Liberal Denominations See Their Decline Differently.

I have a better impression of liberal denominations than of conservative ones.  In general, they take the Bible less literally, some regard none of it as historical.  Also, I see liberal denominations not taking themselves as seriously as more conservative branches.

The link was refreshing because the writer suggested decline in his denomination’s numbers might be due, among other things, to a failing of God–that the faith belongs to God, not the denominations and maybe he is not doing it right.

This is a far cry from a common Christian conservative generalization, at least as I perceive it, that when something bad happens it is punishment for one of many sins.  That something bad happens and it is not due to the sins of its members is an interesting perspective to say the least.

My own paraphrasing of the link’s author would be, “The faith has been here for a long time and we who follow it have been served well. If the next generation of people do not find anything in the faith that helps them, that’s OK because it belongs to those who are helped by it.”

The author stops short of saying the faith is something people carry around within themselves and does not exist outside the follows’ minds. Perhaps I’m reading my own bias into his writing in saying this, but that’s how I see it.

Ironically, I think the writer’s message of no concern is one that would make the faith attractive to those who are skeptical.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/derek-penwell/7-reasons-not-to-freak-ou_b_5678808.html

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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10 Responses to Liberal Denominations See Their Decline Differently.

  1. Adam Heckathorn says:

    This caught My attention in the link: “3. Some of this is on God. This is God’s church … all of it. It’s not my congregation, not my denomination, not my Protestant mainline. As such, God gets to take the credit and the responsibility for what ultimately becomes of it. When it goes well, Christians are prone to saying things like, “God has blessed us,” or “We give God the glory.” But when things go in the toilet, very rarely do I hear Christians say anything so honest as, “We worked our butts off, but God saw fit to curse us,” or “It sucks being us right now, we’re happy to give God the blame on this one.” I suspect I’ll get nasty emails about this, but if we’ve done the best we know how to do and the whole thing caves in over the next ten years, that’s on God. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but you don’t get to have it both ways: Good = God; Bad = our screw up.” I’ve never seen a religious Person look at it this way. Usually there are certain patterns of thought which You can find support for in the scriptures If there isn’t a good response to the ministry: Matt 7:13,14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. So the People Who don’t respond can be written off as People God wouldn’t want anyway. This is the attitude I’m used to hearing I never bought into it and neither has the author of this link. I appreciate Aesop’s fable on this evidently People were similar to Us today
    The Fox and the Grapes

    A FAMISHED FOX saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging
    from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at
    them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them.
    At last she turned away, hiding her disappointment and saying:
    “The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.” The Author of the link says You can’t have it both ways if We give God credit when We seem to see his blessing He has something to answer for When We don’t. On the other side We can reach for Deuteronomy 32:4,5 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
    A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.
    5 They are corrupt and not his children;
    to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. What I notice is a tendency to see what You want in “God’s word”. A tendency to see a reflection of Your Own views whether those are a Childlike black and white or a more sophisticated shades of gray view. We end up victims of a self delusion like the one told to pick a number between one and ten and then when asked the number the Illusionist tells us to look under something to find Our number not realizing that if We had picked a different number We would have been directed to look under a different object where Wala! We’d find that number! As all the numbers are there in the trick so any viewpoint is covered in not only the Bible but also in other holy books. We see in the news, People in Iraq slaughtering each other when They don’t agree on The interpretation of The Holy Book They hold in common. If We look at Christianity We see the same thing happened with the crusades, some whole crusades were directed at Heretics in northern and southern Europe. Genocide repeatedly motivated on a kind of Parlor trick.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Adam 12:01 Thanks for posting these ideas so thoroughly.

      Brings to mind a couple of things. One was the blog of a former preacher who said he hated to preach the Sunday after some huge disaster. He knew people would be expecting the, “Don’t Blame God for This Terrible Event” sermon and it always took some effort to come up with excuses for God.

      Then there is the constant drum beat on this blog about how those of us how are skeptical of the Bible’s history and lessons have “hardened hearts”. I Googled up hardened hearts and, sure enough, there are more than a dozen references to people with the deficiency of the “hardened heart.” Thus, if one says he will not accept the Bible as anything but the musings of the ancient and wealthy when there is no evidence it came from any other source, he has something wrong with him. He has some kind of mental malfunction–a nice out for those who want to blame others.

  2. justaguywhobelieves says:

    Watered down is watered down. People who like to take their belief, or unbelief, ala carte, are simply not being honest with themselves, and therefore have zero credibility to offer opinions to the rest of, imho. They do not know what they believe, or why they believe it. Emotions and feelings are not qualifiers.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      justaguy 3:19 are simply not being honest with themselves..They do not know what to believe, or, why they believe it.

      I’m not sure either of these sentences is correct. From the liberal Christian’s point of view, those who are being dishonest with themselves or not knowing what to believe may well be conservative Christians.

      Why are you certain they are not being honest with themselves and don’t know what to believe?

      • justaguywhobelieves says:

        “From the liberal Christian’s point of view”.
        Your post answers itself, in a sense, as well as being somewhat illogical. The word Christian is being taken highly out of context when used alongside the contemporary definition of liberal. The two are incompatible.

        I can call myself a Harvard professor, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am one. Monikers and taglines are readily adopted by those who know nothing of the meaning behind them.

        • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

          With attitudes like this its not difficult to see how we ended up with 30,000 different christian denominations.

          • justaguywhobelieves says:

            There’s really only 1, and it doesn’t go by a formal name or trademark. When people begin to fill in their own blanks and deviate from what is known, along with making assumptions on what is not known, that’s where all the differences come in. Human nature. It’s unavoidable. We really do think we know it all. Me, you, the guy down the block, everyone.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            justaguy 8:53 When people begin to fill in their own blanks and deviate from what is known..

            There are endless views of what is THE TRUTH. There is one, and only one, thing all have in common. All versions of the faith say the person who is claiming to know the truth finds god thinks they are very fine Christians.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Nah, I know I know very little. I know that I’m a tiny speck, on a tiny speck of dirt, that’s traveling through a tiny speck of a galaxy in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know what is beyond our reality, and don’t claim to…It’s why I no longer choose to believe in Christianity.

            I hope there’s something out there working in favor of humanity. I also hope there’s nothing out there hoping to enslave humanity or use us as their food source like cows?

            I have no clue if there is not… I know very little, just like the rest of us Humans.

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