A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

I discovered that my critique of the Bright's movement ended up on a very helpful site. What this site does is seek out various folks on the web which have commented on the Brights movement and compile them.So it's a chance to see a wide range of thoughts and reactions.

  • link

  • In my earlier post on this subject, I noted that there were a number of theologians who have worked out a naturalistic theism. What does such a thing look like? It usually begins by looking at human experience and in the world to find what operates in the way that correlates to what the word God has often referred to.

    So for instance, God has been understood as the source of good, so one inquires into what conditions are in play that create good. God has been known as the source of life, including human life, so one could inquire into the conditions that have made it possible for human life to exist and thrive. God has been understood as a power which makes for transformation, so that whatever we are and believe are not resting places but subject to a radical reworking.

    Are there any candidates that work in the world in a way which does all these things? There are some that come to mind which I'll be posting in the next few days, but am interested in input from others on this question.

    Here are some candidates

    One is to look at the biological and later historical, cultural, and other conditions that have led to the development of life and personality and which are inextricably tied to what will make for it's continuance and flourishing. Human life is greatly dependent on such conditions for sustenance and growth. And failure to live in appropriate relation with such conditions (from war to environmental problems) express a failure to live in right relation with God. I usually think of folks like Gordon Kaufman and Shailer Matthews when I think of this view.

    Another way to tackle this is to say that God is a valuational judgment on the nature of the cosmos. Such a valuation is rooted in the observation that the world as such is responsive to our moral activity, so that good can actually come about. To speak of God then is to speak of a cosmos which supports our moral strivings. Mordechai Kaplan, an exponent of such a view, writes "When we believe in God, we believe that reality...is so constituted as to enable man to achieve salvation." I'm also apt to link William James to such a view.

    More candidates to be posted soon.


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