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View Diary: Shocking Video: Morning Joe Crew Hammers Rev. Franklin Graham (265 comments)

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  •  Okay let's play this game (0+ / 0-)

    Christians:  Monotheists who believe that Jesus Christ was sent to earth by the one God in order to be the savior of humankind.
    In my view, that's as good a definition as one can get, IF it's necessary to impose a definition at all.  The important thing is that "Christian" is more of a social identity that people apply and use in their lives, not an object like a motorcycle.  Pretending that the term has a more objective, absolute definition might seem convenient, but it is distorting.

    -"Do Christians believe in the Trinity?"  No, not necessarily.  That doctrine was cooked up by Tertullian in the third century.  Christians did not generally believe in it before then, and many still do not today.  Here are 26 Christian groups that do not subscribe to Trinitarianism: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    -"Do they believe that God created the universe (directly or indirectly), including man?"  The Gnostics and the Cathars did not.  Are you siding with Irenaeus and Bernard of Clairvaux, and pronouncing them to be heretics and not real Christians?

    -"Do they believe that man was born with original sin?"  Eastern Orthodox Christians don't, so I guess you'll have to take that one up with the Patriarch:  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The meaning and beliefs of Christianity are not consistent across time or space.  They are constantly in dispute and up for debate.  To pretend that there is some set of core axioms of "real" Christianity is to intervene and take sides in those debates, even if unintentionally.  The most honest approach, in my view, is to accept variety and ambiguity.  If it is impossible to axiomatize such a seemingly simple system as arithmetic, then how can it be possible to axiomatize a religion?  

    •  I agree with a lot of what you say (0+ / 0-)

      and you are raising great points.

      It is dicey to talk about whether Christianity has evolved over time in such a way that it is intrinsically different from the early church beliefs to such an extent that it no longer the same religion.  I totally agree with you that is an issue that can be debated.  

      I also agree with you that trying to define "christianity" from day one, when so many different takes on things existed, amounts to pedantry.  There was no set of written dogma and no system of theology.

      However, by your own definition of Christians, LDS doesn't fit because they do not believe in "the one God", but rather that each man is a little god.  God is only a bigger version.

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