam, and that appeals to today’s progressive Christians or whatever.

I posted this in another thread, with a similar topic. I used to argue with this guy, over emails, went to see him at conferences, but if we met today, he and I would pretty much agree on this topic. It’s a “yes and” answer, that religions always move with society, plus bringing along the fundamentalists. Matt focuses more on truth, and I focus more on the value of community, but, similar conclusions, it has to be about what works for everyone.

I like his point, if religion was true, it wouldn’t change, scriptures wouldn’t be about people arguing and fighting, there wouldn’t be splits.

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My viewpoints. Early Christianity was started before Jesus. So, for the first 455 years, or until 395, Christianity was a major religion. It and all other religions were shut down for the state religion of Christ. A northern branch of the Christianity with a lot of different viewpoints. The question was, “Can Christianity be progressive?”. And yes it was quite progressive. Mary’s and Jesus’s gnostic Christianity religion were behind women’s rights and changing the judicial system. I don’t think Jesus knew anything about the bible. Jesus was a politician who was going to be ruling Israel. Last Days of Jesus - The Presbyterian Outlook This all changed when Sejanus was executed.

Therefore, Jesus’ Christianity was around for 23% of the Christian time and that would mean Christianity can be progressive. Paul’s Christianity is not progressive. The history of religion has been burnt, buried, and destroyed. There is the possibility that if the rebuilding of the history of religion by today’s experts are given to the next generation then Jesus’ religion will be understood. Thomas Jefferson seemed to understand the political side of Jesus. Our constitution structure reflects Jesus’ political ideas as understood by Philo of Alexandria. Fundamentally Jesus wasn’t terribly important in his time. You have the Flavian dynasty that some think invented Paul’s Christianity.

So, why talk about Jesus’ dead Christian religion? Is it dead? Follow Jesus’ ideas from Philo of Alexandria to St. Thomas More and then Montesquieu who worked on the Spirit of the Laws in 1748. To Somerset v Stewart (1772) by Lord Mansfield. 1765–69 Rev. William Blackstone for common law. John Lock – (Adam Smith, T Jefferson, B Franklin). Declaration of Independence was put together in North America - 1776. The dechristianization of France during the French Revolution was going on and new forms of moral religion emerged, including the deistic Cult of the Supreme Being and the atheistic Cult of Reason – in 1789. The U.S. Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison (1803) by John Marshall.

If you look at Christianity from this viewpoint then Jesus’ Christianity effects your life daily. And is the most progressive religion we have. Though not understood after the 1860’s. One of the keys to understanding older religions was that religion was about supervisory control and authority over civilization. The European religion wars in Europe during the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries pretty much killed the idea of using religion in authority here in America.

The deity stuff, I don’t think was a big deal. Otherwise, the bible would have a lot more facts and details about heaven and God. I think people use to understand that heaven was a human trait. Let’s keep it simple. God was just a word that meant “knowledge”. So, going to the root of the word. Has knowledge been progressive? Note, The Cult of Reason was a state-sponsored atheistic religion by France, intended as a replacement for Catholicism during the French Revolution. Would you consider that to be progressive. Both France and Jefferson wanted a religion for the civilization. An atheist religion.

Did you just state this wrong? It was 385 when Rome made Christianity, a particular form of it, the State religion. It was 1 or 2% or the population before that.

But, somehow, you know it.

I agree it affects my life, that doesn’t mean it is progressive.

That ain’t saying much


In fact, in, this topic, as in the one about religion shallowness, i am wondering if the question is not a false one.

Per se, Christianity is a package of tales, as any other religions. These tales have been written at a given time, by specific people with their aims and subjectivity.

In this context, it is no more shallow or progressive than any other religion and globally is rather reactionary. But what is important is the way the practitioners use and promote it.

Some Christians can be progressive.

[Liberation theology - Wikipedia]

Thanks Morgan. Liberation Theology is a great example. It also shows that even when people within a tradition are trying to be progressive, they get a lot of pushback. I read up on that history near the end of my Xian days. This is my Wiki on one of their books.

Taken on it’s own, you can see the progressiveness. It also helps to know that it was a reaction to the lack of movement by the Catholics after Vatican II came out. These guys wanted to take it further. Also, they were in Central and South America, where there was a lot of fighting between right and left wing forces. Still not sure who won.

That’s what I said about some Lutherans and Episcopalians several posts back. I don’t know about liberation theology, but I do know some are more liberal.

In my viewpoints, a system of destroying the data makes it hard for scholars to back up logical thinking. For the beginning of Christianity, I use the Jewish change in burial methods. The ossuary boxes seem to have appeared around the same time as Christianity. And ended about the same time as Christianity left the Jewish area. That would have made Christianity showing up 60-65 years before Jesus.

Paul’s religion didn’t do much until after famine, war, and a plague. And took off in the early fourth century. The top Roman religious college was located at Alexandria and was teaching gnostic Christianity until shut down and covered up by Rome. Four times the Roman Empire considered making gnostic the main Roman religion before Paul’s Christianity was chosen. And it may have been more of fear that the Roman capital would have been moved to Alexandria Egypt if gnostic was chosen.

As far as the history of religion being burnt, buried, and destroyed. I suggest reading the book written by Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh called The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

As far as Jesus being progressive, his understanding of morals for civilization are the reason that he ended up in so many religions. Rules of Laws are only as good as the morals of the civilization. And the morals are degraded by scribes who interpret the Rules of Laws from there own viewpoint. The Supreme Court was what Jesus wanted. And what Jefferson was finally able to provide. That to me is progressive and effects our daily lives.

There are 8K – 12K gods who have been worshiped according to internet search. So, what is worshiping? At its root. Etymologized as “worthiness or worth-ship”—to give, at its simplest, worth to something. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops. Giving has always been a form of worship in the Bible.

Religions have for the most of times been about civilizations. You can see that in Germany. The church has always taxed (kirchensteuer) the people. Reason is the Church ran parts of the civilization like schools, housing, and hospitals. Today members of a recognized confession pay an additional 8 or 9 percent of their annual income tax to that church. And by “member” the authorities mean anyone who has been christened or baptized. The money is automatically deducted just like payroll taxes or social insurance. The church tax (Kirchensteuer), also called worship tax (Kultussteuer).

You see where I am trying to go here with the connection of religion and civilizations using the tax systems. In America we separated the church from civilization, but we kept religion in the civilization. Example, in God we Trust is printed on our money and “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Our burial methods I would consider part of our civilization. What would an atheist religion look like? Would a church be needed? Or would it sort of operate in the background like our government? Would worship be a taxing process to pay for the atheist structed government. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Is our government which uses a Supreme Court a form of Jesus’ Christian religion? If so, then Christianity cam be progressive.

I always appreciate it when you finally do show your sources, because they are almost always so terribly bad. The Priory of Sion is one of the most thoroughly documented hoaxes of the 20th century. That book is just riddled with guesses, and very little historiography.

Religion does not offer anything that cannot be attained by Secular Humanism. I am not denigrading its potential psychological utility, but it is redundant and superfluous.

Moreover, the tax-free status enjoyed by religions is a corrupting influence as history has clearly shown. If you feel religion has sufficient merit to warrant tax-free status, then set limits on the salaries and luxuries that can be afforded to preachers and televangelists. Multimillion dollar mansions, private jets ??? Give me a break.

Some suggest that, rather than a secret society, the Priory is, in fact, an elaborate hoax. Others claim that these accusations are merely an attempt to disguise the truth. But what do we know for certain? I would not put it pass the Vatican to gaslight its history.

That’s 1000% true in science and rationality. I have to tread between you guys on the one hand, who rationally, rightfully dismiss desire for meaning as justification for ‘faith’ and Christian friends, who happen to be vastly, broadly, deeply educated and experienced, sub-Alistair McGrath admittedly - who sharpens young Dickie’s iron if he did but know it - but even so, and most progressive, who cannot overcome the fallacy of their desire for meaning being meaningful. Despite acknowledging Kierkegaard. And they are typical of all Christians I have tested in being allergic and blind to eternity.

The most progressive Christian community I know by a country mile, banned by the Evangelical Alliance, which even accepted my former cult, for being so, is Steve Chalke’s Oasis, Waterloo, London. The LGBTQ+ community finds it so. Regular speakers are Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and Bart’s dad. Who are all as progressive as they come, Christian or no.

I still want Jesus to be God incarnate, despite having a story of maximum goodwill and ‘faithfulness’ toward the story tellers in which He isn’t, because He’s the only possible gate - as He said - to transcendence, even though I find that impossible to visualize.

There is nothing this community can say at its consistent best level with which I could possibly rationally disagree, much to the frustration of a secular friend with whom I agreed that order does not require meaning. Before I lost the Pericope Adulterae.

But take away God and the yearning for significance is meaningless. And the Jesus story, in which He made Himself up, nonetheless offers meaning.