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  1. #1
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    What is a Christian?

    Since there is much confusion lately about what a Christian is, I thought it would be best to start a separate thread for it.

    The word "Christian" comes from the Greek word Christianos, which means a follower of Christ, Christ-like, or one who follows Christ.

    Christ set the example, Christ taught what it was to be Christian, Christ defined the terms of the belief system called Christianity. Thus, anyone following his teachings, his example, adhereing to his terms, is a Christian.

    In every belief system, there will be people who claim to be a part of that belief system. Just because they claim to be, doesn't make it so. When someone makes a claim, we must examine the available support for it in order to determine its soundness.

    Is the person making the claim following a path that is contrary to the terms, teachings and examples of Christ or is it in accordance with them? If it is a different path, obviously, they are not Christian. If it is the same path (it is in accordance with), they are Christian.

    The seeming problem would be in determining what exactly that path is. It is possible for someone to CLAIM what that path is, but it is not possible for someone to recreate what that path is already laid out to be. We compare the claim with the evidence to determine how reasonable it is, that the path being followed really is on target or not.

    We do this in everything we do, examining a belief system (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc...) is no different.

    What is a Christian? Easy...it's someone who follows the teachings and examples of Christ as their dominant philsophy and worldview. Do Christians deviate from this path? Of course. Deviation from time to time and coming back is not the same as being on a completely different path. No one is perfect, including Christians. Simply because we fall doesn't mean that we are no longer Christian. What it does mean is that what we were doing was un-Christian.

    If we lie, cheat or steal, it is an un-Chrisian act because this is contrary to the path that Christ teaches and sets an example for. It doesn't mean that we are un-Christian.

    However, if our worldview is that lying, cheating, and stealing is moral, and we practice it regularly and live our life this way, then we are not following the path of Christ nor his examples in any way, and thus, we are not Christian.

    The only way we could be Christian, would be if it could be shown that Jesus taught lying, cheating and stealing were moral, should be done, etc... He didn't and taught the contrary.

    Also, being saved is not synonymous with being Christian. I believe it can be argued that one can be saved without being Christian (as argued in a couple older threads). The issues here are different and one should remember to keep them separated as the arguments for them are not the same.

    Being Christian frankly, is just following in Christ's examples and teachings and living one's life in that manner. It means being active in that following. Christ taught how to act, how to believe, what kind of worldview to have, etc... Thus, being Christ-like, is actively following these instructions and following the path He laid before us.
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  2. #2
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    Being Christian frankly, is just following in Christ's examples and teachings and living one's life in that manner. It means being active in that following. Christ taught how to act, how to believe, what kind of worldview to have, etc... Thus, being Christ-like, is actively following these instructions and following the path He laid before us.
    Yes, but are they still Christian, ye or ne? j/k - I couldn't resist. I am all that except "active".
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  3. #3
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    What is a Christian? Easy...it's someone who follows the teachings and examples of Christ as their dominant philsophy and worldview. Do Christians deviate from this path? Of course. Deviation from time to time and coming back is not the same as being on a completely different path. No one is perfect, including Christians. Simply because we fall doesn't mean that we are no longer Christian. What it does mean is that what we were doing was un-Christian.
    How far of a deviation is allowed before a person is not considered Christian in your eyes and in the eyes of the denominations of Christianity?
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  4. #4
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    How far of a deviation is allowed before a person is not considered Christian in your eyes and in the eyes of the denominations of Christianity?
    From above...

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok's op
    Deviation from time to time and coming back is not the same as being on a completely different path. No one is perfect, including Christians. Simply because we fall doesn't mean that we are no longer Christian. What it does mean is that what we were doing was un-Christian.

    If we lie, cheat or steal, it is an un-Chrisian act because this is contrary to the path that Christ teaches and sets an example for. It doesn't mean that we are un-Christian.

    However, if our worldview is that lying, cheating, and stealing is moral, and we practice it regularly and live our life this way, then we are not following the path of Christ nor his examples in any way, and thus, we are not Christian.

    The only way we could be Christian, would be if it could be shown that Jesus taught lying, cheating and stealing were moral, should be done, etc... He didn't and taught the contrary.
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  5. #5
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    From above...
    Is it really that simple though? I don't think so.

  6. #6
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    However, if our worldview is that lying, cheating, and stealing is moral, and we practice it regularly and live our life this way, then we are not following the path of Christ nor his examples in any way, and thus, we are not Christian.
    So as long as you don't murder someone, or cheat on your wife regularly you are good to go? Do you have an occasional pass to sin, as long as it doesn't become the normal routine?
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." ~Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    The only thing that separates Christians from other good people is Jesus Christ. It's a label - like Fruit of the Loom.
    While laughing at others stupidity, you may want to contemplate your own comedic talents. (link)
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Apok, here's my question about your definition...

    I think that Christ was a great guy. I think that his love for others and care for the world around him make him an awesome person and a solid role model. However, even though I think that Christ was a great man, I do not believe that he is the Lord, Saviour, or Messiah of mankind. In other words, I see him as a great man, but nothing more.

    My question is: Am I a Christian? If I follow his examples, but do not accept him as more than a man, then where does that place me? According to your definition, wouldn't I be considered a Christian?

    Your definition of a Christian seems to miss the significance of the Saviour aspect, at least the way I see it.
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  9. #9
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emtee
    My question is: Am I a Christian? If I follow his examples, but do not accept him as more than a man, then where does that place me? According to your definition, wouldn't I be considered a Christian?
    No. Christ does not leave such an option. Christianity is not a pick and choose religion where you take the morals you like and ignore the rest.

    The majority of Christ's teachings actually centered on the Kingdom of God and Christs salvation. You will find that the other books of the NT are the same way. Christ claims that He is God and that He is the Son, that He is the Lord. If you do not accept these as well then are you truly following Christ?
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by chad
    No. Christ does not leave such an option.
    ... I never asked for Jesus to leave me that option. I'm simply saying that he and I value some things in common, such as caring for others.

    Christianity is not a pick and choose religion where you take the morals you like and ignore the rest.
    Good thing, then, that I wasn't claiming to be a Christian. I was simply trying to point out what seemed like a flaw in Apok's definition, which I was inquiring about.

    The majority of Christ's teachings actually centered on the Kingdom of God and Christs salvation. You will find that the other books of the NT are the same way. Christ claims that He is God and that He is the Son, that He is the Lord. If you do not accept these as well then are you truly following Christ?
    I can agree with his philosophical or moral ideals without thinking that he is God, or part of God, or supernatural in any respect.
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  11. #11
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    I can agree with his philosophical or moral ideals without thinking that he is God, or part of God, or supernatural in any respect.
    Agreed, but a large portion of his sermons and teachings deal with things like the Kingdom of God, His Lordship, etc then a "follower" of Christ will also follow these teachings as well.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  12. #12
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis
    Since there is much confusion lately about what a Christian is, I thought it would be best to start a separate thread for it.

    The word "Christian" comes from the Greek word Christianos, which means a follower of Christ, Christ-like, or one who follows Christ.

    Christ set the example, Christ taught what it was to be Christian, Christ defined the terms of the belief system called Christianity. Thus, anyone following his teachings, his example, adhereing to his terms, is a Christian.

    In every belief system, there will be people who claim to be a part of that belief system. Just because they claim to be, doesn't make it so. When someone makes a claim, we must examine the available support for it in order to determine its soundness.

    Is the person making the claim following a path that is contrary to the terms, teachings and examples of Christ or is it in accordance with them? If it is a different path, obviously, they are not Christian. If it is the same path (it is in accordance with), they are Christian.

    The seeming problem would be in determining what exactly that path is. It is possible for someone to CLAIM what that path is, but it is not possible for someone to recreate what that path is already laid out to be. We compare the claim with the evidence to determine how reasonable it is, that the path being followed really is on target or not.

    We do this in everything we do, examining a belief system (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc...) is no different.

    What is a Christian? Easy...it's someone who follows the teachings and examples of Christ as their dominant philsophy and worldview. Do Christians deviate from this path? Of course. Deviation from time to time and coming back is not the same as being on a completely different path. No one is perfect, including Christians. Simply because we fall doesn't mean that we are no longer Christian. What it does mean is that what we were doing was un-Christian.
    ad absurdum. You are creating a new standard (You may stray), while also saying that the other standard must be met to be a 'Christian' (You may not stray).

    You are defining what it is to be a Christian is "to follow Christ". You are saying that Christian followers may (And by your religious texts, will) do something "Un-Christian".

    You can only have it one way or another. That aside, you still have not mentioned anything out of the obvious. We all can assume that. Your definition is still lacking because it does not have a definition or a way to understadn Christ's teachings --read further.
    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    If we lie, cheat or steal, it is an un-Chrisian act because this is contrary to the path that Christ teaches and sets an example for. It doesn't mean that we are un-Christian.

    However, if our worldview is that lying, cheating, and stealing is moral, and we practice it regularly and live our life this way, then we are not following the path of Christ nor his examples in any way, and thus, we are not Christian.
    ad ridiculum. You cannot know what people's views (Even if they say they are not, because people can lie), and you cannot be certain of their actions, because they can still be a Christian and do "Un-Christian" things.

    Therefore, you have no plausable standard of Christianity. You have only said that people are followers of Christ that do not follow Christ all of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    The only way we could be Christian, would be if it could be shown that Jesus taught lying, cheating and stealing were moral, should be done, etc... He didn't and taught the contrary.

    Also, being saved is not synonymous with being Christian. I believe it can be argued that one can be saved without being Christian (as argued in a couple older threads). The issues here are different and one should remember to keep them separated as the arguments for them are not the same.
    You are now argueing on your interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Being Christian frankly, is just following in Christ's examples and teachings and living one's life in that manner. It means being active in that following. Christ taught how to act, how to believe, what kind of worldview to have, etc... Thus, being Christ-like, is actively following these instructions and following the path He laid before us.
    Interpretations allow for different teachings, and therefore, different types of Christianity. Therefore, which teaching is correct? That is the question, and since there is no proper way to determine which Christian philosophy is correct (When one can argue that a verse is metaphors, the other argue literality), you fail to determine what a "decent" Christian is.

    Secondly, you fail to clearly define what Christ's teachings are. Since you fail to do so, you could practically argue that Christ meant anything. IE: Yes, Christ does teach against sections of the Old Testimont, yet he never says a word about homosexuality (Literally). Therefore, you are assuming that some sections of the Old Testimont are true, whilest others are not. That creates an area that is up for interpretation --even by literal standards.


    I find your thoery to be full of logical fallicies and appeals to your personal senses and interpretations.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  13. #13
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by chad
    Agreed, but a large portion of his sermons and teachings deal with things like the Kingdom of God, His Lordship, etc then a "follower" of Christ will also follow these teachings as well.
    Fair enough, I suppose. I hadn't thought about it that way.
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    APOK:
    Being Christian frankly, is just following in Christ's examples and teachings and living one's life in that manner. It means being active in that following. Christ taught how to act, how to believe, what kind of worldview to have, etc... Thus, being Christ-like, is actively following these instructions and following the path He laid before us.
    So that's mean no Christian today not even Apok maybe not even Pope :D. The only last Christian is Mother Theresa, than no more.

    Christ is all about bear all human sin solely on the top of His Shoulder.

    No body I can see have willing to bear "Human Sin" on their own shoulder without any condition requested. Not even sin of his close friend. Do you want to stay in jail because your close friend selling drug?? Or how about being hanged because your neighbor kill a child???

    Jesus did, He replace sinner place at crucifix from somebody that he even don't know.

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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    The word "Christian" comes from the Greek word Christianos, which means a follower of Christ, Christ-like, or one who follows Christ.
    Are you referring to the Biblical reference for it? The Bible specifically mentions "Christian" three times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Anyone following his teachings, his example, adhereing to his terms, is a Christian.
    But then the rub is who made and/or makes the determination as to what all this entails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    In every belief system, there will be people who claim to be a part of that belief system. Just because they claim to be, doesn't make it so. When someone makes a claim, we must examine the available support for it in order to determine its soundness.
    Who is this objective "we" you speak of? There's your problem right there. Is your claim any less subjective than my claim? Who makes up the self-appointed legion of Christian religions, and what interest would they have in making such claims?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Is the person making the claim following a path that is contrary to the terms, teachings and examples of Christ or is it in accordance with them? If it is a different path, obviously, they are not Christian. If it is the same path (it is in accordance with), they are Christian.
    By whose interpretation? What authoritative body has been granted that privilege?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    The seeming problem would be in determining what exactly that path is. It is possible for someone to CLAIM what that path is, but it is not possible for someone to recreate what that path is already laid out to be. We compare the claim with the evidence to determine how reasonable it is, that the path being followed really is on target or not.
    The problem is there is no foundation for focusing to the degree that you prescribe. You cite the Bible, but the Bible has various interpretations.

    From your loose description, Apok, it almost sounds as if you consider Mormons to be Christians. Everybody knows they've already been voted off the island. You, KB, nanderson, and Spartacus, et al, think Mormons are corrupting the word of God, and some of you have said that Mormons are even more dangerous than incorrect religions who don't profess a belief in Christ because they're leading people astray in the name of the true faith. Unless you've changed your mind, I would think you'd want to include more specific conditions as to what following His teachings means.

    My questions to such people requiring more detailed definition would be thus:

    1. What exactly are the requirements for a religion to be considered Christian, beyond the standard definition of one which believes in the divine nature of Christ and follows His teachings?

    2. For each requirement, indicate:
    a. Who made this determination, what authority they had, and approximately when the determination was made.
    b. The scriptural basis for it.

    3. Which professing Christian religions do not meet the above criteria?

    Good luck, because there's no way to be consistent on this to the degree that you wish to ascribe it. What you're going to run into in terms of delineating what it means to be Christian is that most of the current professed Christian religions are going to be following the definitions implemented in 4th-century Christianity based heavily on the Council of Nicea, whereas other denominations might be following more the definitions of earlier Christianity, which contain some differences. It's difficult for the latter to fault the earlier, but that's just what we find. 4th-century Christians implied that a good portion of those Christians, including high-ranking leaders in good standing, from 1st and 2nd century were not really Christians, which is patently absurd. That a good portion of the earlier Christians did not believe specifically what was outline in the Nicene Creed has no bearing on whether or not they were true followers of Christ. That becomes a sort of revisionist history. And you've got to have much better reasons than it being politically expedient or popular.

    The funny thing is that Mormons (officially known all along as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) consider everyone who honestly thinks of themselves as being true Christians to be such, not excluding anyone who wishes to be included in this regard. There's no reason to be exclusive to anyone who genuinely wants to be part of Christ's fold. Christ would have told us that much. In fact, He did tell us that. His warnings went to those who were pretending to be following Him, being intentionally deceptive, not even attempting to follow Him. The warnings were not about denominations who might have slightly different interpretations.

    You somehow seem to think that "Christian" can be ascertained by popular vote. Ah, so the Nicene Creed itself would suggest, but there's no reasonable assertion, revelation, or historical precedent that this must be so. A Christian is someone who knows Christ, not someone who matches certain hand-picked doctrines of the traditionally accepted religions.

    One might ask what benefit one Christian has of trying to shut another out from Christianity who is truly seeking Christ. I'm rather dubious on that subject. It's an un-Christian attitude.
    anything could be an illusion and we wouldn't know the difference... proof schmoof...

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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    So as long as you don't murder someone, or cheat on your wife regularly you are good to go?
    Good to go in what sense? In that you have a free ride and will never be held accountable? No.

    Is murdering someone un-Christian? Of course it is.

    Is cheating on your spouse un-Christian? Of course it is.

    Is doing both as a part of one's lifestyle following the example of Christ? Does that question really need to be asked?

    Do you have an occasional pass to sin, as long as it doesn't become the normal routine?
    Nope.
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by emtee10
    Apok, here's my question about your definition...

    I think that Christ was a great guy. I think that his love for others and care for the world around him make him an awesome person and a solid role model. However, even though I think that Christ was a great man, I do not believe that he is the Lord, Saviour, or Messiah of mankind. In other words, I see him as a great man, but nothing more.

    My question is: Am I a Christian? If I follow his examples, but do not accept him as more than a man, then where does that place me? According to your definition, wouldn't I be considered a Christian?

    Your definition of a Christian seems to miss the significance of the Saviour aspect, at least the way I see it.
    Here is what I said in the op:

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Christ set the example, Christ taught what it was to be Christian, Christ defined the terms of the belief system called Christianity. Thus, anyone following his teachings, his example, adhereing to his terms, is a Christian.
    It isn't just following his example. One can follow his example and be a good person, but not necessarily a Christian because they don't follow his teachings and don't follow the terms (repentence, faith, etc...) laid out by him.
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    ad absurdum.
    If you are going to charge a fallacy, be sure that 1) you know what it is, and 2) you state how it is relevant or applicable to the argument (that is, how the argument specifically is fallacious).

    Reductio ad absurdium is a type of logical argument where we assume a claim for the sake of argument, arrive at an absurd result, and then conclude the original assumption must have been wrong, since it gave us this absurd result. In what way is this fallacy applicable?

    You are creating a new standard (You may stray), while also saying that the other standard must be met to be a 'Christian' (You may not stray).
    False. And I think I see how you misunderstood what was said. It is not the case that we may stray in that "may" is an allowance to stray, or a "free ticket" per se, but that we "may" stray as in it will inevitably happen.

    Take this statement for example:

    When you drive to work, you may get into an accident on your way there.

    By this, we do not mean you have permission to get into an accident, we mean that it is possible for you to get into an accident.

    How this is applied to being a Christian means that despite straying (for it will happen), one can still be a Christian. Since no one is perfect, it will happen. Christ never taught any such standard as perfection is the only way, but rather that it is something that we should strive for. That is, we all fall short of the glory of God. Just because we "fall", doesn't mean we stop being a Christian. We are human, not divine, perfect beings.

    You are defining what it is to be a Christian is "to follow Christ". You are saying that Christian followers may (And by your religious texts, will) do something "Un-Christian".
    Yes, as in "it will occur" or "it is possible", not as in "you have permission to steal as a Christian".



    ad ridiculum. You cannot know what people's views (Even if they say they are not, because people can lie), and you cannot be certain of their actions, because they can still be a Christian and do "Un-Christian" things.

    Therefore, you have no plausable standard of Christianity. You have only said that people are followers of Christ that do not follow Christ all of the time.
    This doesn't make any sense, and you misused the fallacy again (which is in itself, fallacious reasoning, it's called "false charge of fallacy"). Please support the charge.

    As far as the objection, one doesn't need to know what other people's view are. What does this have to do with anything?

    I don't need to know what your thoughts of abortion are in order to know what abortion is.

    Also, one doesn't need to know the actions of another to know what X is. This doesn't make any sense whatsoever Gold. Please explain yourself.

    The claim that a Christian is a follow of Christ is one of LOGIC. You don't need a Bible to understand this. That is what the Greek word Christianos really and truly means.

    You are now argueing on your interpretation.
    No, I'm arguing with the only logical possibility given the known definition of the term and what Christ says about true believers and professed believers.

    Interpretations allow for different teachings, and therefore, different types of Christianity.
    So what? What does this have to do with anything? How does this change the fact that a Christian is merely one who follows the teachings and examples of Christ?

    Therefore, which teaching is correct? That is the question, and since there is no proper way to determine which Christian philosophy is correct (When one can argue that a verse is metaphors, the other argue literality), you fail to determine what a "decent" Christian is.
    This isn't about defining a "decent" Christian...especially considering there is no such animal. It's about defining what a Christian is. If you want to know if someone is a Christian, compare them to Christ. Are they attempting to follow his example, teachings, and do they acknowledge his claims? It's not rocket science.

    Secondly, you fail to clearly define what Christ's teachings are. Since you fail to do so, you could practically argue that Christ meant anything. IE: Yes, Christ does teach against sections of the Old Testimont, yet he never says a word about homosexuality (Literally). Therefore, you are assuming that some sections of the Old Testimont are true, whilest others are not. That creates an area that is up for interpretation --even by literal standards.
    You are right, I didn't define what specifically Christ's teachings are...and have not done so purposefully. First we must agree on the basic principle that a Christian is merely someone who follows, believes, and strives for the path of Christ.

    It could be that someone believes that Christ was a child molester and they believe that they are on the path of Christ. Fine, let's examine that. But first, that individual MUST understand that to be a Christian, the first step is to acknowledge that it means following his examples and teachings. Once that is done, once we have taken that "babystep", then and only then can we delve into what his teachings specifically were on the matter.

    As this thread demonstrates, there are several members not ready for that babystep. Once we can get a general consensus that yes, it should be obvious that a Christian is a follow of Christ's message and examples, we can move on to "What was Christ's message and example set for Christians?"

    I find your thoery to be full of logical fallicies and appeals to your personal senses and interpretations.
    I don't think you have a firm grasp of fallacious theory and I personally challenge you to defend the charges made.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  19. #19
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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanadu Moo
    The funny thing is that Mormons (officially known all along as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) consider everyone who honestly thinks of themselves as being true Christians to be such, not excluding anyone who wishes to be included in this regard.
    XM, it should be noted that this thread was started after several discussions on whether abortion clinic bombers/murderers etc can legitimately call themselves Christian. With that said, I have a quick question: Hypothetically speaking, if Osama Bin Laden had always claimed to be a Christian, before/during and after 9/11, would this be a legitimate claim? I mean, why does one merely claiming something to be the case make it so? Don't the scriptures say, "by their fruit you shall know them"? If a person claims to be a Christian, but never follows any the teachings of Christianity (ANY!), then how on earth is that claim legitimate?! Does someone claiming to be in the NBA despite their inability to shoot/dribble/jump/etc. make that a legitimate claim? Why in one instance would you reject someone claiming to be in the NBA when they don't posess the characteristics of an NBA player, but automatically accept someone claiming to be a Christian despite their actions?
    Nandy For World Domination Clan
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    - The Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 10:5)

  20. #20
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: What is a Christian?

    Quote Originally Posted by nanderson
    Does someone claiming to be in the NBA despite their inability to shoot/dribble/jump/etc. make that a legitimate claim? Why in one instance would you reject someone claiming to be in the NBA when they don't posess the characteristics of an NBA player, but automatically accept someone claiming to be a Christian despite their actions?
    The problem with this analogy as it applies to this debate is that not everyone is can be an NBA player. That is, no matter how hard some (if not many) people try, they simply do not possess the necessary skills to be an NBA player and no amount of practice, study, exercise etc. will ever change that.

    Christianity operates under the pretense that everyone can be a Christian, but then goes on to say that the only way you can do it is through proper faith, understanding and application of God's word (which history has shown can be interpreted in a myriad of ways) in a way that is consistent with what a True™ would do. What's more, there seems to be no definite threshold as to where a sinning Christian stops and an unforgiven sinner begins. Often Christian sect "A" presumes to label Christian sect "B, C, D, E, ..." as UN-Christian when any of those "other" groups do things that conflicts to what they perceive to be the Truth™. They disregard the fact that every individual is just that: an individual who's upbringing, culture, intelligence, access to materials, ability to be influenced etc. may directly contribute to them to believing, understanding and behaving in a way to that is contrary to what the judging group perceives to be True™ Christian behavior. But when pressed about exactly where these people stand in the race to the Pearly Gates - instead of directly answering the question - they'll often defer to God's almighty judgment and say that only HE can answer such questions, especially when just about any answer other than that raises more questions than it answers. This deferment, of course, begs the question: If only God can decide such things, and if the line between a sinning Christian and sinner cannot be clearly defined, how can they presume to dictate who is and who isn't a Christian?

 

 
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