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Featured What makes a Christian?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Heyo, Nov 28, 2022.

  1. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    What are, in your opinion, the defining characteristics of a Christian?

    There are 41,000+ denominations in Christianity. That fact alone shows that there have to be a lot of differences between them. But are there still communalities left? Has the claim to be a Christian any value any more?
    Being an atheist answers exactly one question and nothing more. Does being a Christian tell me more?
     
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  2. Exaltist Ethan

    Exaltist Ethan Synverse Shaper

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    Why do all the non-religious claim there's 41,000 denominations of Christianity? There isn't. The people that count that number use every nation's religion as a different denomination. There isn't 200+ versions of Catholicism, there is one Catholic church. In reality there is probably only 400-500 different major Christian denominations.

    But anyways, there is the Nicene Creed and the Apostle's Creed that most denominations swear allegiance to. Most swear by the Bible, and most of those denominations swear by the King James Version of the Bible, although this isn't always true. If you believe Christ is your lord and savior but don't attend church or read the Bible I would still consider yourself a Christian, even if a nominal one.

    Christians believe Christ is God made flesh. That he's perfect. He is God incarnate. At least to trinitarian Christians. That's all that really matters to them.
     
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  3. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist

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    This has been debunked.
     
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  4. Snow White

    Snow White Veteran Member

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    It's a good question. One thing to keep in mind is that Catholics are also considered Christians, and some of their beliefs are quite a bit different than Protestants, in my opinion.
     
  5. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Correct, there isn't, its over 45000,
    Quick Facts About Global Christianity - Center for the Study of Global Christianity
    Now getting close to 50,000 and increase at around 5 new denominations per week.

    There are also 200+ different versions of the bible in the English language, each is different, some considerably so. Who knows how many in other languages.

    Yes there are a lot of denominations of Christianity in the world , i wonder why some people are so keen to deny it
     
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  6. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    To begin with, being an atheist has as many varieties to it as being a Christian does. You have strong atheists and weak atheists. You have anti-theist atheists and spiritual atheists. You have militant atheists, and agnostic atheists. You have evangelical atheists, and non-evangelical atheists. And so forth.

    But like atheism has really one common theme, that they believe that God as they understand God, does not exist, Christianity would have one common theme as well, that Jesus teaches the way to find God and they follow his teachings. How Jesus is understood theologically, differs as much as atheism in its perspectives of reality does.

    As far as things like swearing allegiance to the Apostles Creed, and whatnot, clearly that is not what makes someone a Christian. There were countless Christians before that was codified into a doctrinal statement by organized religion. All that means is you swear allegiance to that church's authority over your faith and beliefs. It's sort of like saying that only Christian who believe the Bible is God's word are real Christians. I guess that means no Christian in the first several centuries before the Bible existed, weren't Christians. Obviously, there is something wrong with that argument.
     
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  7. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    The Bible defines who is a Christian. Matt 7:16-27 which includes 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: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
     
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  8. Exaltist Ethan

    Exaltist Ethan Synverse Shaper

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    All this says to me is that you interpret what a denomination is differently than me, and most likely the five new denominations being made per week only represents already established religions reaching to new and different nations. We already had this discussion, Christine.

    This is probably true, but the King James Version is used the vast majority of the time.

    Whether the number is 400 or "45,000" it doesn't make Christianity look good in any way, honestly.

    I watch Ready to Harvest and I agree with his claim that the "45,000" number is inflated. You don't. So I'm going to have to talk to you like you are speaking a different language regarding this.
     
    #8 Exaltist Ethan, Nov 28, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2022
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  9. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist

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    From your link

    "Denominations are defined and measured at the country level, creating a large number of separate denominations within Christian families and Christian traditions."
    The way they measure is "creating a large number of seperate denominations". In other words, the way they define denomination is not the conventional manner. And this "creates" seperate denominations where there aren't any.
    We're keen to deny it, because we've researched it a bit more carefully, and it's propaganda.
     
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  10. Left Coast

    Left Coast The Fabulous
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    Does this mean non-Trinitarian Christians are not Christians, in your view?
     
  11. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    In your opinion. In my opinion people interpret the version of the bible they prefer in their own way, so many differences.


    ?? Did we ??

    It's true that the KJV is said to be the gold standard, although if you look at it's construction (yes i think thats the right word) its hard to see how. And among protestants its popular. There are more catholics though and they don't use the KJV.

    If you say so
     
  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I've been a participant in a similar discussion with regard to my faith, and came out of all that with a simple conclusion that I could live with, regarding individuals. It may or may not be helpful in this discussion. It was helpful to me, as it respects all. If the person calls themselves a Christian, (in my previous discussion, a Hindu) then they are. Who am I (or you) to decide for another person how they want to label themselves religiously?
     
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  13. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Or we can just say hey they are all Christian so its only 1.


    If i count pebbles on a beach i count the pebbles, not the beach


    You will have documentation/evidence then?
     
  14. Exaltist Ethan

    Exaltist Ethan Synverse Shaper

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    Hmm. I don't know enough about Christianity to comment one way or the other. I know enough about Unitarian Universalism to tell you that most modern Unitarians are not Christian. But are Jehovah Witnesses Christian? I'm not entirely sure either way to be honest. Christian Unitarians do act differently than the majority of trinitarian Christians, and don't place so much emphasis on Jesus. But virtually all Catholics and most Protestants are trinitarian.

    Some of the things I say are meant to be ambiguous because I am not myself sure either way, and I put it towards the reader to decide for themselves. If you asked me directly, "Are Jehovah Witnesses Christian?" My answer would probably change depending on what evidence I get the most recently. I know Jehovah Witnesses call themselves Christian, which to me matters more than if I call them Christian.
     
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  15. Left Coast

    Left Coast The Fabulous
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    Ironically, for some of these smaller Christian groups like Witnesses, the fact that they are so small is seen by them as evidence that they're the "real" Christians. Following Jesus' "narrow way" and all that.
     
  16. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist

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    Pebbles on the beach are highly uniform. It would be incorrect to imply otherwise.
    Well. Sure. List of Christian denominations - Wikipedia

    There's no where near 45,000 entries in this list. The entire article has less than 15,000 words.
     
  17. Exaltist Ethan

    Exaltist Ethan Synverse Shaper

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    Christianity as a whole should be viewed with the most ecumenical reach as possible. I am not a Christian. I will never be a Christian. But if I were a Christian I would follow a mainline denomination, like Disciples of Christ, mostly because they have full ecumenical agreements with a variety of other mainline churches. The ones who don't practice with ecumenical reach or open communion are Christian in my opinion, but, their reach is stanchly limited by their non-member restrictions. Christian religions who reject ecumenical reach tend to be very snobby.
     
  18. Sgt. Pepper

    Sgt. Pepper RF's resident Beatlemaniac. ☮ and ❤

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    It's not my intent to stir the pot, but I have to question whether Wikipedia is a reliable source or not. I've used Wikipedia as a source in the past and have been told by several people that it isn't a reliable source. What do you think? My college-aged children told me that they weren't allowed to use Wiki as a source when they wrote a paper. They were told that it wasn't considered a reliable source.
     
    #18 Sgt. Pepper, Nov 28, 2022
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  19. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist

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    The actual word count is 11,471. Each denomination is usually titled with 3-4 words.

    11,471 / 3 = 3823. So even if the wikipedia article contained purely a list, no other words, no other footnotes, the list would contain approx. 3800 denominations.

    3,823 is approx. 33% of the original claim of 41,000 denominations. That's 66% error. Per wikipedia.
     
  20. Snow White

    Snow White Veteran Member

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    It depends on who you ask.

    I actually consider Wikipedia a reliable source. But there are some on this forum who were taught a certain way, that is different than certain Wikipedia articles, and tend to try to discredit them, without providing much meat as to why.

    But I'm also open-minded to the idea that some things could be very wrong on Wikipedia.
     
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