Many times when I get into conversations with Christians online, I get some Christian who inevitably tells me that not all Christians believe X. That “X” could be Creationism, Hell, Original Sin, Sin itself, even God. Many of these Christians accuse me of painting all Christians with the same brush. The thing is that I haven’t.
I rarely talk about what particular Christians believe. I usually talk about what Christianity is about. There is a difference here. Christianity is about many things, but there are Christians who don’t believe some of those things. My guess is that modernity has caught up with them and they realize that some (or in my view most) beliefs within Christianity simply don’t fit with reality.
Can you be a Christian and not believe in God? You wouldn’t think so, but there are some people who have a distorted view of the character of Jesus and they seem to think that you can be a follower of this character without a belief in a deity. While I understand what they mean and I see the gymnastics that they are doing in order to hold on to their Christian identity, I can’t say that these people aren’t Christians or can’t use that label any more than I can restrict those who don’t believe in stoning unmarried non-virgin women.
One can label themselves whatever they want and they can justify their labels in whatever way they feel comfortable with, but I am well within my rights to at least point out to them that they are deviating from the belief system in certain ways. The way I see it, there are no “True Christians” because no Christian alive today follows the belief system that is Christianity completely. In fact, there is no one view of Christianity that can be followed completely.
Christianity as a system of belief can and has changed of time, but Christians claiming to represent Christianity should at least be intellectually honest with themselves about this. To claim that a belief in Sin isn’t a core belief within Christianity is simply nonsense. I’m not claiming that they must believe in the concept of Sin in order to use the label of Christian, but any Christians who deviates from certain core concepts like Sin, should recognize that on those issues they are out of step with a core belief within Christianity.
- Review: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About God’ by Rob Bell (examiner.com)
- When Religious Believers Get Hateful (skepticink.com)
- Fundamentalists Can Learn From Ivory Tower Christians (skepticink.com)
- Catholic Priest: Disbelief in the Devil main cause of atheism (examiner.com)