Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fully Human: the final frontier

For a man whose blog that mocks the silliness of religion's dogma and how it misses the point, I do have to hail to one who gets the point loud and clear. The thing is, he's the one who made me get it too: the Rev. Bishop John Shelby Spong.

In my time as a religious person, I came to a point where the prison bars that were the dogmatic beliefs of my religion were so damning to who I really was as a person, that I tried to allow a disease to take my life. (In actuality I didn't have the disease, nor did it take my life, obviously). Then I found Spong's book, Why Christianity Must Change or Die and knew by the title that I must read it.

Spong is the man known for taking the daring stance that the bible is not the word of God at all. For that, he was attacked, threatened, and yet managed to keep his post and inspire revolutionary stances in his religion. As you can see by the photo to the right, my atheism and liberation from dogma is thanks to him, but my atheism does not in any way mean that I am a hater of those who still hold a religion dear, as is constantly inferred.

And what I found in his recent video, going around the internet (and wowwing other atheists as well) is that he has a common note with another religious figure whom I also hugely respect:

Compare his humanness point to the Wiccan author, Starhawk:

"Because the Goddess is manifest in human beings, we do not try to escape our humanness, but seek to become fully human. The task of feminist religion is to help us learn those things that seem so simple, yet are far more demanding than the most extreme patriarchal disciplines. It is easier to be celibate than to be fully alive sexually. It is easier to withdraw from the world than to live in it; easier to be a hermit than to raise a child; easier to repress emotions than to feel them and express them; easier to meditate in solitude than to communicate in a group; easier to submit to another's authority than place trust in oneself. It is not easy to be... one of the Wise; nor is it safe, comfortable, "laid back," mellow, uplifting, or a guarantee of peace of mind. It requires openness, vulnerability, courage, and work. It gives no answers: only tasks to be done, and questions to consider. In order to truly transform our culture, we need that orientation toward life, toward the body, toward sexuality, ego, will, toward all the muckiness and adventure of being human."
Starhawk, from her book The Spiral Dance

I happily stand with people who take religion to these ends.