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Thread: Definition of Christian

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    Default Definition of Christian

    I was raised a Catholic but I haven't been to a church in a long while. As I read and learn, I started to question and I no longer believe in divinity of Jesus. I still believe in God. What does that make me?

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Actually I have had a thread that's so far been running for twelve years on "What is Christianity." and so far no one answer has emerged. Instead what has been presented has been quite a few different definition with many claiming to be the "True Christianity¸™".

    What ever it is, it's pretty clear that Jesus if Jesus actually existed was not a Christian but rather a nice Jewish boy.

    As a cradle Creedal Christian I find the subject fascinating and the assumptions simply mindblowing. An example is the assumption that there is such a thing as "The Bible™" when in fact there are a whole host of different Canons, the shortest including only the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, and excluding the rest of the Tanakh and all of the New Testament. Their reasoning (and it seems valid) is that as Christians the basis should be those books canonized while Jesus lived. Another of the oldest Christian traditions and churches actually has two Canons, a long and short Canon with the long canon including over 80 books.

    A second common but amazing belief seems to be that "The Bible™" is only one book and not an anthology of anthologies written by mostly unknown authors over uncounted periods of time edited by unknown editors and still later redacted and translated and edited yet again, often for social and political reasons instead of theological ones.

    After all, the various creeds were also trying to define Christianity which may explain why we have so many different creeds.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    There are some simplicities in fields of complexity. In the doctrines of all the major branches of Christianity for all their dfferences, Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Episcopalianism and (in most larger denominations) Protestantism all share the belief that God is a Trinity of three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost and that Jesus is the second Person incarnated and therefore divine. One can obviously assent or dissent: that is the belief of the bodies to which the vast majority of Christians belong.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    There are some simplicities in fields of complexity. In the doctrines of all the major branches of Christianity for all their dfferences, Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Episcopalianism and (in most larger denominations) Protestantism all share the belief that God is a Trinity of three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost and that Jesus is the second Person incarnated and therefore divine. One can obviously assent or dissent: that is the belief of the bodies to which the vast majority of Christians belong.
    That is one way to box Christianity; into two groups, the Trinitarians and Non-Trinitarians and so a possible definition might be Christians believe in a divine (kinda because even there there are further differing definitions) and can be Trinitarians or Non-Trinitarians.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.
    But there are non-Trinitarians who also believe that the Trinitarians have it wrong.

    What makes one group correct?
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.
    But there are non-Trinitarians who also believe that the Trinitarians have it wrong.

    What makes one group correct?
    Most theologians and believers have looked at the Christian message and have located themselves in Trinitarian bodies which gives that doctrine a certain authority. It is obviously a matter for one's own judgment whether that kind of majoritarian argument carrries weight.
    What is quite certain is that Jesus cannot be the Son of God and not Son of God; the Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views cannot both valid. But as to who decides who is correct, I reckon the individual has to decide for him-/herself based on his/her evaluation of the evidence.

    To the OP:
    Sorry. I have not directly addressed your question previously. If your belief in God remains inspired by the life of Christ but with divinity abstracted, then broadly Unitarian would possibly be the answer.
    Last edited by checkrail; March 19th, 2016 at 05:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.
    But there are non-Trinitarians who also believe that the Trinitarians have it wrong.

    What makes one group correct?
    Most theologians and believers have looked at the Christian message and have located themselves in Trinitarian bodies which gives that doctrine a certain authority. It is obviously a matter for one's own judgment whether that kind of majoritarian argument carrries weight.
    What is quite certain is that Jesus cannot be the Son of God and not Son of God; the Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views cannot both valid. But as to who decides who is correct, I reckon the individual has to decide for him-/herself based on his/her evaluation of the evidence.

    To the OP:
    Sorry. I have not directly addressed your question previously. If your belief in God remains inspired by the life of Christ but with divinity abstracted, then broadly Unitarian would possibly be the answer.
    Understanding of the Trinity can take many forms.

    For example, the Apostles Creed does not require Jesus to be divine, only the Son of God which was a term often applied to humans.

    There is also the position that Jesus was fully and only human while alive and living among us but became divine with the ascension.

    Personally, I believe if Jesus was not simply human while alive and on earth then I think the message of resurrection and a life after death is greatly diminished.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.
    But there are non-Trinitarians who also believe that the Trinitarians have it wrong.

    What makes one group correct?
    Most theologians and believers have looked at the Christian message and have located themselves in Trinitarian bodies which gives that doctrine a certain authority. It is obviously a matter for one's own judgment whether that kind of majoritarian argument carrries weight.
    What is quite certain is that Jesus cannot be the Son of God and not Son of God; the Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views cannot both valid. But as to who decides who is correct, I reckon the individual has to decide for him-/herself based on his/her evaluation of the evidence.

    To the OP:
    Sorry. I have not directly addressed your question previously. If your belief in God remains inspired by the life of Christ but with divinity abstracted, then broadly Unitarian would possibly be the answer.
    Understanding of the Trinity can take many forms.

    For example, the Apostles Creed does not require Jesus to be divine, only the Son of God which was a term often applied to humans.

    There is also the position that Jesus was fully and only human while alive and living among us but became divine with the ascension.

    Personally, I believe if Jesus was not simply human while alive and on earth then I think the message of resurrection and a life after death is greatly diminished.
    Thank you for underlining my view that we each take our own decision on such things.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by checkrail View Post
    That is not exactly what I was meant. In terms of their professed doctrine those bodies believe that a Trinitarian belief and belief in the divinity of Jesus are essential characteristics of Christianity.
    But there are non-Trinitarians who also believe that the Trinitarians have it wrong.

    What makes one group correct?
    Most theologians and believers have looked at the Christian message and have located themselves in Trinitarian bodies which gives that doctrine a certain authority. It is obviously a matter for one's own judgment whether that kind of majoritarian argument carrries weight.
    What is quite certain is that Jesus cannot be the Son of God and not Son of God; the Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian views cannot both valid. But as to who decides who is correct, I reckon the individual has to decide for him-/herself based on his/her evaluation of the evidence.

    To the OP:
    Sorry. I have not directly addressed your question previously. If your belief in God remains inspired by the life of Christ but with divinity abstracted, then broadly Unitarian would possibly be the answer.
    Understanding of the Trinity can take many forms.

    For example, the Apostles Creed does not require Jesus to be divine, only the Son of God which was a term often applied to humans.

    There is also the position that Jesus was fully and only human while alive and living among us but became divine with the ascension.

    Personally, I believe if Jesus was not simply human while alive and on earth then I think the message of resurrection and a life after death is greatly diminished.
    Thank you for underlining my view that we each take our own decision on such things.
    As I mentioned above, I've had a thread that's been running for over 12 years now and so far that is the only possible conclusion. Other than a belief that Jesus existed and a self identification as a Christian there appears to be no universal definition of what is Christianity.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Wait wait I think I know this one, it's Arianism isn't it?
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    I was raised a Catholic but I haven't been to a church in a long while. As I read and learn, I started to question and I no longer believe in divinity of Jesus. I still believe in God. What does that make me?

    A deist

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
    Wait wait I think I know this one, it's Arianism isn't it?
    There are other possibilities.

    One involves the term "incarnate" which carries a meaning beyond simply sharing or appearing as but rather becoming fully and completely.

    In this version of Christianity the Sacrifice is not Jesus death (after all his death was not unusual, in fact two others died the same way the same day at the same location) but rather God becoming just man, the creator of all that is reduced to an infant, unable to focus his eyes, feed himself, control his bowels, talk, understand, walk or even crawl. It is God becoming man to experience what being man is, to teach, to show by example, to live and to eventually die. In this version Jesus while on the Earth is fully and completely human.

    Before Jesus birth and after the ascension Jesus may well be divine and in this version of Christianity members believe that before birth and after ascension Jesus is divine.

    This version does not make God look as utterly stupid as the blood sacrifice version.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    I wonder if some people are a little disillusioned with The Bible. I ran into an argument elsewhere about Deuteronomy and someone seemed to defend things in it saying it was the civil law of the land. Some verses seem to have barbaric punishments/consequences (You must purge the evil from among you - seems to apply to sex before marriage, adultery, worshippers of other gods), yet if these were carried out in this day and age... you'd end up in prison. Perhaps The Bible should be revised for this period in time.

    There was a "prank" video I think in The Netherlands (might have been Denmark) - the comedians wrapped up a Bible in a Qu'ran cover and went round reading it out to people, some of the more questionable in this day and age parts. Some were utterly shocked at the end on finding out it was the Bible and not the Qu'ran.
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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    I was raised a Catholic but I haven't been to a church in a long while. As I read and learn, I started to question and I no longer believe in divinity of Jesus. I still believe in God. What does that make me?
    A Unitarian (in the original sense of the term, before Unitarian Universalism and other digressions).

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Whence comes this desire for labelling?

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Whence comes this desire for labelling?
    Human nature.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Perhaps, but in this kind of conversation what purpose is served by creating such definitions?

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Perhaps, but in this kind of conversation what purpose is served by creating such definitions?
    The answering of a question posed by the OP.

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    Default Re: Definition of Christian

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Whence comes this desire for labelling?
    Humans by nature label things. In the beginning it was us and them, good to eat/not good to eat, something I eat/something that eats me.

    The there was this/not this and man learned that there were many things that were not this yet each was different from the other not thises.

    It really is that simple.
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