God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don't think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God.

— John Shelby Spong

The most staggering John Shelby Spong quotes that will add value to your life

When the dust settles and the pages of history are written, it will not be the angry defenders of intolerance who have made the difference. The reward will go to those who dared to step outside the safety of their privacy in order to expose and rout the prevailing prejudices.


I do assert that one prepares for eternity not by being religious and keeping the rules, but by living fully, loving wastefully, and daring to be all that each of us has the capacity to be.


All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is.

Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.


I could not believe that anyone who has read this book would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God. Have these people simply not read the text? Are they hopelessly misinformed? Is there a different Bible? Are they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naïveté?


Christianity is, I believe, about expanded life, heightened consciousness and achieving a new humanity. It is not about closed minds, supernatural interventions, a fallen creation, guilt, original sin or divine rescue.


The church is like a swimming pool. Most of the noise comes from the shallow end.


I think that anything that begins to give people a sense of their own worth and dignity is God.


The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.


Was Judas Iscariot a figure of history? I do not think so.

There is no mention of him in any source before the 8th decade.


So who is God? No one can finally say.

That is not within human competence. All we can ever say is how we believe we have experienced God, doing our best to dispel our human delusions. Let me try to do just that. I experience God as the source of life calling me to live fully and thus to respect life in every form as embodying the holy.


All religion seems to need to prove that it's the only truth.

And that's where it turns demonic. Because that's when you get religious wars and persecutions and burning heretics at the stake.


I don't want a God that would go around killing people's little girls.

Neither do I want a God who would kill his own son.


About John Shelby Spong

Quotes 189 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Clergyman
Birthday October 16

I look at American Christianity and I'm almost in despair.

I don't want to be identified with it. The Christian vote in America is an anti-abortion, anti-homosexual vote. I consider that to be anti-female and anti-gay, and I don't want to be identified with a God who is anti-anything.


The Bible is full of dreadful things.

There's a Psalm that says "Happy will you be when you take your enemy's children and dash their heads against the stones." Don't read that to me on Sunday morning and say "This is the word of the Lord." It's like that crazy man down in Alabama who wanted to put the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.


If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable.


I don't see Jesus as rescuing the fallen;

I see Jesus as expanding the potential of life. The primary reason the old idea of rescuing the fallen is no good is that there never was a time when we fell from perfection into sin.


You can't have a world where 50 percent of the people are dieting and 50 percent of the people are starving if you want stability.


There never was a time when we were created perfect and fell into sin and needed to be rescued. We are evolving people; we are not fallen people. We are not a little lower than the angels. We're a little higher than the apes. It's a very different perspective.


The great biblical tradition says that loving God and loving one's neighbor are not two separate actions but two sides of the same action. It was the prophet Amos who bore witness to the fact that divine worship is nothing but human justice being offered to God and human justice is nothing but divine worship being lived out.


The God of the Hebrews is a God that human language, we're not even supposed to speak the holy name. We were told in the Second Commandment we could make no images of this God, and I don't think that means just building idols, I think that means also trying to believe you've captured God in your words, in the Creeds, in the Scriptures.


I think we have to recover our spiritual nature.

The way we have interpreted Christianity does not do that.


There's no way a human being can escape his or her human-ness to be able to imagine God. We can talk about how we've experienced God, not what or who God is.


Papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy are the two ecclesiastical versions of this human idolatry. Both papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy require widespread and unchallenged ignorance to sustain their claims to power. Both are doomed as viable alternatives for the long- range future of anyone.


I learned early in life that you get places by having the right enemies.


I live on the other side of Charles Darwin and I can no longer see human light as having been created perfect and falling into sin, I see us rather emerging into higher and higher levels of consciousness and higher and higher levels of complication.


I don't think hell exists. I happen to believe in life after death but I don't think it's got a thing to do with reward and punishment. Religion is always in the control business and that's something which people don't really understand.


The demolishment of the power of organized Christianity in the Western world to finally realize the emancipation of women and give them the vote in 1920. Women couldn't even own property in their own names until the last quarter of the 19th century in America.


The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.


I admire our ancestors, whoever they were.

I think the first self-conscious person must have shaken in his boots. Because as he becomes self-conscious, he's no longer part of nature. He sees himself against nature. He looks at the vastness of the universe and it looks hostile.


Hysterical fundamentalism is not the way into the future; it is the last gasp of the past.


I find it fascinating that Paul [the apostol], writing to the Galatians, responds to the question, "What does it mean to live in Christ?" by saying, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."


Whatever diminishes life is evil, and whatever enhances life is good.


The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.


My sense is if the Episcopal Church can't stand challenge within its own ranks, then it is not a church I would want to be a member of anyway.


Terrorism is a real despair. These are people for whom life has been so negative that they're willing to die if they can take down some of their enemies.


If you begin to give people hope that there is a brighter future, there is a new tomorrow, then the people who were yesterday's terrorists become tomorrow's elected officials and they're part of the system.


To have a great university library near you with plenty of archives of all the journals that you want to research in the twentieth century is a remarkable asset, and I spend a day, maybe two days a week in that library. I just plain love it.


My hope is that a religious consciousness will begin to rise, one based on enhancing humanity, grasping life in all of its complex wonder, having the courage to live fully, to love wastefully and to be all that each of us can be and that it will express itself in our national life in more earth centered, justice enhancing and humane ways.


The Sins of Scripture is an interesting title;

most people don't put sins and scripture together in the same title. It jars people.


The God understood as a father figure, who guided ultimate personal decisions, answered our prayers, and promised rewards and punishment based upon our behavior was not designed to call anyone into maturity.


We are in a survival mentality, and that's hard-wired into our humanity, because we are the winners of an evolutionary struggle of millions and millions and millions of years.


Jesus' power is the power of human wholeness that ultimately opens, invites and enables human beings to step beyond defense lines where incomplete humanity always hides in order to experience full humanity.


Oh the Christian church has encouraged enormous immaturity among the peoples who are its primary adherence.


The Bible Belt, the religious South, is the section of the country that practiced slavery until the war made them give it up. They practiced segregation. They practiced lynchings. I don't see any great value in that.


Moral judgment is not life-giving; love that transcends the boundaries of judgment as Jesus' love did, is.


It's not going to be a straight upward progression, but there's no doubt that consciousness is growing. Prejudices die regularly in the Western world. We don't burn witches anymore.


Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, says, "From the rising of the sun to its setting, God's name shall be great among the Gentiles." This encompasses the whole world. Suddenly it's not the Jews against the Gentiles, or my tribe against your tribe.


In the private arena, you can do whatever you wish, and people do.

These crazy evangelical preachers get on the radio and TV and say incredible things.


...death is ultimately a dimension of life through which we journey into timelessness.