16 February, 2013

Q&A: More on Theism, Theological Influences

Q: Bishop, can you clarify your stance on theism in Thomaisne tradition? Are you arguing for a particular position as to the nature (or lack thereof) of God?

A: I am not arguing for a particular position on the existence or non-existence of a theistic God. If I am arguing for anything, and I am, it is for quiescence on the matter of the existence or non-existence of God. I am not particularly sympathetic toward speculative or religious thought in general. In very early Buddhist writings, Buddha talked about the idea of a View (diṭṭhi), a highly charged, experiential interpretation that exerts a strong influence on thought, perception, and action. Theism (the existence of a God that intervenes directly in human affairs) and what most people, to my mind, misunderstand as Atheism (the absolute non-existence of a God) are both Views and Attachment to Views is a cause of Delusion and Suffering.

This is something I would like to expand on at a later date, but I hope my brief answer is helpful.

Q: Who were your early theological influences?

A: I was deeply influenced by John Shelby Spong (particularly his 12 Theses and call for a New Reformation), Paul Tillich, Marcus Borg, Meister Eckhart, John of the Cross, and Francis of Assisi.

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