What does it mean to be a Christian?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by JediYvette, Dec 22, 2001.

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  1. cydonia Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    Those places still sound cool though, hail and snow in store houses, that's very poetic.
  2. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
    star 5
    Yeah, a lot of the Bible is very poetic. In fact, I don't believe everything is litteral truth. I believe when someone says something happened, or that something was going to happen, it happened or is going to happen. However, I think sometimes they use symbolism. Job is a very poetic book, as Cydonia has pointed out. Revelation is a very poetic book, as is Genesis(I believe so anyway). When the Bible speaks of actual occurences, I think that's how it really happened.
  3. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    It is possible to believe in one universal deity, revealing himself in different ways to different peoples (akin to the Hindu conception of God). Admittedly you can't believe in every religion being literal truth, because they contradict each other and many (including Christianity) claim to be the one and only way. However, you can think that they are all symbolic, pointing towards the true God. A good way to rationalise it is that God has revealed himself in glimpses of insight to different holy writers and other people. No religion is 100% right, but they all contain fundamental glimpses of the universal true deity.

    I think that this may be believed by a considerable number of people - including very liberal Christians. I have certainly met a number of people who have this view - i.e. "God doesn't favour one particular religion over another" - and without any intent whatsoever of putting words into cydonia's mouth, he seems to be one of them. If I were to come to believe in a Supreme Being, I almost certainly would too.
  4. DarthSade Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2002
    To be a Christian means, quite simply, to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Word of God that was made flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14), and his One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, established by Jesus Himself to administer the Sacraments of His Salvation and lead God's People with the Infallible Magisterium of the Holy Spirit. Under this light, we clearly understand that JediYvette's friend who goes to Church twice a week is both a Christian and a Religious person, because there cannot be one thing without the other since Holy Mass is the Renovation of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, and as Christians the least we can do is to love that sacrifice and participate frequently (daily, if possible, or at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation), in the banquet of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ with which he, in his infinite love, has wished to feed our spirits, remaining with us under the mystery of the Consecrated Bread and Wine. So, to be a Christian means to Love God and Our Neighbor, and the Church as legitimate and Holy depositary of God's Will and Faith on earth.
  5. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling

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    Sep 9, 2001
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  6. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
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    DarthSade, are you saying that to be a true Christian you must be Catholic, or have I misinterpreted your post?

    If you were saying that all Christians must be Catholic, I would advise you to tread carefully.
  7. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    D_S - I might have said physical. whoops. I meant literal.

    As for the posts in Job, once again, the language used by the characters in Job is very poetic, and alot of Psalms is also poetic. But I believe the events happened literally as they are told

    And for what Darth Sade said, (correct me if I'm wrong, Sade) there is a difference between the catholic church and the Roman Catholic Church. The catholic church is the "universal church," which is pretty much the belief that all believers are brothers and sisters in Christ, and united through Him. As for Roman Catholicism, I believe it was under Constantine that it began to develop, and then during the split from the Protestants that it was clearly defined.
  8. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    Sorry, Iella. You have jogged my memory, and you did indeed say "literal" not "physical".

    I really don't understand what you're getting at here. Do you or do you not take the Book of Job literally, and therefore believe its descriptions about the state of the world? No offence, but I feel you are somewhat dodging the question.
  9. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    Do you or do you not take the Book of Job literally, and therefore believe its descriptions about the state of the world?


    Of course I wouldn't try to dodge the question... I know you wouldn't let me ;)

    Anyway... I take the book of Job literally in the sense that I believe God allowed Satan to inflict harm on Job, etc. etc. However, the people in Job (Job, his friends) use some very poetic and descriptive language that I don't take literally. Compare it to someone today saying something like "The moon is made of blue cheese." It's an expression, not to be taken literally, but the meaning behind it is still there.
  10. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    Of course I wouldn't let you dodge the question ;)

    So, am I right in thinking: you believe the events of Job - i.e. Satan tormenting him - are literally true, but you believe that when God set out his challenges, he was speaking metaphorically - or else his words were changed into such metaphors by the humans that wrote them down.

    Do I understand you correctly? It seems rather convenient that God's symbolism just happened to correlate with the incorrect views of the Earth a few thousand years ago. If it were divinely inspired, wouldn't it be millennia ahead of its time, and describe the true state of things? Personally, I think it's far too cosy and convenient to say that the bits we can test - ie, the state of the world - are symbolic whereas the bits we can't really test - the events - are literally true.

    Can you substantiate your claim that it was Satan's responsibility?
  11. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    So, am I right in thinking: you believe the events of Job - i.e. Satan tormenting him - are literally true, but you believe that when God set out his challenges, he was speaking metaphorically - or else his words were changed into such metaphors by the humans that wrote them down.

    Partially. When God sets out challenges, he uses metaphors and symbolism, perhaps, but the meaning is still the same.


    Do I understand you correctly? It seems rather convenient that God's symbolism just happened to correlate with the incorrect views of the Earth a few thousand years ago. If it were divinely inspired, wouldn't it be millennia ahead of its time, and describe the true state of things?

    Well, no. God was speaking to people during that period of time, and communicated with them in a manner that they would understand.


    Can you substantiate your claim that it was Satan's responsibility?

    In Job? Can you be a little more specific?
  12. Doright Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 1999
    star 5
    Wow I leave town for the weekend and you folks take this thread to town. [face_shocked]

    I just wanted to comment on something that was said.

    if you don't follow Christ, I'm not sure if that part of you actually is tormented by literal fire and brimstone raining down on you for eternity. But that's not what I choose to focus on. Anything less than God is bad. He provides the only life, and if you don't choose Him, you don't choose life.


    I could accept the Damnation parts of Church Dogma more if it was taught by Saying you'll be separated from God because of your sin. This is a big difference to me than saying you will be "burning in hell". It's the eternal torment part I can not swallow. It is just too sever a punishment for something?s. Sure some may see being separate from God as Torment.. It most likely is. But saying BURN and TORMENT is not punishment to fit the crime. What if one of my kids was sneaking a cookie when I said they couldn't have one? Sure I may Punish them but I don't toss them out on the street or beat them. EVEN if they say they are not sorry. Kids do that sometimes. I am not as loving and forgiving as God. I can't be, I am only a Man.

    I have another question that came to mind from something I read way back. If Christianity is the one and only way, why are there different forms of Christianity? Which one is right? Will people who think they are Christian not go to heaven because they are Lutheran and not Baptist? (just an example)

    The fact that Christians can not agree leads me to believe none of the Denominations have it all figured out. (there is truth there for sure its just we can not agree on exactly what that truth is). Maybe it's up to us to figure that out on or own? All are good in my book. Following God and letting him in your life is the way to go. That much I know for sure in my hart. The way you go about it is secondary. I for one, Gladly let Jesus into my life. Am I to go to hell because I also think God may let others into Heaven? Because I think We Christians may not have all the answers? I know I am a sinner and I pray for God to forgive those sins. If those thoughts are one of the sins then I pray he forgive those too. There are things that Christians teach that I just cannot accept. "burning and torment forever" Because you chose a different path is just to extreme. Especially when you consider the Cultural views of people may prevent them from accepting Christ.

    Yes if you sin with out repenting you are in trouble. I do believe that. Sure, some sin is unintentional, but you should still repent it. People Pray to God for Forgiveness even with out going through Christ. Who are we to say he still isn't listening and forgiving? Sure maybe we have a better communication line through Jesus, but maybe the messages may still get through.

  13. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
    I don't know what to say...I can sit here and say a thousand things and I believe it will never reach you all.

    I don't understand the logic behind all of your arguments. From the point of view of a Christian, I look back at the Old Testament and I can see the logic behind God's actions. And what I don't understand, I trust because All things work together for good, to them that love God, and to those who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

    I am praying that God's love will touch each and every one of you before the day is through.
  14. cydonia Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    I don't know what to say...I can sit here and say a thousand things and I believe it will never reach you all.

    I think that's a sentiment felt by both sides here.

    Anyway, why should faith be established thru reason anyway? Some people need proof, some don't. Lots of people are needed to make the world go 'round.
  15. StarFire Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Doesn't faith, by definition, require lack of proof?
  16. TheVioletBurns Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 4
    Being a Christian means, quite simply, you are a follower of Christ. Jesus is life. Freedom from religion; because Jesus died to abolish religion and give us a direct connection to him.

    Church, rituals, all that, has nothing to do with being a Christian, it's expressed through your actions and your life.

    That is my opinion and my definition.

    TVB.
  17. Rilina Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2000
    star 3
    To answer JediYvette's original person, I think her friend rejected the term "religious person" because religion (to some people) can have negative connotations (rituals without meaning, establishments, institutions). Other people use the term "religious" without feeling it has negative connotations. Hence, mass confusion.
    :D

    But JediYvette, if I may offer a suggestion, why don't you just ask your friend to explain what she means? Faith isn't something easily discussed on a message board, methinks. It could be an interesting conversation.
  18. EmilieDarklighter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 4
  19. WormieSaber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    I think being a christian is a very intimate and personal thing. It's a private relationship with Christ, and faith is established by what you experience in that private relationship. It can't be seen by the human eye, or heard through lips. It's a spirtual life-long experience, a little like becoming a Jedi. You are chosen, and then you are pruned throughout your life; trained if you will, for another time, another life that belongs to you in heaven. Sometimes as a Christian you see these things happening to you and your life, you try to understand them. Often, it is a lesson that will enhance character.

    Being a Christian isn't a puzzle. I'm certainly not the best model of one, but I consider myself to be one because I have experienced the same trails as other Christians do. It's solely based on "faith", and the only proof of that is what that one person considers to be "proof". For some, proof is physical evidence. For others, proof is spiritual, inner evidence. There's a difference.
  20. epic Ex Mod

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 1999
    star 7
    I posted this at another board, so I'll just re-post the whole thing here 'cos this seems to be the most current "religious" thread. Oh, and this is going to be a lost post.


    I used to believe in God. In the last few years, my faith has deteriorated, however, until the point where, now, I don't really believe at all.

    I guess I consider myself to have, at least personally, an educated opinion, as I lived and breathed the church and religious life for most of my upbringing. I know how it effects peoples lives... and for those involved, for the good. Faith is something to hold onto; it provides a sense of meaning; that you're part of something bigger and that your life, however small and insignificant it may seem, does have some kind of higher meaning and greater purpose. Not because you want to feel extra special and superior to others, but just to feel like you belong and connect in this world full of... well, isolation. And I'll admit, it's a good feeling to have these thoughts and beliefs. Religious people are happy... as long as they keep the faith.

    It's also about Community. Going to church is somewhat expected, but people thesedays don't go out of tradition or ritual. My old church was the whole pentacostal thing... with a lavish building, air conditioning, lighting, sound, huge video screens and "lively" music and preaching. And it's all designed for the benefit of the people... the nicer the atmosphere, the more people will come. (And thus, the more tithes and offerings, but I won't go into that...) And church goers go as part of the Community... their lives begin to revolve around the church, all their friends go to the same church... it becomes a part of them. And it goes back to what I said... it's something to live for. Every week has meaning because they have a permanent fixture in their lives... every Sunday they have church, and, more importantly, every minute they have their God.

    Of course, not all religious people are like this... but this is how I know them to be, because I grew up with them all in this kind of scene. But the underlying principle is the same, whether you go to church or not, or whether you follow the bible strictly or leniently -- religion, God, faith serves to create a sense of being, or belonging, that is larger than themselves.

    My mum has a Christian plaque thingy on the wall that says:

    Where there is Faith
    There is Love
    Where there is Love
    There is Peace
    Where there is Peace
    There is God
    Where there is God
    There is no need



    It's designed as a nice ornament for Christians, but it reiterates exactly what I'm saying. Essentially, where there is faith, suddenly there is a God. And I'll be the first to admit that life with a God, is (if you believe) or would be (if you don't believe) ideal. Without faith, however, there is no God. And I, along with millions of others, don't have the faith because we aren't provided with enough rational and accurate information to warrant it. I guess there's the paradox -- to have faith is to cast aside all rational doubts and just believe, but in the same token, it's these rational doubts that block the ability to believe in the first place.

    The reasons for my unbelief? Nothing that is claimed in the name of God, or religion, can be proved... and that doesn't fit right in my head or my heart. Miracles by God? Name me one... with proof. Whatever angle religion comes up with can just as easily be refuted or claimed in the name of Science. And, like I remember Norman saying awhile back... there are, no doubt, just as many things we don't understand about Science as we do about God, but the inherant nature of Science is to continually strive and aim to increase these levels of understanding. Whereas a gap in reasoning with religion is seen as a negative, or flaw of some kind, because we're expected to believe everything we're told or read in the Bible, a gap in reasoning with Science is seen as simply a chance to further our knowledge of the world, the universe, and life around us.

    I remembe
  21. council_of_trent Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2002
    star 1
    The true definition of religion is "man by man's work achieving God"

    Well, I don't know about you, but an all-powerful God who needs our help to get us to Heaven doesn't sound like much of a God. It's like saying "I'm gonna jump out of this 747 and make it go 5 miles an hour faster" You try to help, you're lost.

    Romans 2:8,9 "For it is by grace that you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, so that no man can boast."

    It don't come much clearer than that.
  22. Neon_Ninja Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2002
    star 1
    Now that this thread is miles away from where it started, maybe I'd better hit the REFRESH button.

    I was talking to a friend a while ago, and she talked about how she went to church at least twice a week. I told her that I could never do that because I am not a religious person. Then she tells me that she is not religious, but a Christian. She, however, refused to expand on that, stating that I did not have enough religious knowledge to understand the difference.

    All I am asking is just what is a Christain?


    JediYvette

    Your question is a very good one. Most "Christians" don't know the answer either.

    First off, you're friend and I are on the same boat. I'm not a religious guy, but I am a Christian. Here's the difference. Religion is a system of beliefs the "believer" must adopt to belong to that religion. The traditions and rituals that go along with religions are intended to demonstrate those beliefs in some tangible way (ie baptism, Sunday/Sabbath observance, communion, hail Marry's etc.) For me, these rituals and practices associated with religion have lost their meanings and to a large degree, religious beliefs (theology) are speculative and therefore irrelivant. For some reason, religious people are so bound up in what they believe that they will get into heated arguments over creation, the state of the dead, Sunday vs. Sabbath observance, etc. the end result of which is usually anger and separation. Christ's life was all about love and unity. This is the hypocracy that non-believers justifiably complain about when they delve into religion. So, to make a long story short, religion is based on beliefs, Christianity on knowledge.

    Knowledge of what? The gospel. Not knowledge about the gospel, but knowledge that it is true. Someone who understands and accepts the life and death of Christ and therefore wants to share it is a Christian. That's it. And don't worry, the gospel has no religion in it, so if you're not a religious person either, you don't have to fret about not understanding it.

    If you (or anyone else) would like to know more, feel free to private message me.
  23. TheVioletBurns Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 4
    Neon_Ninja, great post. I agree with you.

    TVB.
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