Christianity will not be a viable belief system for honest people in the contemporary world, writes John Shelby Spong, until it drops a few outmoded ideas--for instance, belief in a supernatural God who reveals Himself from outside creation. A New Christianity for a New World
continues the work begun in Spong's bestselling Why Christianity Must Change or Die
, in which the former Episcopalian bishop diagnosed Christianity's major problems. Here, he offers a vision of what authentic Christian belief might look like today, stripped of theism and all its corollaries (doctrines such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Atonement). Christians may come to believe that "God is beyond Jesus, but Jesus participated in the Being of God and Jesus is my way into God." Readers inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's tantalizing writings on "religionless Christianity" in Letters and Papers from Prison
and by John A.T. Robinson's Honest to God
will find much challenge and comfort in Spong's New Christianity
, his most mature and most radical book. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
Religious reformer Spong builds upon the program he initiated in Why Christianity Must Change or Die as he outlines what he believes is an authentic faith for a new millennium. Taking cues from the works of John A.T. Robinson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rudolf Bultmann, Spong proclaims that theism the view that a supernatural deity creates and provides for humanity is merely a "human coping device, created by traumatized self-conscious creatures to enable them to deal with the anxiety of self-awareness." The theistic God, for Spong as for Freud and Feuerbach before him, is nothing but a projection of our own desires and wishes. Since the theistic God was a construct that helped humans cope with their anxieties, the hysteria and trauma rampant in our society today is proof, says Spong, that the theistic God has died. But once theism is extinct, many of the central ideas of conventional Christianity, such as original sin, the incarnation and the Resurrection, tumble into uselessness. Spong's "new Christianity" is rather old, though. Just as in 19th-century theological liberalism, Jesus is god-presence and god is the ground of all being. Moreover, Spong recycles the central ideas of his previous nine books. At worst, this is an uninspiring and unoriginal tract for a formless and meandering quasi-spiritual life. At best, however, Spong openly reveals his honest struggles to fashion a living faith that transcends what he sees as the sterility of the Christianity in which he was formed.
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