REAL Christians

I know it’s a tired argument to anyone who has ever argued with a firm believer in one thing or another. But I’ve heard the argument dozens of times in the last week, so it seems like as tired as it may be, it’s still got enough energy to power a facepalm.

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The classic example of this is the No True Scotsman Fallacy. The story goes that one entire group of Scottish men can be discounted entirely, because no TRUE Scotsman would wear underwear under his kilt. When discussing religion, it’s often used to shift goal post. If I were to bring up the example of Ted Haggard spending years with a gay prostitute while publicly preaching against homosexuality, a Christian can discount him by saying “He’s not a REAL Christian, because no real Christian would cheat on his wife / perform homosexual acts.” So in one fell swoop we discount the thousands of hours the man spent in the pulpit and leading the largest Evangelical association in the country, all because the guy boffed another guy.

Now, I personally take the US census approach to labels. If they call themselves Christian, I take them at their word. If they call themselves Democrat, I take them at their word. In fact, unless you’re claiming to be an amphibian or something, I’m going to take what you say at face value unless there is dramatic evidence to the contrary. I’ll question your claim to being a Christian when I find out you don’t believe Jesus ever existed, and you’re probably not a Democrat if you’ve run under the Republican ticket.

I would attempt to be more discriminating in my classification, but I don’t know how to do it. Just looking at the “Christians” I come in contact with discussing this kind of thing online, and I’m 100% positive I could get at least half a dozen definitions of what makes somebody a real Christian. And as an outsider, I don’t much know or care which one is right (since I obviously think they’re all wrong).

I know Christians who think that Protestants don’t count, or Catholics don’t count. Being a Christian means the Old Testament no longer applies. Actually, a true Christian would know we still have to follow the laws of the Old Testament. Only liberals. No, only conservatives! You can’t be a Christian if you’re pro-choice. No, you can’t be a Christian if you’re for the death penalty! To avoid all this drama, I define Christian as someone who claims to be Christian and believes in the divinity of Jesus.

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My dictionary also has something pretty anti-Semitic in the definition, but to be fair it was printed in the 1920s.

Now, to all you Christians out there with your fingers poised over their keyboard, ready to strike me a death blow with a few choice keystrokes, gimme a sec. I get it. I know if I were a Christian, there are a lot of people I would not want to be lumped in with. Hell, as an atheist there are certain people I don’t want to be lumped in with. But just because I can’t stand Obnoxious Atheist X does not mean that she is no longer an atheist. I can’t create a gap between us after the fact. All I can say is that X does not speak for me, and is not representative of the atheist population. There are millions upon millions of Muslims who don’t want to be associated with Bin Laden, millions of atheists who don’t want to be associated with Stalin, and millions of Christians who don’t want to be associated with Fred Phelps.

So yeah, I get it. I wouldn’t want to be associated with him, either. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t devoted to his faith as he sees it. And despite how awful he is, he is still a Christian. He is defending his interpretation of the Bible, no matter how right or wrong it may be. And guess what? He probably thinks you aren’t a real Christian. But you’d kick my heathen ass if I went with his definition.

Just because a certain Christian makes you uncomfortable about the association doesn’t mean you can disown him/her. There are Christians that do awful things, there are Christians that do great things… guess what, for the most part, they’re all still Christians. And, on a personal note, I’m sick of being told that since I stopped believing then I was never a Christian in the first place. I was an avid defender of the Bible, I prayed on a regular basis, I had complete and total faith… by any relevant measure, I was a devout Christian. Once again, just because you aren’t happy with the fact that an ardent defender of the faith left the flock doesn’t mean you get to tell me what I did or didn’t truly believe.

So, how do YOU define Christianity?
More importantly, how should I?

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~ by kriskodisko on August 17, 2013.

10 Responses to “REAL Christians”

  1. People believe in perception as being the truth. Why sway believers or nonbelievers? For a long time the world was flat, atom was the smallest thing you could find, mermaids existed, nephalems were abundant, the world was 5000 years old, and everybody had their own deities to be known as the truth. Just find facts and believe what you will.

    My definition of Christians are racist hypocrites. Jews, catholics, Christians have all called me racial slurs while preaching about how divine their God is. Muslims haven’t beaten me up for being the wrong skin color.

    I digress.

  2. This is why sectarianism is a false dichotomy. There was only one Jesus the Christ, one Gautama Siddhartha, one Krishna, one Moses and one Mohammed. Yet, 10,000 sects of Their collective Faiths exist- each one claiming the others are not “real” followers of Who. God is unknowable in His essence- which is why I find the monkey in the middle the true butt of humour.

  3. the problem is that religion like anything else asks you to believe/follow a certain amount of beliefs/rules. i know we’ve discussed this before. if you told me for instance that you were an atheist but later on told someone you believe in a creator of some kind, wouldn’t you at least agree that this would be confusing? By definition, if you believe in a creator then you are not definitively, an atheist.

    The same thing can be said for someone like Fred Phelps and his crew… they either call themselves Christians because they believe it as a delusion, or… i donno. The word “Christian” means “Christ like”…

    “Christ like” Fred Phelps is not. i never saw Jesus teaching children to sing lullaby’s about how God was going to kill all the Jews. Nor did I see Him stand at a funeral to tell everyone that they were glad that a soldier died. Christ was not hate filled, and those who have left that church and the family will tell you that they are not Christians. They are a hate filled cult.

    I believe that people can BELIEVE they are something without truly understanding what it is that they think believe. I believe this is true for much of Freds group. They are indoctrinated with fear and hate. They see at a young age that if they question they will be told they are as good as dead. This is not the Jesus of the bible that they are showing, hence I can not count them as believers.

    As far as Ted Haggard goes, I can’t speak for his salvation, but I can say that it was certainly not right for him to keep such a thing from everyone.

    A Christian is not perfect, but I believe Christ like is the definition. Of couse a person will not be able to be Christ like 24/7, however, are they forgiving? Are they filled with compassion? Do they love all? Do they try not to sin and badmouth others?

    Someone’s character should say a lot about whether they are walking in the faith or not.

    Im writing all of this on my phone. I apologize for errors, etc

  4. On the premise that the bible is true, there are true Christians and those that are Christian in name only. Jesus very clearly says this.

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you!”

    And he also says:

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

  5. How should you? holy shit, I’m gonna need approximately eight days to sit on that question. I define it as…well…hmm. Here’s the thing. I used to use the “real christians” thing, but I don’t really anymore. I don’t for all the reasons you just said, and because I found it comical when some people in my life would say how they were “bad Christians” or in fact when some people called me a “bad Christian.” It’s like…what does that even mean? NO ONE KNOWS WHAT IT MEANS! It’s provocative, gets the people going… (Blades of Glory, circa 07) but that’s such a wide question I think I’ll just answer it in a blog post. Because I’m a nerrrrrrd

  6. First thoughts: “Oh thank goodness Loborn isn’t here.” lol.

  7. Reblogged this on Math and Stuff.

  8. I have just started reading Elaine Pagels’ “Beyond Belief” and have come across this from Thomas – Jesus said ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.’ This passage made quite an impact with her as it did with me the first time I came across it several years back.

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