Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

John Shelby Spong

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Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

Eternal Life A New Vision Beyond Religion Beyond Theism Beyond Heaven and Hell Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life A New Visi

  • Title: Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell
  • Author: John Shelby Spong
  • ISBN: 9780060778422
  • Page: 358
  • Format: Paperback
  • Drawing on a lifetime of wisdom, New York Times bestselling author and controversial religious leader John Shelby Spong continues to challenge traditional Christian theology in Eternal Life A New Vision In this remarkable spiritual autobiography about his lifelong struggle with the questions of God and death, he reveals how he ultimately came to believe in eternal life.

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      Posted by:John Shelby Spong
      Published :2018-012-22T19:58:23+00:00

    One thought on “Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell

    1. Fatima on said:

      the book as the writer menrioned is his internal autobiography"spirtual" and journey to answer the Q:is there a life after death?he answered with Yes!let us go through his specualtionsSecond chapter composed on the idea that life is product of "chance" this part creats the consequence of "life & death" as if its small experience of the "life & deceasds" of the univers is if its "apart" parts,then reaching the conclusion of this chapter that human life moved from being coiencedence to Con [...]

    2. Andrew Skretvedt on said:

      An imperfect book with some valuable insights.Two stars for the introductory chapters on death. These are awesome perspective! Life gets meaning because it's finite.One star for Spong's atheistic argument against religion. One of priesthood makes the case that some of the things we do in the name of The Lord, are just plain silly when you get right down to it. Worse, they cause harm. Unlike some other fabulous books from the atheist perspective (The God Delusion, Breaking the Spell, The End of F [...]

    3. Joe Henry on said:

      Full disclosure: I have been a big Spong fan for years; his intellectual integrity and courageous faith are an inspiration to me. Often, when reading his stuff, I have the realization, "Yes! That really resonates with and well expresses my thoughts/feelings." The two occasions when I have heard him in person and his writings have been a big blessing in my life.That said, my initial reaction to this book was that somehow it does not seem as solidly supported and developed as his work that I had p [...]

    4. Allie on said:

      I should really give ETERNAL LIFE: A NEW VISION 2 stars, but because it majorly enlightens me at this moment in life, I give it 4.Now, this is the first of Bishop Spong's that I've ever read and I can sense that it's definitely not his best and that he's probably expressed most of these ideas in his bajillion other works. But ETERNAL LIFE is a great introduction to him because it's an easy-to-read, interesting synthesis, a spiritual autobiography combined with an interpretive spiritual biography [...]

    5. Lee Harmon on said:

      For all you Spong fans who were beginning to grow frustrated at his vagueness, this book tackles an important subject head on. What are liberal Christians (at least those in the Spong mold) supposed to make of the Bible's promise of eternal life?We needn't depend upon the supernatural in order to grasp eternal life, for all life is deeply linked. Spong quotes Einstein's provocative claim to explain: "I feel myself so much a part of everything living that I am not the least concerned with the beg [...]

    6. Robert on said:

      In this book, Spong critiques Christian fundamentalism and believes that instead of fundamentalism satisfying a desire for truth, it instead is geared toward satisfying a need for security and helping to quench the existential anxieties buried within us. This is perhaps why hypocrisy, bigotry, and prejudice are hidden from the conscious minds of those who require dogmatic certainty. Furthermore, according to Spong, this cannot be the path to freedom, wholeness, and the participation of love. He [...]

    7. Craig Bergland on said:

      While the book tends to bog down early on, and Spong recounts at some length the development of human life and consciousness from the big bang on (perhaps my perception was colored by the fact that I have heard that story so many times before), the book definitely turns a corner at about the halfway point and still earns five stars from me. He accurately describes what I believe is the essential evolutionary spiritual task of our day - moving from an understanding of God as an external, interven [...]

    8. Jan on said:

      If you are comfortable with your religious faith, this isn't the book for you. If you have always been troubled by things the church told you to believe or ways your religion told you to behave, this is a thoughtful journey that explores looking at life by going through religion and coming out the other side. There are enough parallels to my own life's path for it to speak to me. If I ever still consider myself a "Christian" it is because of the writings of John Shelby Spong.

    9. Jim Lavis on said:

      “Religion is dead.” Wow, this is a bold statement. John Shelby is certainly a scholar when it comes to Contemporary Theology, and I’ve never read anything so blatantly simple in my 30 years of studying world religions. I respect his work and hold him in the highest of esteem, but I’m not sure that I would have presented these views and beliefs in the way that he does in this book. For example, in the fourth chapter, John reflects back to his childhood mindset to explain how he as a child [...]

    10. Mikki Fisher on said:

      An excellent book which challenges us to think beyond the confines of the 'box' called Religion, whatever that belief system may be. Letting go of the fear of dying, embracing life and living well, is the key to going through the physical into the mystical, something I've long known to be true - and therefore working towards a 'good death' through a life well-lived, death which is simply the doorway to the Eternal Life. If this seems a bit nebulous or 'woo-woo' it's not, but I'll leave other rea [...]

    11. Joseph on said:

      This was my first Spong book and it was okay. I could only recommend it to a post Christian who has gone through deconstruction. He spends significant ink in articulating (not arguing for) his nonorthodox beliefs. While I shared most of his conclusions hearing him assert them didn't do much for me. I wanted to hear more about how he understands the meaning of death and the after life. He says that he believes he will exist eternally (not in the traditional sense) but he didn't deliver here for m [...]

    12. Linda on said:

      Not as good as two other of Spong's books: "Why Christianity Must Change or Die" and "The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic". Eternal Life presents Spong's personal views on literal theism and death/loss as well as the possibility of life after death. The book is engaging, if somewhat repetitive, but after reading it I realized why sages like Christ and Buddha didn't speak about what happens after we die: no one knows and no one can know. I prefer Spong's scholarly works rather than one th [...]

    13. Matt on said:

      John Shelby Spong is a poor writer and not much better a thinker. I have read several of his books and it is always the same deal. Spong presents unoriginal ideas as his own unique discoveries (when far greater minds have articulated these ideas long before). It gets worse. He congratulates himself for his "great knowledge" of science and history and then proceeds to explain science and history in a superficial and often factually inaccurate way. This book is no exception, as we see the arrogant [...]

    14. Walter on said:

      In this "fifth 'final book'" of his career, Bishop John Shelby Spong takes on the ultimate faith challenge, whether there is life after death, and, in my view, answers this question effectively and convincingly. Along the way, the reader is treated to an overview of the author's theology that is at once arresting and inspiring: the latter because the Bishop's unique vision and version of an evolved Christianity based on a post-theistic conception of God and a conception of the ultimate human lif [...]

    15. Kathleen Dixon on said:

      This book was sitting on my waiting-to-read shelf, and who knows how long it would have sat there – not long ago I read a book for the first time that I’d purchased nearly 20 years earlier. But there was a review done for Touchstone (our NZ Methodist monthly newspaper) which didn’t gel with my previous experience of Spong’s books, and which at least one Progressive Christian found offensive, so I decided to read this immediately.What I found was that the reviewer didn’t appear to have [...]

    16. Ian on said:

      Overall, this was a very well-written book on a huge, complex, personal, and controversial subject by the Episcopalian Bishop, John S. Spong. Considering that the subject of life-after-death is so near and dear to established religion, it is fantastic that an establishment member of the church dives into this subject with great insight and non-establishment thinking. However, I was personally hoping for a little bit more. I totally agree with Spong that the old thinking of "be a good person so t [...]

    17. Kev on said:

      Well, this has replaced "Jesus for the Non-Religious" on my top 10 of 10,000 from Spong. This one is most likely his last book, or so he says. If so, I'm very sad about that. If not, I will read with great appreciation his next in about 5 years if it is possible.In "Liberating the Gospels" [my first of his on my top 10 of 10,000!:] he made plain that the great book on the Gospel According to St. John has not been written. As a result of the completion of this book he has determined the subject o [...]

    18. Tom on said:

      John Shelby Spong is a guaranteed good read. His style is engaging, his ideas refreshing and clearly expressed. While he claims this will be his last book, I find it hard to believe. He will only run out of ideas and topics when he breathes his last. This beautiful book challenges traditional views of eternal life and reinterprets the nature of God. "I see God in non-personal ways. Please note that non-personal does not mean impersonal. . . . there is a source of life that flows through all livi [...]

    19. Michael on said:

      This book definitely has a few weaknesses. I dismiss many of them because he is an aging, classical liberal who has probably not been able to keep up with all of the latest postmodern research, theory, and such. Some of these weaknesses include his lack of familiarity with the postmodern view of myth as mediating metaphor, instead wanting to relegate religious myths and symbols to an adolescent or childish past. He also dismisses all personal analogies of God, reducing them to childish images. I [...]

    20. Peter on said:

      I read Spong's "Eternal Life" eight months ago. I thought he did an excellent job laying out his feelings for life after death. Basically, Spong is honest and says nobody can know for sure about life after death, but, that it is his intuition that whatever eternity God shares in, he (and us) will also share in. He bases many of his spiritual insights on the fourth gospel of John. He makes it clear that his way of celebrating life is living it in the now and living it to the fullest. He views dea [...]

    21. Susan on said:

      I was given this book by a friend who who knows John Spong as a pastor of her church. She thinks that he is the most knowledgable man she knows. Being that I look up to her, she being one of the super thinkers that I know, is my mindset is when I start this book. The whole basis of this book is the authors personal journey to find answers. In all fairness it is his personal journey and part of that is a superior education. It is necessary to use this as part of the story and to back up t [...]

    22. Andrew Jones on said:

      Fascinating exploration of the religious concept of life after death from an extremely unorthodox religious thinker. The majority of the book is an extremely solid criticism of traditional religious approaches to this question. The final several chapters focus on the author's individual take on how to move forward with these questions without embracing the concept of a traditional theistic deity. While the conclusion is far from airtight, Spong does resolve the search in a way that may prove sat [...]

    23. Barbara Newhall on said:

      Former Episcopal Bishop of Newark John Shelby Spong says it’s time to ditch the two principle beliefs of Western religion. The first one, he says, is that God is other, “a supernatural being who can do for me that which I cannot do for myself,” a situation that requires getting and staying on God’s good side.The second outmoded belief is that human beings are alienated from the sacred and that our alienation requires some kind of atonement — which is another way of saying that we are a [...]

    24. Ken on said:

      Three and a half stars. This is the first Spong book I've read, and I skimmed a lot of it, except for Chapter 5, which was the highlight for me. A lot of the concepts resonated with me, and I think the subtitle of the book sums it up: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell. I was reluctant to read this book at first, but the cover blurb intrigued me, especially coming from a retired Episcopalian bishop. Unfortunately, like many of the theology and apologetics books I've read, thi [...]

    25. Joe on said:

      Once again, John Shelby Spong has written an inspiring, thought-provoking book. Claiming it's his "last book" Spong, combines science and theology. He makes the claim that "its the nature of human life as a whole and of every individual human life to seek meaning, purpose, and victory over mortality". He further states that, "human beings convince themselves that they can find these things in the practice of religion, but now, many people feel a great disillusionment with religion since it's bas [...]

    26. Sandra on said:

      Spong takes the reader with him in his autobiographical search for answers to life’s questions through his religion, which is Christianity. He discusses the purpose of religion, the history of religion, who is God, who is Jesus, the God is dead thinkers, and where we go next. On the way, Spong discards much of Christianity “as we know it.” But then if you know Spong and are reading this book, that’s probably what you expected. Spong’s personal journey is one which seeks to answer the q [...]

    27. Mary-lou on said:

      Reading John Shelby Spong is like spending time with a favourite uncle. I enjoy his honesty, enthusiasm and clarity of thought. He is speaking to the converted with me though and as I'm reading something that is so true for me I can't help think why don't more people come "out" about the reality of our world's religions? I think that any person who has a long term, serious spiritual practice must come ultimately to the experiencing of a state that is before religion. The state that all religions [...]

    28. Mark Andrew on said:

      John Shelby Spong is the retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, and at age 82 there are no signs that he is slowing down. Back at the sprightly age of 79 (2009), Spong wrote what he said could very well be his final book, "though I've said that five times now." In this book, Spong opens up about his own experience with fundamentalist religion and the deaths that he witnessed in his life. He then writes about how religion was constructed to help people deal with their fear of death and to make sense [...]

    29. Rebecca Hecking on said:

      I enjoyed this, like I've enjoyed all of Spong's books. As usual, for the conventionally religious, his work is threatening, but those who question and wrestle beyond the comfortable boundaries, his insights are welcome. He parallels his personal history with humanity's history of religious development, and I found that parallel interesting, and found myself mentally considering my own journey alongside his. His grasp of some science concepts is a little bit fuzzy, but that's not a huge problem. [...]

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