John Shuck, a Presbyterian pastor, doesn’t believe in the God of the Bible. And yet, he claims to be a Christian. Which makes me wonder, “What is a Christian?”
He wrote on an atheist website what he does believe. It goes like this, in his words:
- “Religion is a human construct
- The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution
- Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend
- God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force
- The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being
- Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife”
OK, everyone has a right to their own beliefs. But, if you don’t believe in the Bible, or God, or Jesus or an afterlife, why would you want to be a pastor? Why would you want to be called a Christian? I don’t get it. Besides, this would take ALL the fun out of the Bible Stories. The Bible is just… boring fake stories then. He goes on to write:
“In short, I regard the symbols of Christianity from a non-supernatural point of view. And yet, even though I hold those beliefs, I am still a proud minister. But I don’t appreciate being told that I’m not truly a Christian.”
I like writing Bizarre Bible Stories much more than Bizarre Pastor Stories.
John Calvin, of Presbyterian fame, must be rolling over in his grave. But no, there IS an afterlife.
Could John be shouting obscenities down from heaven? Is that allowed? No?
Curiosity being what it is, I wondered what a normal Sunday service must be like at the church where he is pastor. What do they read if the Bible is only a legend? It seems like any “good book” would do. What do they sing about if there is no Amazing Grace? Personally, I’d miss Bohemian Rhapsody – my assumption it’s banned since it’s about the afterlife. But we don’t sing Queen often in our church anyway. Back on topic – they are active in social reforms, and there is still an operation to oversee, so they must have an offering. Is that what makes it “Christian?” I sure hope not. He gives a hint what his church is like when he writes,
“Someone quipped that my congregation is BYOG: Bring Your Own God. I use that and invite people to “bring their own God” — or none at all. While the symbol “God” is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking. That permission to be theological do-it-yourselfers is at the heart of belief-less Christianity.”
The thing is, it isn’t belief-less. It’s belief-different. Not believing in an afterlife means you believe there are no eternal rewards or justice for your actions. Not believing in a divine authority means you believe you are your own authority. My kids would have loved that.
Bring Your Own God is curiously close to the lie the serpent told Eve, “You will be like God.”
Same preaching, different preacher.
It’s the same lie. Spread it if you want – shoot most of the planet probably agrees – but why from the pulpit of a Presbyterian church?
That word “Christian.” I do not think it means what you think it means.