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Marcus J. Borg quotes (showing 1-30 of 89)

“The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now or being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to the God who is already here.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“Christianity's goal is not escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better.”
Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored
“the Bible is a human product: it tells us how our religious ancestors saw things, not how God sees things.”
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
“So, is there an afterlife, and if so, what will it be like? I don't have a clue. But I am confident that the one who has buoyed us up in life will also buoy us up through death. We die into God. What more that means, I do not know. But that is all I need to know.”
Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored
“When we read Paul, we are reading somebody else’s mail—and unless we know the situation being addressed, his letters can be quite opaque...It is wise to remember that when we are reading letters never intended for us, any problems of understanding are ours and not theirs.”
Marcus J. Borg, The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon
“But believing something to be true has nothing to do with whether it is true.”
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
“God wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. God wills our reconciliation, our return from exile. God wills our enlightenment, our seeing. God wills our forgiveness, our release from sin and guilt. God wills that we see ourselves as God’s beloved. God wills our resurrection, our passage from death to life. God wills for us food and drink that satisfy our hunger and thirst. God wills, comprehensively, our well-being—not just my well-being as an individual but the well-being of all of us and of the whole of creation. In short, God wills our salvation, our healing, here on earth. The Christian life is about participating in the salvation of God.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“More than half described Christians as literalistic, anti-intellectual, judgmental, self-righteous, and bigoted.”
Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored
“Salvation Is More About This Life than an Afterlife”
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
“The spoken word has come to dominate many Protestant forms of worship: the words of prayers, responsive readings, Scripture, the sermon, and so forth. Yet the spoken word is perhaps the least effective way of reaching the heart; one must constantly pay attention with one’s mind. The spoken word tends to go to our heads, not our hearts.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“Myth is stories about the way things never were, but always are.”
Marcus J. Borg
“How can women be in the image of God if God cannot be imaged in female form?”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“When tradition is thought to state the way things really are, it becomes the director and judge of our lives; we are, in effect, imprisoned by it. On the other hand, tradition can be understood as a pointer to that which is beyond tradition: the sacred. Then it functions not as a prison but as a lens.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“But Christian illiteracy is only the first part of the crisis. Even more seriously, even for those who think they speak “Christian” fluently, the faith itself is often misunderstood and distorted by many to whom it is seemingly very familiar. They think they are speaking the language as it has always been understood, but what they mean by the words and concepts is so different from what these things have meant historically, that they would have trouble communicating with the very authors of the past they honor.”
Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored
“The way of Jesus is thus not a set of beliefs about Jesus. That people ever thought it was is strange, when we think about it — as if one entered new life by believing certain things to be true, or as if the only people who can be saved are those who know the word "Jesus". Thinking that way virtually amounts to salvation by syllables.

Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection — the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being. To use the language of incarnation that is so central to John, Jesus incarnates the way. Incarnation means embodiment. Jesus is what the way embodied in a human life looks like.”
Marcus J. Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally
“Our central problem is not sin and guilt, as it is within the monarchical model. For the Spirit model, our central problem is “estrangement,” whose specific meaning of “separated from that to which one belongs” is most appropriate. ... For the monarchical model, sin is primarily disloyalty to the king, seen especially as disobedience to his laws. The metaphors used to express the Spirit model suggest something else. For the metaphor of God as lover, sin is unfaithfulness—that is, sin is going after other lovers.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“Our images of God matter. Just as how we conceptualize God affects what we think the Christian life is about, so do our images of God.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“The political vision of the religious right is for the most part an individualistic politics of righteousness, not a communal politics of compassion.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“When somebody says to me, “I don’t believe in God,” my first response is, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.” Almost always, it’s the God of supernatural theism.”
Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary
“Jesus died for our sins” has been understood. Among some Christians, it is seen as an essential doctrinal element in the Christian belief system. Seen this way, it becomes a doctrinal requirement: we are made right with God by believing that Jesus is the sacrifice. The system of requirements remains, and believing in Jesus is the new requirement. Seeing it as a metaphorical proclamation of the radical grace of God leads to a very different understanding. “Jesus died for our sins” means the abolition of the system of requirements, not the establishment of a new system of requirements.”
Marcus J. Borg, The Meaning of Jesus
“Part of the scandal of American Christianity is that statistically the U.S. is the most Christian country in the world, and yet as a country we have the greatest income inequality in the world. And as a country we are uncritically committed, not simply to being the most powerful nation in the world militarily, but to being as militarily powerful as the rest of the world combined.

We Christians live in a tradition that is passionate about issues of economic justice and peace and yet at least half of American Christians, probably even more, think it’s really important that we be as powerful as the rest of the world put together.”
Marcus J. Borg
“In a number of workshops, I have asked people whether they have had one or more experiences that they would identify as an experience of God and, if so, to share them in small groups. On average, 80 percent of the participants identify one or more and are eager to talk about them. They also frequently report that they had never before been asked that question in a church setting or given an opportunity to talk about it.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
“This book might also be seen as “a Christian primer.” A primer teaches us how to read. Reading is not just about learning to recognize and pronounce words, but also about how to hear and understand them. This book’s purpose is to help us to read, hear, and inwardly digest Christian language without preconceived understandings getting in the way.”
Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored
“To see Paul positively does not mean endorsing everything he ever wrote.”
Marcus J. Borg, The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon
“But “having dominion over” meant something very different from what it has often been understood to mean. It refers to the relationship between shepherd and sheep.”
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
“The book of Proverbs makes the same point: Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him. (14.31)”
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
“Other prophets, other messiahs, came and went in Jesus’ day. Routinely, they died violently at the hands of the pagan enemy. Their movements either died with them, sometimes literally, or transformed themselves into a new movement around a new leader. Jesus’ movement did neither. Within days of his execution it found a new lease of life; within weeks it was announcing that he was indeed the messiah; within a year or two it was proclaiming him to pagans as their rightful Lord. How can a historian explain this astonishing transformation?”
Marcus J. Borg, The Meaning of Jesus
“As an epiphany of God, Jesus discloses that at the center of everything is a reality that is in love with us and wills our well-being, both as individuals and as individuals within society. As an image of God, Jesus challenges the most widespread image of reality in both the ancient and modern world, countering conventional wisdom’s understanding of God as one with demands that must be met by the anxious self in search of its own security. In its place is an image of God as the compassionate one who invites people into a relationship which is the source of transformation of human life in both its individual and social aspects.”
Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship
“How we think about God matters. It affects the credibility of religion in general and of Christianity in particular. Our concept of God can make God seem real or unreal, just as it can also make God seem remote or near.”
Marcus J. Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith

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