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Follow-Up to Yesterday’s Post

First of all, I just want to say thanks to everybody who commented on yesterday’s post (5/22).   I really appreciate you taking the time to read and to respond.    So I’d thought I’d do a quick follow-up today–mainly to the questions that were raised.

“Adtz” gave a great response to Julia’s question about the Israelites and their Canaanite origins.  I don’t have much to add to that.  Some scholars have suggested the possibility of a small band of escaped slaves who joined up with the Canaanite tribes, but hardly any credible scholar thinks that anything like the mass exodus portrayed in the Bible ever happened.   And  “Yahweh” appears to be the result of a merger between two earlier tribal gods “Ya” and “El.”

Julia, you also mentioned that you had trouble wrapping your mind around the Trinity.   Good for you!  I take that as a sign of sanity (and I’m not being facetious.)  Theological discussions about the interrelationships of the Persons of the Trinity are incomprehensible.   When you try to follow the logic of the Trinity, it always ends up reminding me of that old Willie Nelson song, “I”m My Own Grandpa.”    Of course the concept of the Trinity as we have it today emerged gradually in the early centuries of Christianity’s existence.  And in those early centuries various Christian groups had a broad range of opinions regarding the divine/human nature of Christ.

Chris Breman asked how others have worked through the process of leaving religion.    Some of you shared parts of your story, but if anybody wants to share more, I’m sure it would be helpful to others.  I’m convinced there are many secret skeptics out there.   (See “The Atheist at the Breakfast Table” in the latest issue of Psychology Today.)

Finally, I really liked John Stutzer’s description of a dinner in a VFW hall for volunteers fighting the 1993 Mississippi flood as the best “communion” he ever had.     A lot of great images and symbolism there.    Those kinds of moments can help us recognize and affirm a common humanity that transcends the tribal labels we so often use to define ourselves.   Christian communion has often been a vehicle for separating people, especially along doctrinal lines.  I’m all in favor of experiences that bring us together.

Thanks again, everybody, for the good conversation.

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