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  •  My Congregationalist forebears hanged witches too. (5+ / 0-)

    That's no more the standard we should be currently judged on than we should judge Lutherans or be ashamed to be Lutherans based on what Luther said about Jews.

    The Bible is relevant to many of us because overwhelmingly the message is about love and justice, which greatly overshadows the parts with which we might be uncomfortable.

    •  What is the definition of "Lutheran"? (0+ / 0-)

      In confirmation class, I was taught that it meant you agreed you were a follower and adherent of the religious tenets taught by Martin Luther. Did they change that?

      Do you think you would not have a sense of love and justice if you did not have that book to cherry pick?

      If you found out today that there is absolutely no "God" and that the whole bible, including the stories of Jesus were nothing more than tales spun out of thin air, would you change anything about your behavior or what you would teach your children about morals and ethics?

      In my view it is a real stretch for mainline Protestants to take credit for the advancements we have made in civil rights, but then if you are able to ignore much of the bible, that could be applied to history too, I guess.

      •  Mainline Protestants, Catholics and Jews (2+ / 0-)

        all threw themselves behind the civil rights movement. It's history. Evangelicals were usually indifferent or on the other side, except for AA evangelicals. Dr. King would probably qualify as an evangelical.

        Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/my-next-big-thing/

        by Kimball Cross on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 06:46:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This diary's title and content does not (0+ / 0-)

          mention the contributions of Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, or any other religious sect. It claims that "libera Protestantism is responsible for everything related to all the improvements in civil rights and even the changes made in the Vatican II!  Read this again.   If you don't see the rampant arrogance and the playing with history, then I don't know what else to say.

        •  Dr. King would probably qualify as a liberal. (0+ / 0-)

          His doctoral dissertation was on Henry Nelson Wieman (empirical theology) and Brightman (personalism) and he was fully aware and accepting of higher criticism of the Bible. (Higher criticism understands that our present Bible was edited from earlier writings.  The editing was "for a faction" and we should look at the faith traditions that were edited out, as well as the faith traditions that were edited in.

          King considered Unitarian affliliation and decided that being his own kind of Baptist was necessary if he was to contribute to build a broad social gospel movement among African Americans.  Most of the SCLC were liberal.

          The word evangelical simply means to witness the gospel of inclusive and redeeming love.  Evangelical (brand name) is a tradition that emphasizes individual salvation by personal convestion. King was evangelical in the witness way, but emphasized corporate salvation.

      •  Depends... (5+ / 0-)
        In my view it is a real stretch for mainline Protestants to take credit for the advancements we have made in civil rights, but then if you are able to ignore much of the bible, that could be applied to history too, I guess.
        "Ignoring the Bible," rather than looking upon the Bible as a living document, makes a big difference in how one views the Bible.

        Based on your previous comments, you seem to read the Bible much like a fundamentalist: as if others, those you scorn, must all believe it literally. As if, in the case of the teachings of Christ, he wasn't a rabbi of his times, utilizing all the Jewish sense of irony and sarcasm that Jewish culture embeds in a person - including Rabbi Jesus Christ.

        I believe that the diarist is absolutely correct, as I understand how secular culture creep works when it comes to the infusion of good ideas from religious teachings.

        People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

        by paz3 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:40:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes! So many critics accuse liberal Christians of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberaldemdave, vadem165

          ...either literal interpretation of the bible (and so we are idiots) or of "cherry picking" (and so we are hypocrites).  Mainline Protestantism uses copious amounts of what we call Biblical criticism to gain a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of scripture.  It's not all or nothing.

          Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

          by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:12:07 AM PDT

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          •  I used Biblical criticism techniques too. (0+ / 0-)

            It's called reading what's written there.  If you need to have a masters in bible analysis to comprehend the texts, then they are worthless to most people.  Or did the great deity really want to keep the "true meanings" the property of certain groups of scholars?

            •  Next Slam! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simul Iustus et Peccator
              If you need to have a masters in bible analysis to comprehend the texts...
              I don't need such to comprehend the texts. Neither does my wife,   or anyone else in our parish, including our Pastor. Seems pretty clear to us.

              I've seen no evidence that the people in the circles I run with who practice biblical exegesis make any claim to knowing any true meaning, just what is said to them by the texts, using literary, historical and source criticism. And that information is readily available.

              Since the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, many centuries ago, some of these disciplines are useful to the sincere and thoughtful reader.

              People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

              by paz3 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:17:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Doesn't that tell you something about (0+ / 0-)

                the alleged author of the wriitngs? If "God" or "Yahweh" wanted the most bang for his buck on communicating with his creation, he wouldn't make it so hard.  How many people can translate Hebrew and Greek?  Did he expect to convince people in Asia of his existence?  

                What you are saying is that these texts were written only for the consumption of a very small group of people on the planet, despite the claim that this god is the god of all the earth.   Or are you saying that Yahweh IS a different entity than the god of Jesus?

        •  It's only a "living document" (0+ / 0-)

          when people are torturing its texts to glean things out to fit their goals.  It never was intended by its writers to be anything more than absolute fixed in time explanations for a god and a way of explaining how the cosmos works.

          The fact that no one agrees on which parts are literal and which are not is proof positive that the book is basically worthless when it comes to providing moral guidance on human experiences 2000 years later.

          Let me know when the definitive guide on which parts are "living" and which are "dead" comes out.  In the meantime, I read the book as it is presented by its many authors.

          •  Said Nothing About Dead... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simul Iustus et Peccator
            Let me know when the definitive guide on which parts are "living" and which are "dead" comes out.
            Such is available right now; it's called a persons heart and soul.

            This is literal: Love your neighbor as yourself (which does mean that it's helpful to have some self-esteem and self-discipline in order to be able to love one's neighbor effectively, but you have to start somewhere).

            This is literal: God will judge you with the same standards by which you judge others.

            This is literal: God looked at his creation, and saw that it was very good.

            YM Seems To V...I don't love you any the less because of that.

            People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

            by paz3 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:27:50 PM PDT

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            •  In my view there is no "God" (0+ / 0-)

              and never have been any gods.  These ideas about caring for others and loving others were espoused by various cultures way way before there were semitic tribes wandering around in that area of the world, and before the alleged time of Jesus.  

              There is nothing new under the sun. It is mankind that thought of those philosophies and would have thought of them gods or not.  The wisdom that worked the best was preserved by different cultures down through the ages and occasionally pop up as the "original" sayings of whichever religion is the most powerful of that time.

          •  The words of Jesus first and foremost. (0+ / 0-)

            When asked point blank what the greatest commandment is He said it was to love God, and secondly to love neighbor.  Upon these two commandments are based all of the law and the prophets.  Rabbi Hillel is quoted as saying that which is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.  That is the whole of the Torah - the rest is commentary.

            •  These ideas are not original to Judaism or (0+ / 0-)

              Christianity (see my post above).  And if neither gods nor saviors ever were thought of, these ideas would be standing in various cultures none the less because our species has learned over millions of years that they make our communities more successful.

      •  Lutherans are... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiona West, liberaldemdave, vadem165

        ...Christians who subscribe to the Augsburg Confessions and the Smalcald Articles which can be found in the Book of Concord.

        These documents were collated by a large group of Catholic clerics and lay men (yes, all men) who were excommunicated by the Pope.  Their chief leaders were Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon.

        Indeed, one would hope that we would have a sense of love and justice even if we did not "cherry pick" that way of living from the Bible.  But the fact is that mainline Protestant liberals have found that a faithful reading of the bible (an anthology of books written by scores of different people over the centuries) leads to a call to love, kindness, justice and humility.

        BTW, the two tracts written by Luther at the end of his life which are so often cited in order to discredit Lutherans because of the anti-Semitic content are not canonical (not in the Book of Concord) and the ELCA has officially disowned and apologized for them.  They are not now, nor have ever been, authoritative to our denomination.

        Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

        by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:46:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did they also ignore his siding with the (0+ / 0-)

          land owners over the starving peasants too?  I'm sorry, but this is such an exercise in apologetics, it's sad.

          •  A Test (3+ / 0-)
            Did they also ignore his siding with the land owners over the starving peasants too?  I'm sorry, but this is such an exercise in apologetics, it's sad.
            Can you ever make a comment in a diary thread about people's faith that isn't dripping with sarcasm and condescension? Can you bring the love, and acceptance of others, and what gets them through the night?

            Something that's living accepts growth, and expansion, something that's dead locks down all thought to a narrow definition, and uses scorn like a weapon.

            People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell

            by paz3 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:35:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can't help but notice... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Frederick Clarkson

              ...this commenter's handle is FishTROLLer01.  Maybe we should take that name under advisement.

              •  As I have explained several times (0+ / 0-)

                before, my name is in honor of my uncle's fishing boat. He was my godparent and a really great guy.  So grow up on this stuff, please.

                If you read all the comments on this diary, which was about the very questionable claim that liberal Protestants were the main people responsible for human and civil rights advancement, you will lots of witnessing about personal religious beliefs. Apparently, even when those are off topic, they are not considered "trolling".  

                As fara as I'm concerrned, whenever one lapses into this nonsensical name calling, I view as an inability to address ideas. It's a cop-out.

                You have two choices when presented with ideas you don't agree with... ignore them or engage them with your own views and evidence.  Having a little corner whisper and giggle about usernames and "trolls" is just childish.  I hope you think about that.  

            •  No, he can't - check his username. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Frederick Clarkson

              The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

              by wesmorgan1 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:27:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  My comments aren't on your personal faith. (0+ / 0-)

              They are questioning the decision to be loyal to someone like Martin Luther.

              If you joined a club that did all good works (and we can't even say that about Protestantism and its actions in the world) and you found out that the founder of the club, whose name is on everything that the club represents, had committed foul crimes... would you remain an member of the club and still wear his name to represent you?

              "Something that's living accepts growth, and expansion, something that's dead locks down all thought to a narrow definition, and uses scorn like a weapon."

              You may want to tell that to your friends below who have just lapsed into the second part of this quote. Growth means change, and expansion means widening of thought and perspective. In order to do that, one must be willing to question the old and embrace the new, if the old is found lacking in evidence or morality. That is freethought.  It may not be the thing that gives you comfort to get through the night or face death, but it's at least honest and real.  At least, that's the way I see it.

      •  On the other hand, it would be equally (3+ / 0-)

        a stretch to credit atheists or agnostics for the progress we've made. The Civil Rights movement was led by Christians, as was the abolitionist movement before it. Even the gay rights movement has had a strong religious  contingent, demanding respect from churches as well as civil authorities. Atheists have supported these movements but not had much role in leading them.

        On the other hand, the diarist does exaggerate the influence of religion in changes over the last century...some things have changed simply because of extraneous forces, technology, changing living patterns, increased production leading to more resources to go around....and there is also the nagging issue of backsliding on social and economic justice. The piling up of obscene fortunes while a larger share of people slide into poverty, the freedom felt by racists to express themselves in a way that we thought was in the past....this is an ongoing project, and liberal churches are too weak to carry much of the load any more. It would be great if humanists could step in to fill their former role, but there doesn't seem to be much of an organized movement for that in this country.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:45:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think a closer look would be appropriate here.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Simul Iustus et Peccator

          First of all I would suggest that you read Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers.  Then I will remind you of the fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an atheist. Robert Ingersoll was a civil rights activist with a huge following and he was an atheist. Abolitionist Ralph Waldo Emerson was an atheist after leaving the Unitarian church as a minister.

          And then there's this on black civil rights leaders who were atheists:

          http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/...

          and this...http://www.boston.com/...

          Maybe you could take the time to look up the atheist gay activists too.

          All you need to do is look beneath the headlines. It was and still is very hard for atheists/agnostics to come out of the closet so to speak when the public spotlight is on them.  Thus we usually hear nothing about their incredible contributions to civil rights and a whole host of other issues.

          But I'm glad you agree that this diary is an exaggeration to say the least.

          •  helpful links. thank you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pvasileff

            Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway. –jbou (2013)

            by Simul Iustus et Peccator on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 02:12:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And thank you for engaging in my (0+ / 0-)

              suggestions in an open minded way.  The more I study history, the more I realize that you usually can't make broad claims about things.  I wish we were better as a country in teaching history to our children so they can see it as a woven tapestry of movements rather than a rigid timeline.  It leaves too much room for mythologies to slip into people's minds, particularly about the founding of our country.

      •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

        ...I believe I did read a few years back that the Lutheran Church officially expunged Luther's anti-semitism from the body of their teachings.  Luther was a mere mortal.  You don't have to agree with him on everything to be a part of his church just like you don't have to agree with our Founding Fathers on everything to be an American.  Luther's main thrusts were justification by faith and the priesthood of all believers which I believe are still valid tenets of Lutheranism, and for that matter much of protestantism in general.

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