Ciarán Mc Ardle asks of Randal Rauser, "How is 'Progressive Christianity' Substantially Different from Atheism?"

This came to my attention by my friend Ciarán Mc Ardle. He sends me an email from time to time. Hopefully you'll like his comments below on this interview:
This is an interesting video from Randal Rauser and Mark Karris on how Christianity was a nasty Hellfire-and-damnation cult for most of its history, and the psychological damage caused by this damnation cult.

One of the reasons why I love The Necessity of Atheism by David Marshall Brooks (1902-1994) is because he describes how humanity has become more adept at creating unfalsifiable gods.

It used to be that if a wiley priest wanted to invent an unfalsifiable God, all he needed to do was put Him on top of an unclimbable mountain. Thus the peak of Olympus, Horeb, and Sinai, were all residences for gods.

Today, though, to make a God unfalsifiable, said God must be immaterial, timeless, transcendent, immanent... i.e. something that evades all means of phyiscally detecting him.

And this, I feel, is what Randal Rauser and Karris have done. Their God is "panentheistic", which means that their God is reality itself. If we define God as reality itself, then, sure: God exists. If we define God as a pizza, then sure: millions of Gods exist.

Karris in this video strongly states that the Christian God is merely a projection into the sky, of our hopes, fears, ideals and prejudices. An atheist would agree with this statement.

It is like Jordan Peterson who said that God is a fictional character... and yet refuses the term, "atheist". Even I am guilty of this. I don't call myself an atheist because I am not a strict naturalist, I sometimes pray, and I like to consider the Reality itself as a god in embryo. However, do I believe in a transcendent Classically theistic God? No! Do I believe in a God separate from His creation—the definition of a transcendent God—no!

So at this point, I am not really sure how Karris's position differs substantially from that of John Loftus's. And if Randal Rauser is not really pushing back, then it is hard to discern how Rauser's position differs substantially from Loftus's at this point.

Sure, Jesus Loves Canaanites, if "Jesus" is nothing more than a projection of Randal Rauser's mind!

This is why Rauser is one to watch. In recent videos he is sailing very close to the atheist wind. Rauser is even antitheistic towards versions of Christianity that take the Bible's command to beat their children with a rod. In Ethiopia, the oldest Christian country, it is common, according to Rauser, for Ethiopians to have scarred backs from when their parents beat them with rods.

Rauser is antitheistic towards Alicia Childers's version of Christianity.

Perhaps one day, Rauser will sail just a little too close to the atheist wind, and discover that he is, in fact, an atheist.

According to Loftus, Rauser seems headed for Most Reverend Bishop Shelby Spong's (1931-2021) version of Christianity. Spong, despite his being an Anglican Bishop, was an atheist.

--Ciarán Mc Ardle [LinkedIn profile].