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Author Topic: Stereotyping of Evangelicals
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Do these guys have a point?

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ghijkmnop
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Yes-- too bad the argument gets refuted when Muslims make the same request.

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RLobinske
Deck the Malls


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To a good extent, I think yes. We should not downplay the amount of good that is accomplished by many,many different houses of worship. But, the writer is also turning a kind of blind eye to the excesses that have occured in the name of evangelicals, and it is those excesses that worry others, not the good deeds that so many other evangelicals perform.

A good reminder to always look at the entirety of a situation.

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Grand Illusion
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People have always loved to demonize the opposition and make it look like the radical element is mainstream. Humans are much more fond of pointing out their enemies' downfalls than their own. This goes for people of all creeds, political affiliations, races, sexes, nationalities and ages.

I believe the Snopes message board to be left-leaning, and I regularly participate in another right-leaning message board. I have observed pretty much the same behavior on both. I'm not criticizing anybody or any issue in particular, but there's a lot of negative stereotyping going on, and a lot of "look at how smart/good we are and how dumb/evil they are."

I even have a concern about the article in the OP. I'm not sure he's making the distinction between an Evangelical and a Fundamentalist. Fallwell, for example, is certainly a Fundamentalist. In his defense, I'm not sure that a lot of people know the historical and theological differences, but it is significant when talking about social policy and moral reform.

quote:
A good reminder to always look at the entirety of a situation.
Good advice, but unfortunately a lot easier said than done.

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moonfall86
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I am still unsure what makes a person and "Evangelical" Christian as opposed to a non-Evangelical.
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plaidzebra
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I suppose it's the most shrill and strident voices that are most likely to be heard. But maybe the core of some people's resentment is the evangelical conviction that they are the sole keepers of absolute truth, and that anyone who disagrees with them will be eternally punished. Reminded of your damnation with a smile and a gentle pat on the shoulder...

I still take this article as a reminder to see every person as an individual, and not just a representative of a larger group. The best people, Christian and otherwise, are generally flawed and honest and humble.

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musicgeek
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quote:
Originally posted by moonfall86:
I am still unsure what makes a person and "Evangelical" Christian as opposed to a non-Evangelical.

This is a major munchkin of mine. Biblically speaking - an "Evangelical" Christian is one who believes in a mission to evangelize - that is to spread the gospel (or "good news") of Jesus to the world, by telling others and by living and acting in such a way as to demonstrate God's love. It is for this reason that Martin Luther (who despised the idea of a "Lutheran" Church) wanted his followers to be known as "The Evangelical Church."

Somehow, however, the media have come up with this definition (paraphrased from Newsweek sometime last year): an Evangelical Christian is one who claims a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, in other words, the term has been corrupted from its original intent of sharing God's love with the entire world to signifying an exclusive understanding and relationship with that same god. Boy, that ticks me off.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by musicgeek:
Somehow, however, the media have come up with this definition (paraphrased from Newsweek sometime last year): an Evangelical Christian is one who claims a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, in other words, the term has been corrupted from its original intent of sharing God's love with the entire world to signifying an exclusive understanding and relationship with that same god. Boy, that ticks me off.

How would you describe people who claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to distinguish them from Xtians who claim no such personal relationship?

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Dactingyl
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From personal experience every Christian I know claims a personal relationship with God and holds it central to their beliefs.

I generally steer clear of anyone who refers to themselves as evangelical 'cause if they're don't think that's a basic belief of Christianity then they missed something.

However, I would agree that Christians in general get a bad press due to the vocal minority. Having grown up with a large group of church friends, who I am still in touch with despite my non-participation for years, I have to say they are some of the kindest, most loving, hospitable, non-judgemental, easy to talk to people I know. I base my view of Christianity on these people not the nutters in the papers.

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Dactingyl is meant to sound a bit like Christingle.

It's not very good but I couldn't think of anything else.

Sorry.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Dactgyl:
From personal experience every Christian I know claims a personal relationship with God and holds it central to their beliefs.

I know a number of Xtians who don't consider Jesus Christ to be God. [Big Grin]

And wasn't the whole personal-relationship vs. church/priest-as-intermediary thing a big part of the reformation? Isn't it a fundamental difference between Catholicism and Protestantism?

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Buckleupp
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If they are a tiny minority, they sure travel a lot. I have encountered them in most churches where the Bible is at all present. The author, I feel, polarizes the issue as if there are two groups - the extremist Christians who want a theocracy, and the nice normal Christians who save the world with their ballots alone.

But the reality is much more gray, much more gradual. It's like a pizza. You start with the foundational crust and sauce - salvation, happiness - and that is all they offer or promise. Then the toppings start to be added slowly - this Bible verse says you should be pro-life... God doesn't want you to have a gay friend... whaddya mean you're still a democrat? WHY?

With every boycott notice emailed from a Christian friend, every small political comment slyly stuck into a sermon, and every preacher who ever asked me for money that wasn't for the poor, I have become more convinced that I can no longer be a Christian. The pizza just has too many toppings and I can't fit it in. Every church that promised me a thin crust and few toppings turned out the same.

And it is breaking my heart.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Buckleupp:
With every boycott notice emailed from a Christian friend, every small political comment slyly stuck into a sermon, and every preacher who ever asked me for money that wasn't for the poor, I have become more convinced that I can no longer be a Christian. The pizza just has too many toppings and I can't fit it in. Every church that promised me a thin crust and few toppings turned out the same.

And it is breaking my heart.

I'm sorry. Have you tried some of the more liberal mainline Xtian churches: United Church of Christ, United Methodist, some of the Presbyterians? Or do they, to use your analogy, just add a different topping: pineapple instead of anchovies?

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Cowboy Joe
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When you have people like Ralph Reed, who as head of the Christian Coalition, stated in 1992 that he was sad to have lost the White House but that he would rather have 1,000 school board seats, that makes chills run down my spine. To me, that is the very essence of theocracy - they want to soften up the minds of the young and impressionable so that there is less resistance when the theocrats take over on the national level. It is a systematic approach to control, and that is exactly what some evangelicals want to achieve.

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Wintermute
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I know a number of Xtians who don't consider Jesus Christ to be God. [Big Grin]

Well, then they do not understand their own faith. It is a core belief of Christianity that Jesus is God. Jesus is part of the Trinity which forms what we call God. Now, you can get into the whole theological debate about if Jesus knew he was God.
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Grand Illusion
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In the modern context, an Evangelical is one who places sharing the gospel with others and winning converts the top priority of their ministry. A Fundamentalist is one who places a greater priority on creating a moral utopia. I must state, though, that both groups practice sharing the gospel and creating a moral society, but they do so in different proportions and for different reasons.

The majority of Protestant Christians believe that at some point, Jesus will return to earth and estabish a 1000-year reign that will have unprecidented morality and justice. Evangelicals believe that the world will continue to be immoral and corrupt until Jesus returns and he creates the moral utopia. Fundamentalists believe that it is a Christian's responsibility to create the moral utopia that Jesus will then take over.

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"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" - The Brain

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Crackrzz
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Hi musicgeek. I had to read that last line a couple of times to understand it.

Emphasis on the word "exclusive", right?

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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quote:
Originally posted by Wintermute:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I know a number of Xtians who don't consider Jesus Christ to be God. [Big Grin]

Well, then they do not understand their own faith. It is a core belief of Christianity that Jesus is God. Jesus is part of the Trinity which forms what we call God. Now, you can get into the whole theological debate about if Jesus knew he was God.
It is an impossibility to not understand one's own faith. One's own faith is one's own, and is subjective and personal.

Many people have read the Bible for themselves and found therein no basis for the concept of the Trinity; for them Christianity means following Jesus' teachings, not necessarily worshipping him as God per se.

The Bible is a complex book and many parts of it are open to mulitlple interpretations...as evidenced by the simple fact that multiple interpretations exist.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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moonfall86,

the term is certainly a bit of a foggy one, and is, I think, in a constant state of flux. wikipedia has a good article to start with.
most people will cite david bebbington's 4 primary characteristics of an evangelical:

quote:
First, the famous British Historian, David Bebbington, has suggested that there are essentially four distinct characteristics of the evangelical movement: 1.) Conversionism: the belief that the lives of human beings are fundamentally flawed and that they need to be changed by an external source; 2.) Activism: an unflinching attempt to communicate the gospel message in all that is undertaken; 3.) Biblicism: a certain regard for the Bible; 4.) Crucicentrism: the placement of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as the foundation for one’s theology.

I come from an evangelical background, and my experience with them is vast, and so I think I can give a fair and sympathetic description. If I had to speak descriptively (as in, this describes most the evangelicals I have met) rather than prescriptively (as in, this is what I think evangelicals should be) I would cite the following characteristics, in no particular order:

1) a strong belief in the inspiration of the bible. This doesn't mean that it all must be taken word-for-word literally, since the inspiration can manifest in more abstract ways, though it often does result in a literal interpretation.

2) a belief in the authority of the bible. simply put, they do what they think it says, believe what they think it tells them to believe. Some more important specific manifestations of this (for which I was tempted to make individual points) include:

a) belief in the basic historical accuracy of the biblical story, especially the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection;

b) belief in the deity of Jesus Christ - he wasn't just a man, he wasn't just a prophet, he was God incarnate;

c) belief in the atoning work of Christ and the subsequent need for conversion. humanity, one way or another, has ended up in a state of enmity with God. Somehow the death and resurrection of Christ has served to make reconciliation with God possible. To participate in this reconciliation, you must convert to the Christian faith. This conversion is not a bureaucratic act, but constitutes entering into a personal relationship with God.

d) belief in the ethical standards of the bible. the bible, properly interpreted, spells out how God wishes us to live - the things he wants us to do, the things he does not want us to do. These divine standards are not arbitrary, but will, if followed properly, result in the most peace, fulfillment and happiness in the long run, i.e. it's what's best for us.

e) belief in the need for social justice; God is a God of the poor and oppressed.

3. belief in the exclusivity of this truth. The truth of the bible is the truth for everyone, and since it is the truth for everyone then everyone should have it, and no other truth will do. As Peter said to Jesus "to whom would we go? only you have the words of eternal life." The belief in exclusivity manifests in several ways, including:

a) a major emphasis on evangelism. If this is the truth for the world, then the world needs to hear it. Converting them is not so much about "getting more for our side," or winning the religion wars, but rather about giving to the world what you sincerely believe is best for them. the example evangelicals use is telling people how the building they are in is on fire. you only do that because you really want them to be all right.

b) social activism. this is often thought of as one of the best ways to accomplish evangelism. evangelicals love to quote anselm/athanasius/erasmus/any-random-desert-father (they never get the source right, but it doesn't matter) who said "preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words." Or William Booth, founder of the salvation army, who said "no one can hear the gospel on an empty stomach." Now, if it sounds like I am dismissing all evangelical social action as simply a devious means of accomplishing an ulterior motive of evangelism, then you must understand it is not that devious or scheming in their mind. Remember, in their mind the bible already commands work for social justice as a legitimate pursuit. So if social justice also turns out to be a great way to evangelise, to the evangelical, they are simply scoring a two-for-one deal.

c) political action. one truth for all means one truth for society at large. This leads to what evangelicals call the conversion of society. Thus they work politically to accomplish evangelical aims; to insert evangelical values into the social structures. They see no conflict between church and state in this regard, because they believe that religion should be all-encompassing on a personal level; that is, when you convert your entire being should be converted. Thus you cannot compartamentalise your life and say "these parts are religious" and "these parts are not." As citizens they should be involved in politics, they would argue, and as christians that involvement should be characterised by christian values and work for christian goals. In other words, they simply see no other way that they could be involved in the affairs of their country and still be evangelicals. Note, however, there is some significant disagreement in evangelicalism on this entire point. Some think that Christians should not be involved in politics at all, and that the Christian faith has no obligation to the state, and that all work should be done on a personal, grassroots level. In america, however, it is the former way of thinking that is most popular.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Wintermute:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I know a number of Xtians who don't consider Jesus Christ to be God. [Big Grin]

Well, then they do not understand their own faith. It is a core belief of Christianity that Jesus is God.
Not of all Xtians. The original meaning of "unitarian" was a Xtian who did not accept the trinity, and when written with a lower-case u, the word still carries that meaning. See dictionary.com, definition #1.

Oh, and what Nonny said. They understand their own religion, and you understand yours.

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Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Non-Aquatic Mouse:

Many people have read the Bible for themselves and found therein no basis for the concept of the Trinity; for them Christianity means following Jesus' teachings, not necessarily worshipping him as God per se.
Nonny

Then what parts of:

I and the Father are one.
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
Before Abraham was, I AM.
The Word. . . was God. . .[and]became flesh and dwelt among us.
In [Jesus] was the fullness of Almighty God.
[Jesus] was found in the form of God.

etc.

don't they understand?

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
quote:
Originally posted by Non-Aquatic Mouse:

Many people have read the Bible for themselves and found therein no basis for the concept of the Trinity; for them Christianity means following Jesus' teachings, not necessarily worshipping him as God per se.
Nonny

Then what parts of:

I and the Father are one.
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
Before Abraham was, I AM.
The Word. . . was God. . .[and]became flesh and dwelt among us.
In [Jesus] was the fullness of Almighty God.
[Jesus] was found in the form of God.

etc.

don't they understand?

One interpretation: anyone can attain the same state of one-ness with God if they follow Jesus' teachings; it's not unique to Jesus himself.

The Word is not the medium, the Word is the message. The Word made flesh is the messenger.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Or they question the accuracy of the translation.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
Or they question the accuracy of the translation.

Also, even the Gospels themselves don't entirely agree -- Jesus is portrayed more as having claimed divinity in some than others. He's most divine in John if I recall correctly.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Jonny T
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I don't find it too hard to define evangelicals, what with the largest group in the UK providing a handy basis of faith - one which pretty much all evangelicals I know or have met would sign up to, and which is shared by many evangelical groups here.

one would do well to remember that Evangelical != Evangelist; the latter simply refers to spreading the gospel, while the former usually includes that but also refers to a fairly specific set of beliefs: biblical inerrancy, God as the centre of all life, the application of religious principles to every aspect of society, etc.

this is what is being touched on by the article. evangelicals, in their take-the-bible-literally-and-VERY-seriously way, haven't ignored the bits about caring for the poor and dispossessed; nor is this limited to domestic throw people change type charity. although there may be caveats (such as them not having teh ghey, or not being on the Republican party's list of naughty countries), the social responsibility is there.

acknowledging the good work many of these groups do does not in any way mean being quiet about the less desireable aspects of their beliefs and actions, of course. a bigot who gives to the poor is still a bigot.

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Hello! I'm good for nothing - will you love me just the same?

Greetings from the dark side...

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PatYoung
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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So for the evangelicals out there, is there an evangelical organization which speaks for the majority of American evangelicals?

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by PatYoung:
So for the evangelicals out there, is there an evangelical organization which speaks for the majority of American evangelicals?

But wouldn't such a group, by necessity, stereotype evangelicals?

Pogue

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Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
How would you describe people who claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to distinguish them from Xtians who claim no such personal relationship?

Isn't that what many non-denominational Christians, and Baptists, believe?

Catholics, on the other hand, deal with Jesus and God though priests and the saints. I think many would find it presumptious to claim a personal relationship with God.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by Non-Aquatic Mouse:
quote:
Originally posted by Wintermute:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I know a number of Xtians who don't consider Jesus Christ to be God. [Big Grin]

Well, then they do not understand their own faith. It is a core belief of Christianity that Jesus is God. Jesus is part of the Trinity which forms what we call God. Now, you can get into the whole theological debate about if Jesus knew he was God.
It is an impossibility to not understand one's own faith. One's own faith is one's own, and is subjective and personal.

Many people have read the Bible for themselves and found therein no basis for the concept of the Trinity; for them Christianity means following Jesus' teachings, not necessarily worshipping him as God per se.

The Bible is a complex book and many parts of it are open to mulitlple interpretations...as evidenced by the simple fact that multiple interpretations exist.

Nonny

I suppose that it's true, as you say, that it's impossible to not understand one's OWN faith. ~ though I know some people who are so confused, I wouldn't bet on that either. [Wink]

However, it is certainly possible not to understand THE, established, orthodox, agreed upon by majority and tradition of many centuries of study and apologies and arguments, Christian faith. There are a few things that are simply not up for debate among Christians - the main one, being that Christ is divine.

If you don't believe that, then whatever you are, you aren't a Christian. Even if you read the Bible. You don't have to believe he was divine, certainly, but if you don't, you are something OTHER than Christian.

Christianity has been defined already. If you come up with something else, based on an unorthodox interpretation of the Bible, great, but it needs to be called something else other than Christianity.

(I've read the writings of the early church fathers and frankly I don't think someone living 20 centuries later, who wasn't personally acquainted with any of the apostles, as many of them were, is going to come up with a more accurate interpretation and conclusion than that of the first, brilliant, early minds of the church. Your mileage may vary, of course.)

THAT's my personal munchkin- believe whatever you want, but don't come up with your (I am using the general YOU here, not any snopesters) own invented religion (Christianity is a "revealed" religion anyway - or so it considers itself to be) and call it the same name as one that's been established already as something else for many centuries. Update it somewhat and make it relevant for modern times, but not a radical departure from the defining part of the belief.

edited: Unitarians are not considered actually technically Christian by mainstream Christian standards, IIRC what our priest said about it.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
There are a few things that are simply not up for debate among Christians - the main one, being that Christ is divine.

If you don't believe that, then whatever you are, you aren't a Christian.

Rejecting the trinity != rejecting the divinity of Christ. The Xtians I know who do not accept the trinity believe that Christ is divine, but that he is a separate being from God.

ETA:

quote:
[edited: Unitarians are not considered actually technically Christian by mainstream Christian standards, IIRC what our priest said about it.
You are confusing "Unitarianism" with "unitarianism." Whether it's uppercase or lowercase actually makes a difference. Please check out the link I provided: it explains the difference.

The denomination, "Unitarianism," was originally a Xtian denomination, which believed that Christ was divine but rejected the trinity. Modern Unitarianism* makes no claim to be a Christian denomination, although some of its members are Xtian in their personal beliefs.

*It's actually Unitarian Universalism; the Unitarians and Universalists merged in the early 1960's. Universalism started out as a Christian denomination, too -- its members accepted "universalism," or the belief in universal salvation through Christ, as opposed to the salvation of an "elect" few.

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snapdragonfly
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The point that all Christians are called to be evangelical - even us frozen chosen Anglicans - is technically true.

I think a word that is more accurate here for this type of Christians might be "charismatic"? Those are the ones who emphasize the altar calls, the being "saved" ~ salvation is a point in time, to them ~ and "personal relationship with Jesus" thing. (I'm a little confused as to why they think that just because I always believed in Jesus and didn't have a sudden OMG moment that my relationship is somenow not "personal." I don't even know what they MEAN by that. Maybe I'm not really saved. Heh.)

Fundamentalists are not the same thing as charismatics. Someone could be both, but the two terms have totally different meanings.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
There are a few things that are simply not up for debate among Christians - the main one, being that Christ is divine.

If you don't believe that, then whatever you are, you aren't a Christian.

Rejecting the trinity != rejecting the divinity of Christ. The Xtians I know who do not accept the trinity believe that Christ is divine, but that he is a separate being from God.
But what I have been told is that believing in the Trinity IS believing that Christ is separate. Separate but also one. One in three, three in one, separate but the same, oy vey. Three distinct persons. One God. Not two Gods or three because that would be polytheistic. ~ which is in fact what the Jews and Muslims consider Christians to be, because they don't buy into the trinity, which is what enables us to believe in God, Christ, and Holy Spirit yet believe in only one God.

Don't ask me to explain the Trinity, that's the most confusing and contentious issue there is, and I'm not nearly smart or educated enough to even pretend to figure it out or understand when it's explained to me.

I just sort of ignore that and figure God'll straighten that all out later - it has no bearing on how I live my life and my efforts to be Christlike, so, whatever. *smiles and shrugs* But I'm just telling you how it was explained to me.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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BringTheNoise
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quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
Christianity has been defined already. If you come up with something else, based on an unorthodox interpretation of the Bible, great, but it needs to be called something else other than Christianity.

It's been defined in a whole lotta ways. I'm sure the Pope thought Martin Luther wasn't a Christian when he first posted his thesis, but that opinion won't hold much water now. Who gets to decide that you've gone too far to be a "real Christian"?

Full disclosure: This could be defensiveness on my part due to me calling myself Christian while supporting abortion rights, gay rights (inc. marriage) and any number of non-traditional positions.

--------------------
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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
There are a few things that are simply not up for debate among Christians - the main one, being that Christ is divine.

If you don't believe that, then whatever you are, you aren't a Christian.

Rejecting the trinity != rejecting the divinity of Christ. The Xtians I know who do not accept the trinity believe that Christ is divine, but that he is a separate being from God.

ETA:

quote:
[edited: Unitarians are not considered actually technically Christian by mainstream Christian standards, IIRC what our priest said about it.
You are confusing "Unitarianism" with "unitarianism." Whether it's uppercase or lowercase actually makes a difference. Please check out the link I provided: it explains the difference.

The denomination, "Unitarianism," was originally a Xtian denomination, which believed that Christ was divine but rejected the trinity. Modern Unitarianism* makes no claim to be a Christian denomination, although some of its members are Xtian in their personal beliefs.

*It's actually Unitarian Universalism; the Unitarians and Universalists merged in the early 1960's. Universalism started out as a Christian denomination, too -- its members accepted "universalism," or the belief in universal salvation through Christ, as opposed to the salvation of an "elect" few.

thanks for the correction - yes, I do get those two confused, all the time. I've learned it many a time before but I don't retain it for long. [Wink]

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
There are a few things that are simply not up for debate among Christians - the main one, being that Christ is divine.

If you don't believe that, then whatever you are, you aren't a Christian.

Rejecting the trinity != rejecting the divinity of Christ. The Xtians I know who do not accept the trinity believe that Christ is divine, but that he is a separate being from God.
But what I have been told is that believing in the Trinity IS believing that Christ is separate. Separate but also one.
And those who reject the trinity believe that Christ is separate, full stop. But also divine, because he is God's son. These aren't terms that I've made up, or that a few non-trinitarian Xtians I know have made up: this is a centuries-old theological debate. The trinitarians won, so orthodox, mainstream Xtianity is trinitarian. But I never claimed the Xtians I was talking about were either mainstream or orthodox (or Orthdox, for that matter). However, they accept the divinity of Christ, they following the teachings of Christ, and they attempt to be Christlike. They call themselves Christians, and I respect their right to define themselves that way.

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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snapdragonfly
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quote:
Originally posted by BringTheNoise:
quote:
Originally posted by redsnapperdragonfly:
Christianity has been defined already. If you come up with something else, based on an unorthodox interpretation of the Bible, great, but it needs to be called something else other than Christianity.

It's been defined in a whole lotta ways. I'm sure the Pope thought Martin Luther wasn't a Christian when he first posted his thesis, but that opinion won't hold much water now. Who gets to decide that you've gone too far to be a "real Christian"? Who gets to decide that you've gone too far to be a "real Christian"? Full disclosure: This could be defensiveness on my part due to me calling myself Christian while supporting abortion rights, gay rights (inc. marriage) and any number of non-traditional positions.
well, your quetsion that I italicized is the million dollar question, isn't it?

Let me also preface by saying that as an Anglican I believe in the so called "three legged stool" to guide the faith - scripture, reason, and tradition. You have to have all three - most importantly scripture, then reason, then tradition - which means that the collected wisdom of many centuries of brilliant minds is something to be considered, no reason to throw it all out and start fresh every generation, or that's how I understand it anyway and where I am coming from - again, as always, your views may vary on this topic and probably do.

I would say that disagreements on rather bigger issues, such as transubstansiation (sp?) are even not enough to disqualify one as a Christian, although I'm sure the Pope disagrees. The basis for those beliefs is reason, directly founded on scripture, and shaped by tradition, over the centuries.

There is nothing AT ALL about abortion or gay rights in the New Testament and so arguing about being "allowed" to be a Christian based on how one believes on those topics, is impossible to support because there's just no New Testament scripture there for it.

The divinity of Jesus is supported by scripture, reason, and tradition, as being the central purpose and belief of the Christian church.

edited to fix!

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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