Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics (ASA membership)

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Fri Sep 18 2009 - 15:55:50 EDT

Randy -- I am not at all sure Bernie is "out of the fold." Neither do
I so judge either Fosdick or John Spong. Or Marcus Borg.

Speaking only about Borg, whom I have heard speak and several of whose
books I have read, I find him asking some of the really tough
questions about the resurrection of Jesus. A few of these include: (1)
is the Jesus who lived before the resurrection the same as the person
Jesus Christ who experienced it? (2) Did the composition of the
physical manifestation of Jesus Christ include at least some of the
molecules which composed the person "Jesus." (3) At what time did
Jesus become aware he was someone special? Was it a process or an
instantaneous event?

As I understand Borg, he rejects the bodily resurrection but continues
to have faith in Jesus Christ. I write now without his books at hand,
so I may be incorrect in this uderstanding.

A book that has always grabbed me (at least since I first read it) is
YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL, by J.B. Phillips. The God I worship is infinite
(eye has not seen ... what glories wait for us). Paul Tillich spoke to
this when he wrote (paraphrased):

1 There is an infinite gulf between the divne ahd humanity
2. There is, therefore, a necessity for Revelation (God tto us)
3 Our words about God are necessarily imprecise, vague and paradoxial.

As a good Presbyterian, I often attend a church where the Apostles
Creed is recited. I recite it with the congregation, and I believe it
to be true. But that belief has little to do with my faith in God, and
in Jesus Christ. The first is always provisional; the second is not.

Likewise my assent to the ASA staement of faith. I simply do not
believe that creedal statements can possibly define "Christianity."

For some here -- your mileage may differ.

On 9/18/09, Randy Isaac <> wrote:
> Bernie wrote:
>> FYI, as an unbeliever, in my case I'm an ASA member but that is because I
>> was a believer when I signed-up and paid the last dues, so this is my last
>> year unless I get booted-out (and if I get booted, do I get a partial
>> refund? ;-).
>> Oh, I hope you know I still like you guys... ;-)
>> Actually, if it wasn't for the ASA, I would have left Christianity 2 years
>> earlier. The ASA (esp. the people in it) gave me more to consider before
>> leaving so I can leave with more confidence. And I'm thankful for the
>> experience of getting to know very smart science-educated Christians...
>> which I haven't experienced anywhere else.
>> ...Bernie
> Bernie, we love you and have greatly appreciated (most of the time!) all
> your contributions to the list and to ASA. It has been of value to follow
> your intellectual journey. I think I speak for many, if not all, on this
> list when I say we grieve to hear of your claim to have lost your faith. We
> would do anything to change your mind and help you keep the faith. Ceratinly
> we will all be praying for you and continuing to care for you in every way
> we can.
> As for ASA, I do not want you to do anything rashly. But if you feel that
> you can no longer be a member with integrity, then the appropriate move is
> to write us to ask to change your membership status from Member to Friend.
> The Friend status, which at least some on this list have, is a category for
> those who want to be part of the organization but, for whatever reason,
> would rather not sign the statement of faith. It is a non-voting status and
> the dues are the same as for members. (we wouldn't want to offer any
> financial incentive for changing one's beliefs!) When renewal time comes,
> you will be given the chance to renew as a Friend.
> May God keep you in the palm of his hand and bring you back into the fold,
> May the very existence of the people on this list, scientists with a
> continuing faith in God, be a beacon for you as you navigate the choppy
> waters,
> Randy
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Received on Fri Sep 18 15:56:44 2009

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