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Who deserves the title Christian?

(12 Posts)
MargotQuaker Wed 17-Aug-11 17:08:37

I'm told I can't be counted a Christian, and my theology can't be counted as Christian, because I don't have a notion of Jesus as redeemer from anything beyond despair. Still less do I have a notion of Jesus as God incarnate, except that he paid serious attention to God and was more god-like than most of us. I know a certain amount about Buddhism, Islam and Zoroastrianism and find aspects of the latter inspiring; and I don't think Jesus was unique among religious leaders-- EXCEPT that in the end it's the resurrection I personally feed from. Unique in my worship, not unique in the world.

MargotQuaker Wed 17-Aug-11 17:10:48

Contrariswise, I recently heard Peter Singer, whom I admire, trashing Christians for the view that animals are there for our convenience. I don't think animals are there for my convenience-- does that make me not a Christian? Surely Christianity is allowed to develop over the ages and still call itself Christian?

AMumInScotland Wed 17-Aug-11 17:23:16

Interesting question - and not one I can give much of an answer to, except that I count myself as a Christian, but plenty of other Christians would say I'm not.

I take the view that since I can say the Nicene Creed without crossing my fingers behind my back or completely redefining any of the words, then I'm pretty mainstream really. But as I'm not a Biblical fundamentalist, I'm often reckoned to not be a "proper" Christian, by both the Christians and the atheists on here when we get into a good bunfight.

I reckon - Why worry? I believe what I believe for a variety of reasons, and don't have to justify any of it to anyone, specially imaginary people in my computer.

Clockface Wed 17-Aug-11 17:35:04

Realy interesting question and as AMIS says, certainly not one that all people who self-identify as Christians would agree on. I'm just making dinner atm so i'll ponder as I stir smile but my first thoughts:

no one 'deserves' to call themselves Christian - the Christian faith is all about God's love and mercy to us, not our deservingness (if such a word exists!)

also, is it about believing / belonging - or both? some Christians would say that a Christian is someone who believes xyz, others would say that a Christian is someone who has been welcomed into the family of God through the sacrament of baptism - so more about belonging. I veer towards the 'belonging' side of this equation (so I'd say that a baptised baby is a full Christian although lots of others would disagree!), mostly because I believe that whatever else salvation is it's not a set of 'right answers' to know but a gift to receive. Although obviously I'd also say that once someone has been welcomed into the family of God, it's the task of the church to 'bring that person up' in the same way that babies who are born into a family are fully members of that family from the moment they are conceived but then it's the task of the family to bring the child up to know the family's values, culture etc. So belonging and believing go together.

MrsCadwallader Wed 17-Aug-11 19:36:37

A Christian is someone who follows (or attempts to follow) Christ.

imgonnaliveforever Fri 19-Aug-11 08:45:28

I think being Christian has to have a pretty fixed definition, otherwise it's a meaningless term.

If someone says "I'm an atheist although I do believe that that God is real and he speaks to me every day when I pray" then you would probably say "It's fine for you to believe all that, but you're not really an atheist so don't call yourself one"

DutchOma Sun 21-Aug-11 18:32:09

With Clockface I would say that nobody 'deserves' to call themselves a Christian.
The whole point of Jesus coming into this world is that we were so immersed in sin that we could not have a relationship with God Who is perfect. We needed to be rescued, saved and Jesus has achieved that for us by dying on the cross and rising from the death.
Nothing we did or could do, it's all done by God.
Now, we have a choice:- we can say "Yes, please and thank you", to Jesus and that choice involves following Him as best we can. In that case we have a relationship with Him which I believe is stronger than death so that, whatever happens to us , we will still have that relationship. God will never desert us, whatever happens and when we die we will be with God.

Or we can say "No, thank you" and in that case I don't have a clue what happens. I think that if you say "No thank you" you are probably not a Christian, although you can be a perfectly good person.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 21-Aug-11 23:44:19

Margot, do not worry about it. I have been told here that I am not a Catholic and had they pushed me for my beliefs, I would have been told that I was not a Christian either.

I don't worry about it. You know what is in your heart and your soul, others do not. smile

MichaelaS Tue 23-Aug-11 20:08:36

the word means Christ-ian as in a person who follows Jesus as the Christ, i.e. the messiah who was foretold in Jewish history.

Practically, when most people say the word I think they mean someone who believes that Jesus was/is God, died on the cross for the sins of man and was resurrected and will come back to end the world and judge people. pretty much nicene crede stuff.

but people often mean different things when they use the word. some mean churchgoer, some mean bigot, some mean English with no other chosen religion! grin

HaveALittleFaithBaybee Sat 17-Sep-11 11:17:12

Who has 'told' you? Like someone.cam dictate?! I'd say a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is Lord, God's only son and the only way to Heaven. I think they should also have a personal relationship with Jesus and as said above, follows His ways and teaching. surely it's also about saying 'Your way not mine'.[I'm confusing myself] I have a colleague who says she's a Christian but doesn't pray....well how does that work?

NiceAcorn Mon 19-Sep-11 19:40:11

I struggle to know how to define myself, even though it's only to give myself a defination, no-one else.

I was baptised and confirmed. Not exactly though family pressure, just the "done thing".

I wouldn't now describe myself as a Christian though, as I think I believe that all Gods of different religions are essentially the same being, looked at in different ways. I personally don't believe Jesus was the son of God, but a Prophet.

That said, I worry that if I'm wrong, I'll be punished.

Riveninabingle Tue 20-Sep-11 10:07:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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