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"Christian" is a useless term


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#1    J. K.

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:07 PM

The term "Christian" is almost meaningless.  Although there is only one Church - the body of Christ, essentially the avatar of Jesus - there are many, many denominations, groups, movements, and belief systems.  One person who calls himself Christian may actually have diametric beliefs to another Christian.  All of this can make it difficult to discuss Christianity without identifying specific beliefs and influences.

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#2    Ryu

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:10 PM

Considering there seems to be roughly 30,000 "sects" of Christianity (versions? Like Lutheranism..) and neither can agree on anything and even fight one another over what one is the "right" one then yes, the very term "Christian" is meaningless.


#3    GreenmansGod

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:03 PM

I disagree, there are things most Christian sects have in common;  most are based on teachings of the Bible,  most believe Christ died for the sins of all mankind, most believe he died on a cross and most believe he rose  from the dead after 3 days.  Disagreement seems to be in the details. Like the baptism, some sprinkle, some immerse.  Take ducks, you got mallards,  wood ducks,  canvas backs and many others, but they are still ducks. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like duck it is a duck.

You all have more in common than Earth base faiths (Pagan). We don't even have a sacred book in common,  but yet we can get together and worship in common. I think the main problem Christian sects is they are not tolerant of each others differences.    In Pagan paths we learn from each others differences and embrace our diversity.  Buddhism has a lot of different sects and beliefs, but they are all still Buddhist.  For the most part they are tolerant of their differences.   Y'all just need to learn to agree to disagree and play nice.

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#4    Leonardo

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:20 PM

Is the term "human" equally useless simply because there are many groups with differing characteristics?

The fundamental characteristic of "Christian" is the belief is Jesus Christ as "saviour and/or Son of God". Taking that as is, the term is perectly adequate.

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#5    Chooky88

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:29 PM

I disagree. Being a Christian separates you from other religions. There are many Islamic and Jewish faiths as well, but it's human and handy to call someone a Christian,  Jew or  Muslim.  As a Christian I believe in Christ as the son of god. this separates me from Muslins who believe in the Prophet Mohamed who believe Christ was only a prophet. I think your just stirring the pot for a reaction.

Edited by Chooky88, 17 October 2013 - 03:31 PM.


#6    J. K.

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:18 PM

View PostGreenmansGod, on 17 October 2013 - 03:03 PM, said:

I disagree, there are things most Christian sects have in common;  most are based on teachings of the Bible,  most believe Christ died for the sins of all mankind, most believe he died on a cross and most believe he rose  from the dead after 3 days.  Disagreement seems to be in the details.

Some of the disagreement is about the role of Jesus in "salvation".  Some churches take away from His role, and others add to it.  Any kind of change denies the point of Him being the sole source of salvation.  There are some highly visible churches/denominations that do just that.  I prefer not to be lumped together with those churches, because I think it is inaccurate to label them as Christian.  (And Chooky, I would definitely be stirring the pot if I named those groups, which I won't do.)

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#7    Rlyeh

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:54 PM

View PostChooky88, on 17 October 2013 - 03:29 PM, said:

I disagree. Being a Christian separates you from other religions. There are many Islamic and Jewish faiths as well, but it's human and handy to call someone a Christian,  Jew or  Muslim.  As a Christian I believe in Christ as the son of god. this separates me from Muslins who believe in the Prophet Mohamed who believe Christ was only a prophet. I think your just stirring the pot for a reaction.
So Muslims are also Jewish?


#8    Realm

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:01 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 17 October 2013 - 04:54 PM, said:

So Muslims are also Jewish?

Muslims believe Jesus was merely a prophet.
A lot of Jews don't acknowledge Jesus as prophet, son of god, or messiah, while some do.


#9    Rlyeh

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:03 PM

View PostRealm, on 17 October 2013 - 05:01 PM, said:

Muslims believe Jesus was merely a prophet.
A lot of Jews don't acknowledge Jesus as prophet, son of god, or messiah, while some do.
That's not what I asked.


#10    scowl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

I believe this is because Christians tend to extract the things they like from the New Testament and dump anything they don't like.

This "flexibility" has made Christianity extremely popular. The religion used to be against rich people because Jesus had very strong opinions against the rich, but with a little selective editing most sects now completely embrace anyone regardless of how much money they have in the bank.


#11    Realm

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:04 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 17 October 2013 - 04:54 PM, said:

So Muslims are also Jewish?

No Muslims are not Jewish.


#12    DeWitz

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:23 PM

This is an interesting thread, although I'm not sure if the OP is accurate in using the word "useless." Perhaps "imprecise" or "too general" could substitute. Chooky 88 in post #5 made the point that the groupings "Christian," "Jew" and "Muslim" all have numerous sub-groupings. Over history some sub-groups have waged wars against others, up to and including the present day. Even Buddhists in Myanmar have witnessed the development of a 'purist,' intolerant sect which has attacked Muslims violently. Most are familiar with the bloodshed occurring within Islam between Sunni and Shi'a and others. Not all branches of the Jewish faith get along famously.

In fact, in today's USA we could equally say the terms "Republican/Democrat/capitalist/socialist" and even "moderate" and "centrist" are useless, in the same meaning as the OP would have it. Republicans who still negotiate with Democrats are often labelled "RINO"s, ("Republican in name only"), as one telling example. Eugene Debs' socialism was not the same as that of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Philanthropic capitalists who donate above and beyond tax advantages are different than those who accumulate wealth in offshore accounts  and avoid much if not all tax liability.

The number of threads I've read (since joining UM in February of this year) which use "Christian" with too broad of a brush have been many. In the US we're still learning not to generalize in conversation about "men," "women," "gays," "lesbians," etc. etc. It will be awhile before we become more discriminating when referring to religious affiliation and belief.

Edited by szentgyorgy, 17 October 2013 - 08:25 PM.

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#13    GreenmansGod

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:28 PM

View PostJ. K., on 17 October 2013 - 04:18 PM, said:

Some of the disagreement is about the role of Jesus in "salvation".  Some churches take away from His role, and others add to it.  Any kind of change denies the point of Him being the sole source of salvation.  There are some highly visible churches/denominations that do just that.  I prefer not to be lumped together with those churches, because I think it is inaccurate to label them as Christian.  (And Chooky, I would definitely be stirring the pot if I named those groups, which I won't do.)

Soooo.... you and your Church are the only Christians in the world?   You don't see that as being rather petty and intolerant. That is like me saying Wiccans aren't Pagans only Reformed Druids are Pagan because Wiccans believe things that are different from what  Pagan Druids believe. Wiccans follow an Earth base religion, Druids follow earth base religion we just go about it in different ways.   I went to a doings at a park with one of my Wiccan buddies.  On the way there we talked about our religions. There are many differences in them.  When we got to the park as we walked the trail at one point we stopped in a lovely spot and said "This is our faith, this is our sacred book" and said a prayer to the Earth together.

I think you have lost the message Christ was trying to give of love and the hope of an after life.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

#14    J. K.

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:21 AM

View PostGreenmansGod, on 17 October 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:



Soooo.... you and your Church are the only Christians in the world?   You don't see that as being rather petty and intolerant. That is like me saying Wiccans aren't Pagans only Reformed Druids are Pagan because Wiccans believe things that are different from what  Pagan Druids believe. Wiccans follow an Earth base religion, Druids follow earth base religion we just go about it in different ways.   I went to a doings at a park with one of my Wiccan buddies.  On the way there we talked about our religions. There are many differences in them.  When we got to the park as we walked the trail at one point we stopped in a lovely spot and said "This is our faith, this is our sacred book" and said a prayer to the Earth together.

I think you have lost the message Christ was trying to give of love and the hope of an after life.

I don't make a claim of exclusivity for myself nor for the local church I attend.  I have known hundreds of people who share my beliefs.  If I am exclusive, it is believing that the Bible is God's word.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me."  I am neither petty nor intolerant; instead I must accept those words.  Jesus claimed the exclusivity.


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#15    Almagest

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:21 AM

I agree with szentgyorgy, imprecise is a better term. Saying you're Christian only implies that you hold a few key beliefs, and even then there are some offshoots that reject those. Christian Deism, for instance, rejects miracles and the ressurection.

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When the pendulum swings in favour of one It will eventually swing in favour of it's opposite Thus the balance of the universe is maintained

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