Monday, October 02, 2006

I Don't Think I Want to Be Christian Anymore

Before you burn me at the stake, hear me out. According to the article at A Blog of Mystical Searches, which may or may not be written by a Christian, The term apparently includes a lot more than I thought(to get to the specific article, click the title of this post). The gist of it is this, a quote from an article he was referencing: "one person used the image of Christianity as a circle, saying that so long as people could put one toe in the circle -- no matter what doubts they might have -- that was enough for membership."

You should read the article yourself, but the subject of his story is a man who doesn't believe in a personal god, which prevents him from believing in Jesus as the Son of God. Yet he calls himself a Christian. A "secular Christian".

This is the comment I posted:

Well, I'm at a loss. Perhaps I'm among the unenlightened who can't see through the haze of my indoctrination to see how this guy - how anyone - could be a Christian without believing that Jesus is the Son of the almighty and eternal God. The God who has been and will be involved in the world and the lives of His people.

It sounds as the the Presbyterian Church is becoming a Unitarian Church. I admittedly don't know much about it, and I glanced at but haven't read the Center for Progressive Christianity's site. But it would seem to me that the church is not a place where if someone "could put one toe in the circle -- no matter what doubts they might have -- that was enough for membership". At least not in the Biblical sense. Jesus asked people to drop everything to follow him. He told them that he was the Son of God, human and eternal at once. He told them that he would rise after his execution. If you don't believe any of these things, then you can't be a Christian.

Yes, you can follow the social teachings of Christ, but that doesn't make you a Christian. It makes you a kind, caring, and moral person.

Of course, if you believe that everything in the Bible is figurative, even Jesus declaring himself the Christ, then you'll always be able to refute what I'm saying. But if you don't believe the Bible, believe the testimony of the men who died to spread the message.

I guess those of us who think you actually have to believe in Jesus' divinity to be a Christian will just have to come up with another name. Maybe we'll go back to being "followers of the Way". Who knows?
This move to a Bible that is entirely figurative is disturbing, and deserves resistance. In fact, it demands resistance. But when we resist, prepared to becalled stupid, backwards, uneducated, closed-minded, exclusionary, intolerant, hateful, hypocritical, unenlightened, and uncaring...that's how they've been attacking us all along, and they'll continue that. But remember the legacy that we have: twenty centuries of people clinging to Biblical truth. The Bible is not a story, or an allegory, or a metaphor. It's more like an anthology of history books, textbooks, prophecies, biographies, and guides for life. Portions are figurative, yes, but the rest is literal. And the farther we stray from that, the farther we stray from Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life...the only way to the Father.

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As an aside, the church in question is a member of the Center for Progressive Christianity, which, among other things, says they are working to fulfill their mission of reaching out to those who are unimpressed or averse to organized religion by "developing strategies for evangelism that do not assume the absolute superiority of Christianity so that we do not contribute to the worlds tragic divisions."

While most people aren't willing to say it, I am: Christianity has absolute superiority over other religions. And yes, I do say that only because I'm a Christian. If we believe that Jesus is the only--only--way to heaven, how can we say that Christianity is anything but superior? Yes, the church is imperfect, but so is every religion. But downlplaying the utter righteousness of Christ and the Way may make non-Christians less critical of us, but it also dillutes the faith. Do you think the apostles or any of the other early (or modern) Christian martyrs thought the Way was simply equal to the pagan Gods of their generation? And if they did, would they have made that ultimate sacrifice? I doubt it. I hear upside-down cruicifixion is a...well, you know.

I'm afraid for the future of the church in America in the next 15 years. If progressive movement--secular and otherwise--succeeds in convincing the country that only dumb, southern, "neo-cons" believe the Bible literally, and succeed in getting even the most level-headed centrists labeled "fundies", then we're going to have some real troube ahead of us. But don't worry, Jesus doesn't like to say "I told ya so".

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