Saw this on the Onion this morning and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd share. Granted it is satire, but I was wondering your serious thoughts on the subject matter any way.
I know, I just know that Strega, still in London, is reading this, and I like to give her an affectionate elbow-nudge from time to time --
BTW, she really wanted to meet you, but didn't figure you'd want to travel that far - she, on the other hand, gets home rarely and had a short amount of time to do a considerable number of things, and couldn't travel anywhere that wasn't on her tight agenda. She should be brooming her way back to Vermont by the weekend.
In order to claim you are a Christian you must accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, that he died for your sins to full-fill the Old Testament prophecy as the Messiah. He rose from the dead on the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father for all eternity. If you simply believe this, (and believe that you are a sinner saved by grace in need of redemption) then you can call yourself a Christian. No matter what school of thought that is in conflict either now or in the past, this IS what the Bible says. This is what it means to be a Christian.
I was just wondering if you do believe that (really) or you do not. As a starting point to address why the article, however satirical it may or may not be, is the reality we face as we move away from the religious Christian mindset into the realm of a free thinker. You must ask yourself if you believe the letters in bold above, or if you do not. If you do then you are a Christian. If you do not then you are your own version of a Christian which is not a Christian at all. I'm asking what you believe so that I can address the article to speak further to your perspective. I really am trying to help despite what you might assume about me.
Bellisima, I am not disagreeing with you, as I can see where you're going with this, and I'd like to see it developed further - rather than a disagreement, just consider this more like an addendum:
RE: "this IS what the Bible says" - this is what four anonymous writers, who never met Yeshua, who weren't there when he lived - IF he ever did - said.
Methinks Strega and Simon et al could be imbibing draughts of vintage in old London town. It is only an hour away and was home for 5 years. I will hopefully catch ‘em next trip.
I realize it's an embarrassment to Irish heritage, but he had a beer, while she had a glass of water - I know, water and witches don't usually mix, but I'm guessing she's built up a tolerance.
Ever meet an Irish Atheist (from the land of Catholics) that does not drink alcohol? Well, only one single malt on the Hitchens birthday! Cheers!
If it wasn't for the Valium I would be on drugs!!
"If you do not then you are your own version of a Christian which is not a Christian at all."
I don't agree with this, Belle. I think if you had ended it with something like "which is not the modern, culturally accepted definition of Christianity," then I would agree. The generally accepted definition of course recognizes Jesus as a sacrificial offering and rising from the dead, but the particulars as has already been noted can differ greatly. Also, there is always the possibility of something akin to a philosophical Christian. Thomas Jefferson once described himself as a sect unto himself and his edited version of the New Testament shows his appreciation for the teachings of Jesus, because seriously? no one would waste their time unless they really cared.
If Barry wants to call himself a Christian, I'm not going to tell him he's not. In the same way that I've told others that only they can know what they do or don't believe in trying to determine if they are or aren't an atheist, I feel the same about whether they are or aren't an adherent to any religion. But I do admit, I am curious after Barry's time here (what 8 months?) if his beliefs changed and in what way. Although, I'd hardly blame him for not putting it out here publicly.
@ Belle and Sagacious: Would I call myself a Christian? Yes, but not in the traditional sense of what is considered Christian. In fact, most of the time when it is discovered that I claim to be a follower of Jesus, I often get a perplexed look from others along with the question: "You're Christian?" Some have even said they would have pegged me for a Buddhist or something along those lines. The reason? I am not a rigid ass-bag of religious doctrine, and that is because I choose to do the dangerous thing and ask questions. What makes me a Christian is not religious doctrine or church on a Sunday morning; I take to heart the teachings of Jesus even though they are difficult and I try to pursue life with a certain amount of humility and large dose of compassion.
The only reason why I choose the label "Christian" is because I find no other way to define it. I accept Jesus as who the Bible claims him to be, but how that is formulated or conveyed is another matter considering that first and foremost the Bible is a book of literature - not a dictation that fell from the sky. Quite simply, how I see and view Jesus is a very personal matter - one forged not because someone told me so, but because of what I have experienced on my own in my own life. It does not make life easier or prettier than anyone else's, it just makes it what it is to me. I don't buy the lines that most Christians sell because they are horribly overdone and just rubbish. I only buy what I observe, experience, and interpret. This allows for a great deal of growth in my life, and now liberated, can flow unrestricted without fear.
Even with all this said, though, it fails to convey what I am and what I am accurately trying to say.
Most Christian I know tend not to label themselves as religious or part of a cult. They all have one thing in common though. That is, they all profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus which they claim is different to the relationships that other Chistians have with Jesus.....except that it is not. It's the same room you live in, whatever color you paint it.
Do you believe you will get a second life for accepting Jesus and become immortal? Yes or No as an answer will convey it accurately.
To me, what you is not a yes or no question. More importantly, to say yes is to convey a sense of eschewing personal responsibility for ones own actions simply because I can say "I believe in Jesus." It's a lot more complicated than this, but to humor the question, I would like to say yes, but such a yes does not mean I am trying to escape accountability - I am accountable.
As of the introduction to the question: of course a lot of Christians say such things. A number say such things because it makes them feel important and superior to others, which is of course, a noticeable chink in the armor (doctrine) they like to wear. However, some are genuine in their remarks because ultimately they are right - their relationship is different from those that they lump themselves in with because of the uniqueness of their own life. It does not make them better than any other individual, just different.