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For PM "Who is a Christian"

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  • One Bad Pig
    replied
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    Right. There was a time when the creeds were binding, but we're not in that time anymore.
    They're actually still binding for the majority of Christians; even the 'non-creedal' groups tend to have some verbal requirement for baptism.
    Where does that leave us in terms of the thread title? The creeds are still a good test for orthodoxy, but I think most people would argue that you could be a Real Christian and not even know they exist. Even if they did, affirmation of the creeds is a doctrinal question. It doesn't address behavior, which seems to be a big component for how people judge someone to be a Real Christian.
    True. Even when the universal creed was promulgated, IIRC, it was acknowledged that joining the church via the recitation of the creed did not necessarily imply moving from the goats to the sheep.

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  • Carrikature
    replied
    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    The Nicene Creed was established (and later modified) at ecumenical councils as a church-wide litmus test for orthodoxy. There were creeds before that (recited at baptism), but they were not uniform. Ecumenical councils were intended to be church-wide regulatory authority; if something was promulgated by a church-wide council, not rejected by the church at large, and subsequently confirmed at another church-wide council, it was binding on the entire church. This worked, by and large, until Rome went its own way in the 11th century. Even so, the church is defined by the Nicene Creed in both Orthodoxy and (as modified) Roman Catholicism. It wasn't until the Reformation that people started formulating their own creeds, ending up with the current bewildering plethora of options. See, for example, Jaroslav Pelikan's Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, a massive 4-volume work (which even then is not exhaustive).
    Right. There was a time when the creeds were binding, but we're not in that time anymore. Where does that leave us in terms of the thread title? The creeds are still a good test for orthodoxy, but I think most people would argue that you could be a Real Christian and not even know they exist. Even if they did, affirmation of the creeds is a doctrinal question. It doesn't address behavior, which seems to be a big component for how people judge someone to be a Real Christian.

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  • Carrikature
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    Yep... I knew your argument would fall apart once you tried explaining why you think I'm wrong.

    The verses I quoted are quite clearly talking about human traditions that contradict the Word of God, and that's exactly how I'm using them in my argument. If the Bible says, "Do X and Y and you will be saved," but man comes along and says, "No, you only need to do X," or "No, you must do X, Y, and Z " (where Z is not found in scripture), then such a man is subtracting from or adding to what God has ordained and therefore speaks blasphemy and is in clear conflict with the verses I have cited.
    This...doesn't work. There's nothing in there at all about adding to or subtracting from God's word. That's your addition. The scriptures in question are solely about traditions contradicted God's commands. That's not the same thing. There's nothing wrong with those traditions, especially when you can't deny that oral tradition is the foundation. The problem with tradition is when it's given priority over God's commands. Jesus' issue with the Pharisees is continually one where they treasure the letter and not the spirit of the law, and that's clearly portrayed in the full context of Mark. My argument hasn't fallen apart in the slightest.

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  • One Bad Pig
    replied
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    Creeds would be a useful start if everyone actually affirmed them. Is there a regulatory authority that enforces acceptance of the creed? Without such a thing, can they really be binding?
    The Nicene Creed was established (and later modified) at ecumenical councils as a church-wide litmus test for orthodoxy. There were creeds before that (recited at baptism), but they were not uniform. Ecumenical councils were intended to be church-wide regulatory authority; if something was promulgated by a church-wide council, not rejected by the church at large, and subsequently confirmed at another church-wide council, it was binding on the entire church. This worked, by and large, until Rome went its own way in the 11th century. Even so, the church is defined by the Nicene Creed in both Orthodoxy and (as modified) Roman Catholicism. It wasn't until the Reformation that people started formulating their own creeds, ending up with the current bewildering plethora of options. See, for example, Jaroslav Pelikan's Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, a massive 4-volume work (which even then is not exhaustive).

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    As I said, your understanding of scripture is based on assumptions which need not be granted. Case in point: your quotes of Colossians and Mark decrying 'tradition'. You read these with sola scriptura already in place. It's small wonder that they serve to enforce such a view. Of course, we could pretty easily point out that one need not set aside the commands of God in order to observe certain traditions, or that tradition is also a means for transmitting the commands of God (which is pretty much a given in a system based on oral tradition). Rather, we could look at the actual context and figure out pretty easily that those verses are simply saying that "this is how we've done things" doesn't necessarily mean that this is how God wants you to act. Tradition can be in conflict with right behavior, but it need not be.
    Yep... I knew your argument would fall apart once you tried explaining why you think I'm wrong.

    The verses I quoted are quite clearly talking about human traditions that contradict the Word of God, and that's exactly how I'm using them in my argument. If the Bible says, "Do X and Y and you will be saved," but man comes along and says, "No, you only need to do X," or "No, you must do X, Y, and Z " (where Z is not found in scripture), then such a man is subtracting from or adding to what God has ordained and therefore speaks blasphemy and is in clear conflict with the verses I have cited.

    Leave a comment:


  • KingsGambit
    replied
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    I would actually argue that only a small set of general beliefs is required to identify as an adherent. As you point out, we have no problem using "Muslim" in such a way, because we rightly recognize that they belong to the same system even if there are huge doctrinal differences. I suspect if you asked a Muslim what makes a True Muslim, you'd see a similar set of responses as we typically see from Christians.
    And I have no problem with adopting such a rule of thumb for general sociological conversations. Once this is discussed within the realm of Christian theology, the definitions can reasonably change because we have left the realm of sociology (which professes neutrality) and entered a realm with an objective POV (even if it's not always clear to discern exactly what makes it up).

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  • Adrift
    replied
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    I completely agree. That's why I limit it to a small set of general beliefs. An atheist label tells you a person doesn't believe in a deity. It doesn't tell you why, or what else that person might believe, or necessarily how strong their disbelief is. To insist that it should seems to expect more than is reasonable.
    That would be because the definition of an atheist is relatively simple and limited to small set of general beliefs. The opposite of which wouldn't be "Christian", but "theist" which is likewise relatively simple and limited to small set of general beliefs.

    However, even within the small set of beliefs associated with atheism the label has come up for debate. Is an atheist one who does not believe in god/s, or is an atheist one who lacks belief in god/s? Some self-proclaimed atheists will throw a conniption fit for even suggesting the former over the latter.

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  • Cow Poke
    replied
    Originally posted by Psychic Missile View Post
    I'm done responding to you in this topic.
    Bet you a dollar you're not!

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  • Psychic Missile
    replied
    Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
    I don't know how I could be more outright than I've already been.
    I'm done responding to you in this topic.

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  • JonathanL
    replied
    Originally posted by Psychic Missile View Post
    The difference appears to be dedication. I like straight-talk, so if you think I'm mistaken I prefer you saying outright how and why.
    I don't know how I could be more outright than I've already been.

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  • Psychic Missile
    replied
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    "going to church" is not necessarily worship.
    Sure. The question then is what proper worship looks like, as a rule.

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  • Psychic Missile
    replied
    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Not necessarily. For instance take someone who has political aspirations who figures that attending a popular church regularly would improve his chances. He may be nominally religious, an agnostic or even an atheist but still sees an advantage to attending church regularly.

    So he routinely goes to service so that he can be seen attending and make contacts but pretty much zones out while the minister/pastor/priest gives his sermon thinking instead about the game being played on TV later that afternoon, if he can still get a round of golf in or whatever.

    The point being that such a person, although he goes to church regularly, could hardly be considered a Christian based upon his church attendance.
    So it's a dedication of mind, then?

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  • Psychic Missile
    replied
    Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
    Perhaps, but that is not how CP differentiated between the politicians who were simply "talking the talk" vs the Sheriff and Police Chief who were actually "walking the walk".
    The difference appears to be dedication. I like straight-talk, so if you think I'm mistaken I prefer you saying outright how and why.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carrikature
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    You'll have to do better than that. Demonstrate how the surrounding context would change the meaning of the verses I quoted. And simply pointing out that other people disagree is not an argument. You need to show that my understanding of scripture is incorrect and/or that theirs is (also) correct.
    As I said, your understanding of scripture is based on assumptions which need not be granted. Case in point: your quotes of Colossians and Mark decrying 'tradition'. You read these with sola scriptura already in place. It's small wonder that they serve to enforce such a view. Of course, we could pretty easily point out that one need not set aside the commands of God in order to observe certain traditions, or that tradition is also a means for transmitting the commands of God (which is pretty much a given in a system based on oral tradition). Rather, we could look at the actual context and figure out pretty easily that those verses are simply saying that "this is how we've done things" doesn't necessarily mean that this is how God wants you to act. Tradition can be in conflict with right behavior, but it need not be.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carrikature
    replied
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Not in and of itself, but as part of the overall "diagnosis".



    It may mean that they're baby or immature Christians.



    We all have problems - it's part of being human.



    Nope - just part of the bigger picture.
    Ok, I'm going to lump these together and then use it as a response to your question. In summary, we agree that someone could be immature in their faith, which includes a lack of understanding of the associated behaviors that are expected. We recognize that people have issues, and for the most part we say that's ok as long as we keep trying to improve (or at least we'll be forgiven if our remorse is sincere). In your terms, we can make a diagnosis of another person by looking at their behavior. I think all people do this anyway, regardless of faith. It's normal and necessary in many ways. In my opinion, a humble person will recognize that levels of maturity and typical human error make that diagnosis tentative at best and therefore hesitate to rely very strongly upon that diagnosis. That said, humans are good at pride, and I don't often encounter people (Christian or otherwise) that recognize how unreliable their diagnoses may actually be (that's not to say they're always off, but confirmation bias and other things come into play a lot too).


    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Do you agree that a Christian should be held to a higher standard than a non-Christian?
    I used to think they should, and I certainly see the logic behind such a claim. We expect better behavior out of older children than younger ones, for example. However, your comment about baby and immature Christians seems to counter this. We don't have a single standard for all children. We have a standard for individual children based on their behavior and our understanding of their personalities. We also have some generic standards based on age which I don't find to be very reliable (plus Christians don't 'age' based on faith, so that's not terribly helpful). The only real standard in the Christian paradigm is God's standard, but that's not something we have access to even if parts of it are laid out in the Bible.

    In the end, I'm going to say that no, I don't think Christians should be held to a higher standard. Just 'knowing better' doesn't seem to be enough. I know that many Christians claim that God, or the Holy Spirit, or just belief itself, helps Christians behave better. My experience both within and outside of those circles has lent little credence to that idea. They still seem to be just people. Some of them are pretty nasty, and some of them are incredibly kind and loving, but most of them are somewhere in between, and it often just depends on their mood. Most of them are more or less trying to be good people, even if they don't always understand what that means or where they fall short. I'll also add here that I don't see any indication that there are levels of punishment or reward when it comes to a final judgment. There's not better wheat or ideal wheat, there's just wheat and there's just chaff. Separate the two and burn the latter. Even if it's just symbolism, I think it holds pretty close to what's portrayed. On the flip side, looking for levels of punishment/reward would seem to indicate that there are better or worse sins, but I don't see that really supported either. All have sinned and fallen short. All can be forgiven.


    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    I'm glad to know that. Sincerely.

    Leave a comment:

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