I have been listening to Bishop Spong on New Dimensions. This link may still work briefly. His message is crisp and clear and he is a humanist. That makes a lot more sense than being a literal fundamentalist. His Christian humanism makes sense. BUT, I think he leaves something right out of the picture. The phrase he uses “emerging apes not fallen angels” bought that home to me.
His words arrive as I am in the middle of reflections about teleology – see the several items below on this theme. Somewhere there I reflect on the idea of fractals, that a segment of coast line can reflect the pattern of the whole coast. That is really no different from us being able to see trends – these things are often described using graphs and so on and they isolate one factor that can be measured. Holistic mapping is more complex. Numbers don’t do it.
OK, imagine a graph from ape to human… where does it go? That is not a steady curve, it is exponential! Where does it reach to? Fallen angel… angel sums it up in a way that emerging ape does not.
We have that image in our mind, that archetype of a divine being which somehow reflects not just the existential pain of being conscious creatures, but the sense of where it is leading – even if it is a metaphor to describe that sense. Angels may not be literally there, but they are religious art. We have that Angel Art in the movie “Wings of Desire”, why does he need to throw out the art with the bath water of fundamentalism?
Perhaps I am judging him too harshly on this one phrase. I liked what he said about Christ – whose image he does not kill off. Of course his social and political values are fine too.