Thursday, August 19, 2010

Post-Biblical Christianity

Last night I was doing some research on the internet about liberal Christianity and I came across the most amazing podcast by a fellow by the name of Michael Dowd.
Dowd Espouses what he calls "post-Biblical Christianity" and has written a best-selling book titled "Thank God for Evolution". (I haven't read the book yet, but I did order it from my library.)

From what I can see from his websites, Dowd argues that Christianity needs to drop any sort of pretence that the Bible has any sort of "grip" on ultimate truth. It is a common place amongst Liberals to assume that people's understanding of the natural world has advanced to the point where people know that animals evolved instead of being created by some sort of miraculous event. But Dowd goes one step further and points out that our moral understanding has advanced as well. The old Testament is filled with statements that support genocide, racism, sexism, etc, etc. As Dowd points out, the God of the Bible could be defined as a "terrorist" according the rules laid down by the FBI.

What Dowd suggests is to simply accept the fact that people's understanding changes and that when we figure out something new we just have to accept the new truth and move on. If the Bible contradicts the new truth, so much the worse for the Bible. It's clear that Dowd isn't tossing out religion, because he sees a very important role for it in our society. He just thinks that it needs to be governed by the same sorts of processes that everything else in our society follows.

I find this really refreshing. If I'd met any religious group that followed this formula (and also had some sort of prophetic vision---which, unfortunately, the Unitarians don't seem to have), I'd have joined them in a flash. I think it is pretty indicative of the state of Christianity that Dowd only started teaching this specific vision after he'd been fired as a Protestant Minister for having an affair with one of this parishioners. (I don't blame him for this, I don't know the specifics and who hasn't been tempted?) If he hadn't been bumped out of the pulpit, he might never have had the courage to say what he really thinks about stuff. That's the real problem with Christianity---"the best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity".


The Rambling Taoist said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll have to add it to my "books to buy" list.

misha said...

Thanks for the link to such a good podcast. His take on God is one I wish all Christians could move toward. I really liked how he stressed the difference between objective and subjective reality. Totally worth listening!