Re: What Christ says
- From: "Jani" <jani@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2006 02:50:52 GMT
"Brushwork" <late_apecks@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
B.G. Kent wrote:
Bren (Christian and happy to be!)
(snipped a lot of an excellent post, because the mod keeps bouncing me for
my lousy snippage ;)
Why people who reject the tenets of Christianity feel compelled to call
themselves Christians is a mystery to me. They could just as easily use
a more accurate label: mystic, humanist, agnostics, Buddhist,
syncretist, Bahai Faith, whatever.
Very much the same point I just made on another ng, in regard to
christo-paganism. Nothing at all wrong with having a syncretic personal
spiritual path, but why insist on the christo- tag if there is nothing of
the central tenets of Christianity in it? There are plenty of people -
including agnostics and atheists - who subscribe to *some* Christian
principles, because they find them morally sound, but wouldn't dream of
referring to themselves as Christians. Same as there are plenty who practise
elements of Buddhism, but don't consider themselves Buddhists.
I suspect they cling to the
"Christian" label because they have some need to identify themselves as
members of group they think is socially acceptable. Maybe their inner
parent keeps repeating "Christian good, non-Christian bad."
I think you've hit the nail on the head. Because Christianity is so integral
to western culture, the label's a kind of passport to social acceptability:
"you might have some rather outre ideas, but you're still 'one of us'."
People who actually do belong to "group X" have no need to keep redefining X
to suit themselves: it's the ones who are scared of not-belonging who do
Well, it's self-evident that you can call yourself whatever you like.
But you seem to forget that you're participating in a group the purpose
of which is COMMUNICATION. And the agreed upon means of communication
is the ENGLISH LANGUAGE, not "Brenspeak." When you flout the
conventions of the group by defining important words like "Christian"
according to your personal whims, you should not be surprised that
others are offended.
The exchanges have been interesting, though, in exploring some of the
boundaries between what is still Christianity, albeit a liberal variant
thereof, and what is not. For me, the sticking-point would be "love God and
your neighbour" as a *definition* of Christianity, as opposed to something
which Christians do. It not only ignores so much which distinguishes
Christianity from other faiths, it insults those of other faiths who also
love God and their neighbour, and are most certainly not Christians.
You ought to take an honest look at your beliefs and how you
communicate about them with others. I think you will realize that you
need to make a choice:
-- Accept your beliefs for what they are (seemingly a potpurri of
Eastern mysticism, liberal Christianity, deism, neo-gnosticism, and
ideas gleaned from popular culture) and find a better label. Call
yourself a Universalist or an eclectic or a "Brenist" or whatever. But
NOT a Christian. Or...
-- Study a religion, believe in it, practice it, and then wear THAT
-- Get a clue and become an atheist. Or...
-- Drop the labels entirely and just be Bren.
Brushwork, this has been said - although less eloquently and politely - on
soc.culture, pagan, and other christian newsgroups, literally for *years*.
And in every case, the OP has presented herself as a member of the "social
club" in question - occasionally with some grain of a valid claim, but more
often quite dishonestly - and attempted to re-work terms and definitions to
validate that purported membership. And in all that time, no-one has had a
problem with her following a *personal* spiritual path - the issue has
always been her attempts to shatter and re-mould established theologies and
practices so the personal path can be given the same label. In every case,
the question "why do you want to call yourself X when you're clearly not X?"
has been met with the same response "You don't speak for all X, and so I can
define X how I want."
Now, up to a point, this is fair. Christianity has "many mansions";
neopaganism is a very big playing-field; many North Americans measure their
self-identity according to their original heritage rather than that of the
"new country", and so on. But only up to a point. Once you blur the lines so
that those who actually have a particular inheritance, or follow a
particular belief system, are indistinguishable from those who do not, then
heritage and belief systems become meaningless. I happen to like diversity;
I don't think that promoting a worldview where discrete and vibrant elements
are stirred up into a grey, homogenous mass of "we are all ONE" does anyone
But, as the OP is fond of saying, that's just my opinion :)
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