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SO WHAT IS LIBERAL OR PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY?
I basically use the terms liberal and progressive Christianity interchangeably. There are some differences, but I think these ideas are very similar. Thus I will use the term liberal. I also chose to use the term liberal because I find it desirable to take back the term from the misuse and abuse to which it has succumbed (see my post on Liberalism for more information). Generally liberal or progressive Christianity is different from conservative Christianity in the following ways (these are not the only differences but perhaps the most important):
- No fear of science. Thus, no antiscience sentiment. We do not find a need to go against the theory of evolution or other established science.
- We do not take the Bible literally. We believe the Bible is to be read depending on the type of writing that is represented such as a founding myth, poetry, letter, wisdom writing, etc…. Sometimes this requires an allegorical reading; and sometimes it requires a literal reading.
- We do not believe that Christianity is the only pathway to God. We believe in respecting other people’s beliefs.
- We give special credence to Jesus’s commandments to 1) love God above all else and 2) love our neighbors as ourselves. Thus we do not discriminate against races, classes, genders, sexual orientations, religious beliefs, age, etc….
- We believe that God calls us to be good stewards of the Earth and to use its resources with the idea that there needs to be resources available to the generations that come after us. We believe in cutting pollution and taking action to curb climate change and its potential threats to humanity.
So in a nutshell these 5 principles are what I believe differentiate liberal or progressive Christianity from conservative Christianity.