Sonntag, 8. März 2009

Religious Liberalism

UU theologian James Luther Adams referred to "the Five Smooth Stones of Liberalism." In brief Adam's five smooth stones are:
(1) The conviction that revelation is not sealed. Answering now to our endeavor, truth and right are still revealed. Scripture is useful, but never God's final word. [This is why we say that we have a "living tradition."]
(2) Relationships between people should be covenantal. That is, they should rest on mutuality and persuasion as much as possible, not on coercion and power-over.
(3) We share a human obligation to work toward what Dr. King called "the Beloved Community" of love and justice.
(4) Merely thinking ourselves virtous and well-intentioned won't get us there. We must forgo notions of the immaculate conception of our own virtue and instead practice the organization of power and the power of organization in order to realize the social incarnation of the good we love.
(5) Within all the universe provides and with the openness of history, we are never justified in an ultimate pessimism, but must ever keep faith with the future.
from: "The Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism", in: James Luther Adams, "On Being Human Religiously". Beacon Press, Boston. 1976.

"The Rev. William Sloan Coffin writes that,
On the religious side, liberals believe that the integrity of love is more important than the purity of dogma. Dogma is a sign post, love is a hitching post. Liberals contend that we should sharpen our minds, not narrow them. We understand that.... faith, far from clearing up uncertainty, makes it possible to live with uncertainty. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, cannot bear uncertainty. They indulge in what psychiatrists call "premature closure". .... Liberals contend that one of the most wonderful things about life is to act wholeheartedly without absolute certainty. (World, Vol. V., No.1, p. 6)."

"There is no way that we can inerrantly know the mind of God, how ever we may conceptualize it. For us, the fallible to claim infallibility; for the finite to claim perfect understanding of the infinite is, quite simply, idolatry. The setting up of something less than the ultimate in the place of the ultimate. Therefore things like claims of scriptural literalism and inerrancy are not only illogical, they are arrogant. If there is a sacrilege in liberal religion it is this type of claim."

The sermon 'What is Liberal Religion and Why should I care?' by Rev. Patrick Price is very interesting with regard to the building blocks of liberal religion

"Already Dr [William Ellery] Channing had passed beyond the position of his youth, and he recognized that once liberalism became static and systematized, it, too would become an orthodoxy….Liberal religion must not…shut the door on new truths, must not rest, but rather must ‘submit to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion.’….The bible of tomorrow has not been written, is not completed. (Challenge of a Liberal Faith, by George Marshall, p.23)."

Citation from the sermon 'What is Liberal Religion?' by Rev. Kimi Riegel.

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