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My Journey

By Jim B ~

From the mid 50s to the early 60s my education was in Catholic seminary environs. Giant stepping forward in time over some very slow progress, to Easter Sunday, 1982, the UU minister at the church I went to that day titled her talk, “The Myth of the Resurrection”. I don’t remember any of the content of her talk, probably because it was still such a shock to my emotional being at the time, no matter how intellectually I was was in the process of coming to the same conclusion about the concept. Since that time, the emotional shock from the idea of that talk’s title has diminished quite a bit, and the intellectual conviction of its truth has moved ahead accordingly, probably by inverse correlation.

I eventually joined that congregation ten years later, beginning my reveling in a community where the word “god” was mostly absent (and the word “sin” was totally absent). The minister at that time brought Secular Humanism to my attention. I put that on the back burner, simmering, until a little over a year ago, when I formally joined the American Humanist Association (while still attending UU for the community). I quickly learned how much I was in harmony with Humanist beliefs, convictions, etc.

In one of the weekly emails from the AHA was an article by Dr. Valerie Tarico. I have much enjoyed reading her articles, one group in particular is her eight parter on “Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science”. And in another one of her articles she had a link to exchristian.net.

So now one of my latest gratitudes is to her and to the many people who maintain and write for this site.

During this period I have also come across other sources that have provided me with affirming and advancing thoughts. A very learned one is Daniel Dennett’s work, “Breaking the Spell”, a marvelous philosophical presentation on the human history of religion. Another is a PBS airing of a two part Frontline documentary, “From Jesus to Christ: the First Christians” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/watch/ , watch the clips of Paula Fredriksen followed by Dominic Crossan in Part Two, the last ten minutes or so in the first half hour)*. To complete the human attraction to the number three, is a book titled “Man Made God”, by Barbara Walker, a sort of anthology of myths from around the world.

These and many others I have used to further decrease my emotional fear of retribution and replace it with letting in so much evidence of how much christian belief is based on the myths and allegories from so many centuries and so many similarities in those myths among global cultures. I was quite “gaga” listening to Dr. Crossan’s thoughts about what he thinks the gospel authors were trying to communicate versus how they’re being interpreted today. The historical discrepancies in what’s been handed down to us are just too blatant to have ever been intended as actual historical fact. Whatever it took to “exhort the troops” was fair game (perhaps a precursor to “poetic license”?).

Another growth path is in my feelings of gratitude for living during the era when the concept of god is on the wane - the present US political upheaval being a manifestation of the principle that for every action there’s a reaction. I hope I live to see the follow up synthesis, but at the moment I’m somewhat skeptical.

So now I have come to feel something that a rather small but growing minority also feels, that the concept of god(s) has been quite a figment of the human imagination.

*Postscript: See the recent news about a (possible) fourth to fifth century CE Latin text by one Fortunatianus of Aquileia saying virtually the same thing as Profs. Crossan and Fredriksen. Even if its authenticity is questionable, the content is apropo no matter what its origin.


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