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Switch to Forum Live View Christian reconstructivism: Is it a possibility?
6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 9:05AM #1
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
Can a case be made for a metaphorical interpretation of Christianity, which appreciates and wishes to keep aiive the cultural contributions of Christian civilkization in a context of postmodern relativism? Much like Jewish Reconstructivism it will not try to defend the "absolute truth" of dogmas such as the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Incarnation, and so on, but rather poetically and metaphorically allude to the value of them as Christian myth. Such a reconstructivism would be indebted to higher criticism; the work of negative critiques of "Christian orthodoxy" such as Ehrman, who expose the implications of rival christianities,and canons of scripture and the influence of state imposed correct thinking, which took place with the development of creeds and councils; the implications of the Jesus Seminar and the popular work of Spong, Borg, and Holloway; and other unmentioned influences would play a role. Of course, a disconnect would have to be established with the so-called "Christian group" that gave reconstructivism in Christian thought a negative taste. The actual theological belief would be akin to the work of Henry Nelson Wieman, who sought to use the "God' word to express the growth of meaning and value in the world in a humanistic sense. Liturgy could be appreciated as an enactment of sacred myth and poetry.  I would favor a frank congregationalism over any hierarchical/episcoplal structure which encourges the sense that bishops are '"princes." Such an approach would offer an alternative to the various evangelicalisms;  dispensationalisms(LaHaye, Hagee, and so on) ; charismatic movements both pentecostal and catholic; catholic movements including the surging interest in Eastern Orthodoxy on the right and Liberal (Anglican) Catholicism on the left; etceters that are on the stage today. Intellectual honesty would admit the bankrupcy of any traditional Christianity advocating a personal god and a savior. God as all powerful, all knowing, and all good would be recognized as a high improbability. Nature would be seen as a process that is poetically embellished with a veneer of Christian community. A Christian nontheism would be possible. Many neo-paganisms do much the same with a reconstructed pagan symbolism.. People and not a Cheshire-like God would be the measure of life. Life would be natural, and death a natural process. Sin would be dropped in favor of the more sensible quest to foster the best over the worst in humanity. What do you think? Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 12:18PM #2
Dutch777
Posts: 9,055
Richard:
There's already a movement called Christian Reconstructionismreligioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm  I've established a thread on this however the Great Judge That Dwellith in Eternity has moved it off to Sheol.

Jewish Reconstructionism is the development of Rabbi Dr. M. Kaplan ca. 1900 and is one of the smallest segments in Judaism.  It drew upon Ashkenazic Jewish culture which has a secular language (Yiddish) and its own customs taken largely from the Shtetl.   I don't see Christianity, even in the USA, being that firmly established upon a tightly defined cultural-linguistic base.  There is a sort-of non-religious outgrowth from Christianity: 1st. World Secular Humanism.   It has an international lingua franca, English, a Western European-UK-North American cultural base, a philosophy of sorts, and is unencumbered by any notion of Deity.

Otherwise, I haven't a clue.  Mazel Tov.
:)
The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 12:24PM #3
rjak134
Posts: 320
[QUOTE=rbchaddy2000;348653]Can a case be made for a metaphorical interpretation of Christianity, which appreciates and wishes to keep aiive the cultural contributions of Christian civilkization in a context of postmodern relativism? Much like Jewish Reconstructivism it will not try to defend the "absolute truth" of dogmas such as the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Incarnation, and so on, but rather poetically and metaphorically allude to the value of them as Christian myth. Such a reconstructivism would be indebted to higher criticism; the work of negative critiques of "Christian orthodoxy" such as Ehrman, who expose the implications of rival christianities,and canons of scripture and the influence of state imposed correct thinking, which took place with the development of creeds and councils; the implications of the Jesus Seminar and the popular work of Spong, Borg, and Holloway; and other unmentioned influences would play a role. Of course, a disconnect would have to be established with the so-called "Christian group" that gave reconstructivism in Christian thought a negative taste. The actual theological belief would be akin to the work of Henry Nelson Wieman, who sought to use the "God' word to express the growth of meaning and value in the world in a humanistic sense. Liturgy could be appreciated as an enactment of sacred myth and poetry.  I would favor a frank congregationalism over any hierarchical/episcoplal structure which encourges the sense that bishops are '"princes." Such an approach would offer an alternative to the various evangelicalisms;  dispensationalisms(LaHaye, Hagee, and so on) ; charismatic movements both pentecostal and catholic; catholic movements including the surging interest in Eastern Orthodoxy on the right and Liberal (Anglican) Catholicism on the left; etceters that are on the stage today. Intellectual honesty would admit the bankrupcy of any traditional Christianity advocating a personal god and a savior. God as all powerful, all knowing, and all good would be recognized as a high improbability. Nature would be seen as a process that is poetically embellished with a veneer of Christian community. A Christian nontheism would be possible. Many neo-paganisms do much the same with a reconstructed pagan symbolism.. People and not a Cheshire-like God would be the measure of life. Life would be natural, and death a natural process. Sin would be dropped in favor of the more sensible quest to foster the best over the worst in humanity. What do you think? Richard[/QUOTE]


I think my biggest question would not be so much whether such a thing is possible as why one would want to.  Clearly it is possible for someone to believe what you state to be true - one can believe just about anything, so yes, it's possible, although it would in no way be historic Christianity, and referring to it as a Christian movement would be intellectually dishonest.  But sure, one could believe that.

The real question is not whether a set of beliefs is possible, but rather why one would bother with this particular set.  It seems like a very great deal of effort to go through to be a secular humanist when one can also just be a secular humanist without all the unnecessary baggage.  If I were going to not believe in God, I would much rather do it without all the bother of a church.  This scheme just seems like a bit of a hassle.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 1:12PM #4
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
Dutch and rjak: Thanks for your thoughts and honesty. It would seem that such a movement namely the secular Jewish Reconstructivism  which works in Judaism does so because Judaism is a cultural way of  life that can still be expressed beyond a belief system in an observance of customs. Christianity, on the other hand, is a way of life about knowing God and life in Jesus. If I were Jewish, I could live out a Jewish expression of humanism with the cultural elements of Judaism. Realistically, there is no pioint of course in being Jewish for that reason unless one married into Judaism, and accepted it as a way of life. The religious naturalism/humanism that I have arrived at shares some things with Christianity in its ethical aspects, and in that it can appreciate Jesus as a most superior teacher. God language is adopted to serve the growth of meaning and value in the world without resort to a belief in a supreme being. The conclusion drawn is that Christianity hangs on Jesus as God in the flesh. Without that conviction, the symbols are at best artifacts of a past way of believing. Christianity is a way of life in another sense, but not in the sense of the carrying out of traditions and the emotional attachment that goes with such customs. Yes? Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 2:52PM #5
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,296
Nature would be seen as a process that is poetically embellished with a veneer of Christian community.

That is a marvelous turn of phrase!

Is it yours?  Mind if I borrow it?

As to why anyone would want to, I think it is an attractive option for seminary students whose faith is blasted in the seminaries but, finding themselves unfit for any honest labor, need to justify to themselves getting paid for leading a congregation in a church to whose faith they no longer subscribe.

(Ending a sentence with a preposition is a situation up with which I shall not put.)
The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 3:36PM #6
Dutch777
Posts: 9,055
Richard:

Secular Western Culture is like the Las Vegas hooker who says "I'm whoever you want me to be, sweetie".  You can pick and choose whatever you like: poetic, prosaic, kinky.  No need to join anything.
:)
The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 8:37PM #7
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
Seraphim: The first sentence is mine own invented by my muddled thoughts. Sure use it. Ha! Ha! Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2008 - 8:37PM #8
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
Seraphim: The first sentence is mine own invented by my muddled thoughts. Sure use it. Ha! Ha! Richard
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2009 - 6:21PM #9
Willibrord
Posts: 20

Jewish Reconstructionism included things that appear to be impossible in Christianity to me. For example, they dont believe in miracles. But what would Christianity be without miracles, especially resurrection and virgin birth?


What I like abour Reconstructionism is the principle "The past has a vote, but not a veto".


 


As for post-modern Christianity, the "Emerging Church" movement is quite interesting. Many of them used to be evangelicals, and when they confronted post-modernity, they became nice people.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2009 - 9:32PM #10
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,296

Apr 14, 2009 -- 6:21PM, Willibrord wrote:


Jewish Reconstructionism included things that appear to be impossible in Christianity to me. For example, they dont believe in miracles. But what would Christianity be without miracles, especially resurrection and virgin birth?




Ask Bishop Spong.

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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