Our History

(Copied from the Canberra web site: www.progressivereligion.org.au)

 

The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought was founded in July 2002 in Canberra, Australia, with a further Chapter established in Sydney in 2004. Each Centre is open to any and to all who wish to explore a more progressive and open theology, in a safe environment. They stand in deep contrast to a general tendency which often requires a theology be built on what should be believed. As such, folk who will find comfort in each of the Centres will be those who either (i) remain in the institutional church but find their progressive theology not reflected in much of the local church's thinking, or (ii) have already stepped outside the institution and are 'exiles' or members of the 'church alumni association' yet looking for a friendly and safe environment in which to share discussions and push boundaries. On this site you will find information on various events being staged, some articles from our presenters, listings of resources you might like to check out further, as well as For Sale resources. You will also find links to several other 'progressive' Centres, who with CPRT, form an informal progressive religious network.

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LETTERS

 Magic Blinkers Off     

 Our long standing member, Walter Pearce, has written jointly to Noel and to CPRT in response to Noel’s article in the Spring Bulletin.

 “Hello ! 

Thank you Noel for your piece ‘Why I can no longer say ”The Nicene Creed”’. And thank you Ken and Eric for bringing it to our attention.

 I was brought up in a church which gave no credence to the Nicene, so it’s no problem for me to just read it and – with the magic blinkers off – see what a political, pseudo-legal, pressure-cooker, committee gobbledegook we are looking at.  But non-the-less I have thought the subject through over the years, and I have delved into the thinking you have described.  Your thoughts are well taken. Well written – a succinct and useful essay to file for future reference.

 

 Thank you all,

Walter  

Something True or Something One Holds to be True?
This letter came from John Neilson in response to our notice of the March 19, 2011 Regional Conference in the Spring Bulletin.

                        “It was very interesting to see that you folk are in touch with Lloyd Geering. I had no idea he was still alive. He's the guy that started all this questioning, at least in this part of the world. The fact that a majority of his peers found him to be "not guilty" of heresy says a lot about the freedom to explore your beliefs which prevailed in New Zealand away back in the 60s.  The personal growth movement started in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. - the Esalen Institute and a guy called Gerald Judd, if my memory serves me correctly.  It's purpose was, I understand, to increase "real" communication among church members. No doubt that  included questioning the conventional beliefs of the time.

My mid-life problems with conventional religion centred around the inconsistency of the God of All Virtue requiring his subjects to worship him. It seemed the antithesis of the humility He exhorted His adherents to show. It wasn't until many years later that I came to the belief that He was made up by mankind to solve their existential problems . . . .  to unscrew the inscrutable as one old Negro preacher put it.

Even the Buddhists . . .  followers of a way of life rather than a religion . . .  couldn't help turning it into a form of worship. Poor old Buddha must be turning in his grave to see the way they carry on about him.

But his idea about the one-ness of the universe and everything/one in it has a great deal of appeal to me.  The realization that I (and you and them) are the "entire going on of it all" and our individual selves are mind-created manifestations of it all, frees one  from all that other stuff, and engenders a great compassion for the poor people still caught up in their misery associated with attachment. The modern gurus who have brought the mysticism of the East to the western world, and reinterpreted it in modern language, have, to my mind, done us a great service.

One of the most important things for "believers" to understand, and the fundamentalists just don't get it, is that a belief is not "something which is true" in an absolute sense. It is "something the believer holds to be true".  Which explains how people at opposite ends of an argument (or a war) can hold diametrically opposing beliefs about the same set of facts.  The writers of "South Pacific" encapsulated it beautifully in the song "You have to be taught" . . . . before it's too late, to hate all the people your relatives hate".

Kind regards, John.

News from Ian Mavor 

We have received Ian Mavor’s generous permission to circulate copies of his address, “Building on Pr-Modern, Modern and Post-Modern Insights to achieve an Integral Ethics”.  As this is a weighty document, interested members should contact Eric for an electronic copy. 

After speaking at our last Regional Gathering Ian flew to England to visit his daughter Louisa and to spend time with her while she continued to receive chemotherapy for her present health situation. He writes, “Your loving and prayerful thoughts for her would be appreciated. Louisa is a Lecturer in Phys Ed Teaching Methods at Loughborough University in the Midlands, and Warden of Telford Hall on campus”