God Is Not A Christian

I just came across a post that included a quote from Bishop John Shelby Spong where he says:

God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created …

I love it! 

Only problem is … in my opinion, he didn’t take it far enough.

Humans didn’t just create the systems, they also created GOD

I’m pretty sure Bishop Spong would disagree with me (see his bio below), but hey … Truth is Truth.

As an added note, Bishop Spong has also stated that HELL doesn’t exist … that it’s an invention of the church to control people with fear. Wow! This man definitely has his head on straight. (No doubt this is why he’s been described as a “liberal Christian.”)

Oh, and he also said that religion is primarily a search for security — a way to stave off anxiety over the unknown.

Who woulda’ thought?

Someone else felt similarly. Paul Tillich, a Christian existentialist philosopher, put forth the idea that humans need something to overcome their fear of death … to help them subdue the terrible dread of their demise.

And for thousands … guess who fills the bill?

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember Spong’s words that “God is not a Christian.” Thus, what happens at “the end” may not be what some are expecting.

(I must confess. Bishop Spong actually said a bit more in the above quote. I just cherry-picked the most relevant part.) 😈

John Shelby “Jack” Spong is a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church. From 1979 to 2000 he was Bishop of Newark. He is a liberal Christian theologian, religion commentator and author. He calls for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief away from theism and traditional doctrines.


34 thoughts on “God Is Not A Christian

  1. Every time a parent tells a child about their heavenly father, another heaven is created in a child’s mind. The pervasive delusion of the supernatural is a hard one to let go of. GROG

    Liked by 5 people

    • Who knows how far along these lines he actually went, or dared to admit to himself that he went, in the privacy of his own mind. A surprising number of clergy develop serious doubts about religion over the course of their lives — they think about it more than most people, and are thus better positioned to see its flaws. But it’s hard to acknowledge, even to yourself, that religion is just make-believe — when your salary depends on it.

      Liked by 7 people

      • In the catholic church, it’s called a ‘crisis of faith’ and priests who confess doubts are put on leave from their public churchly duties, until they either recover their faith, or leave the church. My cousin, a Jesuit, hit one of those plateaus (he had been a teaching priest) and ended up an alcoholic and died of MS, eventually.

        I don’t think it’s that uncommon, and many clergy just muddle on through, since they have a relatively permanent job (with decent pay), and a place to live. [said the realist]

        Liked by 3 people

      • Actually, I had occasion to live a short while with a priest in Poland in the 80s. He drank himself to sleep every night because he knew what he was preaching was bullshit. He told me that when he was in seminary school they had to take acting lessons as to how to remain serious while standing at the pulpit. He hated his job completely, and he hated himself for not having the courage or strength to walk away. It was the only work he knew, and his birth family depended on him to bring in the cash for all of them. This was while Poland was still under Russian rule.
        I counselled him to grow some balls and walk away, but he would rather die of alcoholism than abandon his parents who had spent all their money putting him through seminary. And all his friends from school were drunkards too, he said. But every Sunday they sobered up and preached like their lives depended on it. I guess that was their truth.
        I lost touch when I returned to Canada, but in my years of alcohol counselling I never met a man as anguished as him. He was robbing the poor of their petty funds, and using his share to buy the ceremonial wine he was drinking by the case. If he is somehow still alive today, I hope he found a way out of his predicament.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It would seem that a majority of humans NEED to believe that there is someone in charge, that there is method behind the madness, order behind the chaos. I do love the Bishop’s quote … it shows that not all religious ‘leaders’ are completely delusional.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Hello Nan. A long time ago I read somewhere the idea that we all create our own afterlife. As Grog said we all have our own idea of Heaven. The theory was that the mind is powerful and creates the place / path your essence goes to when you die. So if you focus on hell, you create that afterlife for your self. If you are focused on streets of gold you go there. Now I see it is a silly idea but at the time I was really into it and created a fantastic world to go to after I died. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

  4. As some have said, all gods of all types, demons, devils angels, ghosts and monsters that live under the bed all come from between the ears of the believer.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. During my “transition” if you can call it that, and it’s the first time I’ve used that term in relation to changing my mind about my former belief system, I read 2 of his books and neither impressed me much. I was less impressed when listening to a radio interview of him when he mocked those who do not believe in a “God.” He may be a liberal Christian, however, as I learned myself the hard way, they have their fundamentalists/legalists too. His current thoughts may have evolved along the way and so friendlier to the agnostic atheist now. I don’t know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Perhaps you didn’t care for him because you were still in the “throes” of deconversion? IOW, you were beginning to see the fallacy behind it all, but hadn’t quite reached the point of no return.

      To me, the fact that he “calls for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief away from theism and traditional doctrines” says a lot about where he’s coming from.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Another ex fundamentalist now an agnostic is Bart Erhman…has written lots of books..I believe he is a religious historian professor at Duke university in NC, a very liberal area of the South, I might add.
        I believe his study into religious history is what turned him around into a reality check.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Come on Nan, you are way behind the times. Quakers haven’t believed in hell for almost 400 years, which was about the same time they threw out the concept of original sin and the authority of the Bible. I know of very few Christians in Aotearoa New Zealand who believe in the existence of hell, although judging by the the number of Christians on the internet who do, this isn’t the case in some parts of the world. Spong would scarcely pass as a liberal Christian here. He’s almost mainstream. God the deity died a long time ago.

    Liked by 5 people

    • As you’re expressed before, Barry, your “religion” is much more pleasing and actually seems to be made up of some common sense. But for many, Spong is a traitor to the faith … the True Christian™ faith, that is. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • The ideas like those of Spong, Geering and Cupitt have been in wide circulation for more than 50 years, widely respected even if disagreed with, at least in this part of the world. Liberal/progressive Christian thinkers have been open to the concept since the enlightenment.

        I appreciate that most Americans are Christian and a sizable portion of them are fundamentalists, whereas here Christians are a minority and fundamentalists make up but a small proportion of them, but I suspect Spong has more supporters in the US than than you realise. I don’t know why they don’t speak out more, but as I follow a few closet atheists who are afraid to come out to family, friends and colleagues about their lack of belief, perhaps there’s only tokenism towards religious freedom there..

        I’m curious why your “religion” instead of your religion. I’m not sure whether I should be offended or pleased 🙂


        • No offense intended, Barry! It’s just that your religion (no quotes) is so much better than the religion most people are familiar with here in the states. In fact, from many of your comments, I consider it more of a personal faith … more like a way of living that just happens to have religious tones.

          So after my explanation, I hope you will now be “pleased.” 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • My attitude towards religion is quite typical in these parts, although I’m probably more passionate about it than most.

          Most Kiwis think that religion is a personal matter (fundamentalists and evangelicals excepted). Surveys here give all major religions (except one), animism and atheism an approval rating of 90%. The exception, Islam, has been lower at 80% but has been climbing, especially after March 15.

          As a Kiwi, I find the reference to God by public figures, be they politicians, sportspeople, actors or others to be cringe worthy. If you listen to NZ public figures, you will almost never hear reference to any deity. Even Obama mentioned God much more often than a typical Kiwi is comfortable with.

          I think it comes down to the speaker using language that implies that the existence of God is a “fact” rather than being part of a belief system, and whatever the speaker’s belief, only a minority of the listeners will hold similar beliefs. I appreciate that in America, this is less likely to be the case.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I do note Barry that there is plenty of support for Israel Folau in NZ. The religious nuts from everywhere seem to come out of the woodwork and donate money to a multi-millionaire rugby player who belongs to a non-mainstream Christian cult that most would likely not agree with, but because his media discriminates against gays they will ignore that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t confuse the issue of religious bigotry of Folau and his supporters with that issue of free speech, for which he also has a lot of support. Whether or not an employer has the right to stifle the personal opinions of its employees in the public arena is an important issue.


        • Yes I agree personal opinions of employees in the public arena is a grey area. I do believe with entertainment industries like the NRL and Rugby Australia they need to involve everyone in the public arena, they need bums on seats. As it is he has not just offended homosexuals but all the others in his list because he assumes his god is going to send me to hell as though I would actually acknowledge or care about this ridiculous god.

          I wonder what would happen if a Muslim were to openly claim all Christians will be sent to hell by Allah if he was a high profile athlete.


        • I’m on his list too 🙂

          Hopefully it makes no difference whether one is Christian, Muslim, Animist or atheist, speech that is hateful should always be challenged. While there were a few Pacific Island sportspeople and Pacific Island congregations who backed him, all mainline churches, and many politicians and public figures were openly hostile to Folau’s stance.

          Unfortunately, Folau’s views are widely held among those of Pacific Island descent, who are mainly evangelical Christians (thank you America), and of course the fundamentalist congregations here. It’s saddening that the media often choose to represent Folau’s views as the Christian view, when it actually is a minority view.


    • Thank you! 💖💖💖

      Even though I love to write, saying what I want to say in a way that doesn’t “offend” can be tricky. Comments such as yours bolster my spirits.

      Liked by 1 person

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