Seven Points to Unite Christians and Other Spiritual People
copyright © 2008 by Howard Pepper
The following are concepts that can be agreed upon by Christians of all but the literalist or dogmatic type and, if taken seriously, will help unite Christians with many spiritually-oriented people not comfortable in the Christian fold.
1. Biblical literalism is a stage of spiritual development that can be transcended with no spiritual or moral loss.
2. Visualized-result prayer, done with feeling and intention, is equally effective regardless of the worldview or theology of the pray-er.
3. All major religions, including Christianity, have developed in similar ways, borrowing from each other; and they constantly change.
4. The growth rate of early Christianity has been equaled numerous times; no mass conversions are needed to account for it, or effects that could only come from miracles or other divine intervention.
5. The same motivations toward expansion and the same theology could have developed in early Christianity whether or not Jesus actually rose bodily from the dead.
6. Receiving the benefits of any atoning or transfoming work that may have been accomplished by the life or death of Christ does not require acceptance of any particular beliefs, including: 1) disputed claims such as his bodily resurrection; 2) abstract theology such as the virgin birth or deity of Christ; 3) future expectations such as a rapture or second coming, Armageddon, or a millennium.
7. The image of Jesus each of us holds is not so much a reflection of the Jesus presented in the Gospels as it is a reflection of our idea, culturally and personally, of a perfect human and activist, leading toward the ideal for ourselves and humanity. This idealized Jesus looks different in different branches or denominations of Christianity. However, the process works roughly equally in all. It even works similarly among many non-Christians such as the “spiritual but not religious.”