- That whether or not God exists (and in what form) should be the privately
held personal belief of each individual.
- That the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are not the literal word
of God, but rather are ancient texts subject to critical examination.
- That a man, known to us now by the name of Jesus, was born and lived
approximately 2000 years ago.
- That as a man, he traveled what is known today as the Holy Land, teaching
his own brand of Judaism using aphorisms and parables.
- That he died.
- That what he taught by word and example did not die, but continued
to live on in the hearts and stories of his followers.
- That those teachings were first passed on in an oral tradition, and
were at later times written down by unknown scribes into collections
of sayings and parables, and that those collections were mostly lost
to history (except for the Gospel of Thomas).
- That those teachings were merged into a growing cult of messianic
worshipers and blended with stories of a Palestinian miracle worker
and of a savior figure to create what we now know as the canonical Gospels.
- That, as the years passed, those Gospels were embellished by well-meaning
believers in an attempt to fill out the story of Jesusí life and to
provide added evidence that Jesus was the messiah, or Christ.
- That, strengthened by the Gospels, the Church of Jesus took root and
began to grow.
- That the Synoptic Gospels contain fictional accounts of Jesus birth,
and of the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion.
- That because of the evolution over time of the Gospels and because
no authentic original manuscripts of any of the Gospels remain, it is
impossible to separate exactly and without doubt the true words and
deeds of Jesus from the fictions added later.
- That, using the Gospels and other ancient texts as our references,
and consulting modern historical criticisms of those Gospels, our quest
is to discern, to the best of our ability, the true words and deeds
- That (and this is the hard part) having determined which words and
acts of Jesus we believe to be true, we endeavor to live our lives as
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