Unfundamentalist Christians: That’s we in the corner

We ended up launching this Unfundamentalist Christians group blog before we had ready our Official Introductory post. Lame, we know. But once we were all dressed up and everything, we figured that we’d crash the party first, and then make with the greetings. It’s been our experience that that’s really the best way for us to reduce our chances of getting summarily booted from wherever we’ve shown up.

Hi! We’re the Unfundamentalist Christians! Nice to meet you! Thanks for having us, Patheos! We’ll totally try not to break anything.

What’s that? How did we come about? Why, how ravishingly kind of you to ask. Well, UC was founded by super-famous author and blogger John Shore. As John wrote in this post on his blog:

To my mind, the Christianity on the left was too tenuous, while the one on the right was too … rabid. I didn’t want a Christ who was essentially an inspired social worker who got jumped by the authorities, and I sure didn’t want the one who had been twisted into serving the craven needs of bigoted, power-crazed, fear-mongering misogynist homophobes.

He was, as he put it, a Christian without a Christianity.

So then John wrote the UC tenets below. Then UC became a FB page that you should go like right now. Then that page was liked by (as of this writing) 14,460 people. Then John and the folks who admin that page decided to start a group blog. Then Patheos was kind enough to offer to host that blog. And, well, now here we are, holding forth in our own little corner of the party.

The tenets below are lifted from our About page, where you’ll always be able to find them. Please also check out our Submit page if you think you might like to write for us.

All right! Great chat! See ya’ next time around! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to try the crab-cakes!

Here’s the gist of why we exist:

Generally speaking (because do any two people anywhere believe the exact same things?) we here at UC hold that:

  1. Jesus Christ was God incarnate. He performed miracles; as a means of providing for the irrevocable reconciliation of humankind to God he sacrificed himself on the cross; he rose from the dead; he left behind for the benefit of all people the totality of himself in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
  2. Following the word of God means taking into account the entirety of God’s words. The Bible itself tells us that it consists of songs, visions, histories, dreams, parables, commandments. It instructs Christians that New Testament moral directives supersede Old Testament moral directives. It asserts that moral principles supersede moral “rules.” The relevant context of any Bible passage is as integral to its meaning as the passage itself. It may be appropriate to give equal weight to each clause within a business contract or a game rulebook. But the Bible itself tells us that the Bible is not a uniform document, with each passage spelling out something clear and specific, and all passages having equal value. The Bible is not a rulebook for being Christian. Isolating a Bible passage from its context, and then claiming a sort of moral helplessness about that passage because “it’s in the Bible,” is failing to take the Bible either literally or seriously.
  3. Christianity is supposed to be all about nothing more (and nothing less!) than living a life of love, compassion, fairness, peace, and humility.
  4. The Biblical scholarship supporting the idea that Paul never wrote a word condemning natural homosexuality is more credible and persuasive than is the scholarship claiming that he did. Moreover, we remain mystified as to how any follower of Jesus could choose damning an entire population over obeying Jesus’ Great Commandment to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself.
  5. God does not want any woman “submitting” to any person.
  6. Using masculine pronouns to refer to God is strictly a matter of convention, a profoundly unfortunate necessity of the English language, which to date offers no satisfactory alternative. But God is neither male or female. God is both. God is all.
  7. The belief that throughout history God chose to introduce himself in different ways into different culture streams is more reasonable, respectful, and compassionate than is the conviction that there is only one correct way to understand and worship God.
  8. There is no support in the Bible for the morally repugnant idea that hell is an actual place to which God sentences people to spend eternity in mortal agony.
  9. God’s will and intention is to forgive and teach us, not to judge and punish us.
  10. Anyone desiring to mix Church and State has failed to understand the nature and proper role of either.
  11. God can handle converting people. Our job is to love people.
  12. An all-powerful God and the theory of evolution are not incompatible.
  13. Getting a divorce is painful, and if at all possible should certainly be avoided. But in and of itself divorce is not immoral.
  14. The single most telling indicator of a person’s moral character has nothing to do with how they define or worship God, and everything to do with how they treat others.

  • Michael Sprague

    A lot of truth here, but also some stuff that dumps me off the wagon. Here’s one: Of course He wants women to submit, he also wants men to submit. He wants us to count others as more important than ourselves.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      What the tenet about submitting is talking about is a cultural belief that women are the inferior in a romantic relationship. That they have to succumb to the will of the male, with him being the superior model and authority.

      True submission is a willing act. A desire to want to let another lead the way, to ensure that they are treated well, and with respect. True submission should be a belief that others are as important as ourselves, not necessarily more important.

      • Autumn Macarthur

        Thank you for articulating something so close to my own individual flavour of Christianity!

        Jesus told us to love our neighbour as ourselves, not more. In an equal relationship, each partner lovingly submits to the other by choice.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    You guys sound like my kind of people! I once was a fundamentalist, but now I am found; was blinded by baggage, but now I see.

    I am subscribing today in hopes of great things!

  • gmunny33

    It instructs Christians that New Testament moral directives supersede Old Testament moral directives.

    Where is the evidence for this?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Where in the New Testament does it tell you to keep the series of holy days found in the old? Where in the New Testament are instructions on how to keep your slaves, what is ritually unclean?

      Then consider this. Modern moral directives are not exactly the same as ones found in the bible, mainly because our culture has changed quite a bit over the past few thousand years.

      • gmunny33

        I agree with your second paragraph. But, to put it in overly simplistic terms, if God says “Do this” in one part of a book and never says anything like “Forget about that thing I told you to do” then why would you stop doing it? Also, Matthew 5:17 seems pretty clear to me, though I understand some people read it differently.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          All people read scripture differently, even that particular passage. People consider scripture form different parameters, as well. Some think its literally God speaking, some think that God literally used people to speak for the divine, some think that God inspired people to say what they didn, some think that people were inspired to try to put down what they hoped explained how God worked in the lives of mere humans.

          Growing up I was told that the Matthew passage, meant that animal sacrifices were done away with, but the rest of the Mosaic code was still in place, because Jesus had taken the place of those sacrifices. As Jesus was a practicing Jew, then the rest MUST be valid, according to the tenets of my former church.

          I now consider that a big stretch of what the passage was supposed to mean. It could mean a variety of things to us today, and it quite likely meant something different to the person who wrote the book of Matthew and credited Jesus with that statement. It also may have meant something to the original audiences of the book of Matthew. We should decide if and how it resonates with us.

          Personally I think there are essentially two things God is consistent on when considering the divine giving the mundane a “you should do…”, to acknowledge, and find reasons for adoration of God in any and all ways you can, and to love each other with the same passion you wish to receive yourself.” That is is found in the bible, and in locations outside the realms of Christianity is, to me, significant.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Worse? How?

    • Gary Calderone

      Jesus Christ! He did it all the time!!

  • pennyhammack

    Where can we sign up? I agree with each and every point, including the submit part. I am a heterosexual woman who believes that homosexuals should be allowed to live as God made them. I also believe that if you polled 100% of any given population you would get 100% of different ideas about heaven and hell. For me heaven is where I can go get caught up on all the books I haven’t had time to read yet and the “streets of gold, continuous hosannas” concept sounds an awful lot like hell.

  • danallison

    Welcome to Patheos!

  • Herro

    >”God’s will and intention is to forgive and teach us, not to judge and punish us.”

    So when Jesus and Paul talk about people being judged and punished by the Christian god during the end of the world, they simply didn’t understand “God’s will”? But you guys do? How amazing!

    • Gary Calderone

      Like fundamentalists, you’re taking all of it literally and legalistically instead of in the context of its time and culture. Many of us prefer to see the Spirit of the work in its entirety instead cherry picking out parts to prove or disprove a point.

      • Herro

        Gary, so in the context of its time and culture they weren’t saying that their god would *actually* be judging and punishing? Yeah, right.

        • James Garcia

          Do you honestly believe that God would rather punish people than to forgive and teach them? Nowhere does that sentence say that God will NEVER judge or punish, it says his INTENTION is to forgive and teach, which, to the best of my knowledge, is why he sent Jesus to die for all of our sins… If you can so horribly misinterpret this sentence that is written in plain, simple, English then I shudder to think how you misinterpret the Bible and its message.

          • Herro

            James, I will be happy to admit that I’ve misunderstood them if they say that they don’t mean that their god doesn’t “judge and punish” people.

            It might be true to say that the god of the NT would prefer that people become Christians, but he’s going to (“has the will and intention to”) punish and judge the wicked by throwing them into a furnace of fire.

          • James Garcia

            That’s debatable. In the parable of the sheep and goats, the righteous “sheep” had no idea that they had done any good, but God said “whatever you’ve done to the least of these you’ve done for me.” To me, this suggests that anyone who has been out helping and loving others, whether they’ve accepted Jesus or not, will be accepted as righteous. The parable of the good Samaritan also suggest that those who have helped others in their time of need are considered righteous while those that considered themselves righteous actually weren’t. Jesus never said that the Samaritan was one of the chosen, and in fact implies the opposite. Please tell me, if ALL of mankind was condemned to die because of Adams sin (without ever having a choice in the matter) then why doesn’t Jesus’s sacrifice cover all of mankind’s sins (whether accepted or not?) Is Jesus sacrifice and payment for sin not powerful enough to save all of mankind whether they asked or not, while Adam’s sin was SO powerful that it condemned all of mankind without them ever having an option not to make Adam’s mistake? It doesn’t make sense. Jesus himself never says directly that men will go to hell for not believing in him, he states several times that they have already received their condemnation (they are ALREADY condemned) but that doesn’t mean he will refuse to save them. I can’t say for sure what lies after death, and neither can you. I choose to believe in Jesus Christ for my salvation, but I can’t believe that someone who has dedicated their lives to helping others will be condemned to burn in Hell simply because they never had a chance to accept Jesus. That’s a huge contradiction to a God that is supposed to be the very essence of Love. I also can’t believe that someone who was beaten and abused by supposed “Christians” would be condemned for rejecting their Christianity. Again, it flies in the face of an all loving God. You are welcome to believe what you want, but Jesus never said to preach hell-fire and damnation, in fact he said to do the opposite. Preach love, mercy, forgiveness, and said to help the needy (with no conditions added to that term.)

          • Herro

            I’m not interested in debating “faith vs works”. So let me rephrase: It’s clear that the god of the NT is going to (wills and intends to) punish and judge “some people” by throwing them into a furnace of fire.

            If the unfundamentalist Christians didn’t mean to deny this, then I have misinterpreted them.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    it may have been John. It may have been one of the people who help him administrate this page, especially as he’s quite busy overseeing or participating in multiple projects. I’ve noticed that people get a lot of leeway, and comments or commentators are only deleted after all attempts for positive dialog have been exhausted.


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