Your Christian ideology

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Your Christian ideology

Postby spongebob » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:39 am

I'm interested to know more about about how different Christians see their Christian beliefs. In my experience, most Christians I've encountered can be categorized into just a few groups even though there are many more versions than this. This is in no way an attempt to force someone into a category they don't feel they belong in or to over simplify Christianity. What I'm tying to do is understand where people are coming from and often that doesn't come across when you are talking about something like abortion or homosexual marriage.

1. Charismatic or fundamental, meaning they believe the Bible literally and believe in a holy spirit that is active in the lives of humans, intervening regularly with miraculous events.

2. Evangelical, meaning that the Bible is taken literally and Jesus is a personal god, intervening in their life on occasion. This group strongly believes in the personal salvation through proclaimed belief in Jesus as god and savior.

3. Doctrinal, meaning that god and Jesus are a given but that it is our duty to follow the rules of the Bible and church though divine intervention may not necessarily be a part of this spirituality (think Catholics and Orthodox).

4. Intellectual, meaning they see evidence in the universe and history that supports the existence of the Christian god and feel that this is a logical ideology, but do not accept literal readings of the Bible and may even fall far short of spiritual or holy interpretations of heaven and the afterlife.

5. Cultural, meaning there is little or no concern about the spiritual or holy aspects of religion, but the morals and ethics of Christianity are valued.

6. Philosophical, meaning they are sort of a mash up of Christianity and new age spiritualities that could draw from any number of sources. Some Christians will not recognize this group as Christian at all, but call them cultists.

Before you answer, understand that I'm well aware that this breakdown is far from complete. There is probably an infinitely divisible spectrum of Christian beliefs and some of them likely cross over from one to another, but this is an attempt to shorten the list to a digestible level on to open an opportunity for Christians to explain their beliefs if they feel like doing so. I would like to understand where people fall on this spectrum, and feel free to add or subtract any elements that you see fit.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby Rian » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:18 pm

Hey Sponge, I'm finally getting to this! (Sponge had originally PMed me with this question and then decided to move it here).
I've thought about it for the past week or so, and I guess the way I would describe myself is a love-God-and-love-others Christian. Now this doesn't mean fluffy love; love can and should be tough sometimes. But the focus is on love.

I'll go through your points though anyway:
I believe in a pretty straightforward reading of the Bible. I believe in the Holy Spirit living in a Christian and interacting in a real and significant way. I believe Jesus is a personal God (part of the Trinity) and that it takes some kind of volitional act to become a Christian (and this can be something other than reciting the 4 Spiritual Laws). I think, as Jesus said, the law and prophets are summed up in love God and love others, so I'm not a big person on laws, and I think the Bible teaches that we are not technically under the covenants/laws anymore (although there are many valuable guidelines), but actually we have a higher standard, which is love. I feel Christianity is a logical ideology and is supported (but not proved) by many things and by logic.

I just read through what you wrote and picked out things that I believe.

Is that what you're talking about?
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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby spongebob » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:01 pm

This is what I was interested in. I would like to see what other Christians say as well.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby Rian » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:43 pm

Was that pretty much where you thought I was?

And could you please put a brief summary of where you were re your points in the OP before you became an atheist, just for reference so it's all on one thread?

Rather a messy sentence, but I'm better with numbers, I guess!
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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby spongebob » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:27 pm

Rian wrote:Was that pretty much where you thought I was?


Yes, I think so. I guess I had a pretty good impression of your beliefs.

And could you please put a brief summary of where you were re your points in the OP before you became an atheist, just for reference so it's all on one thread?


I would say that I was a Bible literalist, at least until I was maybe 20 years old. I was taught repeatedly in the literal, direct interaction of god in our lives but I must admit that I had a very difficult time with this and struggled to believe it. I did believe that one must profess openly to belief in Jesus as one's personal savior in order to be "saved" and thus enter heaven, and for a very long time I truly believed that this permanently and irrevocably changed you. Until I stopped believing those things, of course. On the list I posted, I was a firm #2. But the primary reason for this was my upbringing. But I did not come by these beliefs on my own through learning and questioning; I came by them through isolated indoctrination.

The most revealing thing I can say that I've learned is that belief is a very powerful thing. You can be convinced to believe in things and belief can convince you of many things. But belief is not necessarily truth nor reality.

My current position may not be what you expect. I do not accept the Christian god as real or Jesus as a divine individual as described by the Baptist faith, or any of the Protestant or Catholic faiths that I'm aware of; and this goes for all other gods as well. I can relate to some Christians who are much more free spirited than this, though. But I'm no absolutist either. I know that there are things that we don't understand and I'm willing to accept that there could be an intelligence of some sort that we cannot explain or describe or detect, though some of us may actually be able to experience it. I believe that if this is true, it is more about the fabric of the universe, which includes us. The universe, in it's totality, may be alive and conscious in some way that we cannot understand, and it may be active in ways we cannot imagine. Of course I also believe that it's possible that we are nothing more than a computer simulation being run by an almost unimaginably higher intelligence. I don't believe in any sort of heaven or Valhalla, or any continuing awareness after the death of our physical body. I believe our consciousness simply vanishes just like that of our pets when they die. I believe that our mind is totally connected to our gray matter and cannot exist beyond it.

I know you didn't ask for my current ideology, but it just felt natural to describe my current self after I put my old Christian self in perspective. Ultimately, I have no animosity for my past teachings or beliefs because I feel that they helped to guide me into the type of person I am today. I imagine that if I had grown up Buddhist I would likely be a much different person today.

Rather a messy sentence, but I'm better with numbers, I guess!


No it wasn't that bad.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby Chapabel » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:33 am

I would definitely consider myself a fundamental, evangelical. I don't know that I would lump Charismatic and fundamental into one group. Charismatics are more pew-jumping, snake-handling, tongue speaking Pentecostals and Church of God members. Baptists are more fundamental and evangelical. But that's just my opinion.
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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby spongebob » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:19 am

Chapabel wrote:I would definitely consider myself a fundamental, evangelical. I don't know that I would lump Charismatic and fundamental into one group. Charismatics are more pew-jumping, snake-handling, tongue speaking Pentecostals and Church of God members. Baptists are more fundamental and evangelical. But that's just my opinion.


This sounds a bit like a derogatory description to me. What I was looking for are the different types or levels of belief that separate different Christians. Charismatics are known for their beliefs in things like spiritual gifts, the common occurrence of miracles, healing, prophecy, and yes speaking in tongues is often included as a result of channeling the holy spirit or holy ghost. Fundamentalism refers to the tendency to interpret the Bible in a strict literal fashion. Charismatics certain do this as well as Baptists. So I would agree they aren't one group, but fundamentalism actually overlaps with many groups. I didn't include fundamentalism as a description for Baptists although it does often apply. Some Baptists I know find the term offensive while I'm sure others don't.
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby Chapabel » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:20 pm

spongebob wrote:
Chapabel wrote:I would definitely consider myself a fundamental, evangelical. I don't know that I would lump Charismatic and fundamental into one group. Charismatics are more pew-jumping, snake-handling, tongue speaking Pentecostals and Church of God members. Baptists are more fundamental and evangelical. But that's just my opinion.


This sounds a bit like a derogatory description to me. What I was looking for are the different types or levels of belief that separate different Christians. Charismatics are known for their beliefs in things like spiritual gifts, the common occurrence of miracles, healing, prophecy, and yes speaking in tongues is often included as a result of channeling the holy spirit or holy ghost. Fundamentalism refers to the tendency to interpret the Bible in a strict literal fashion. Charismatics certain do this as well as Baptists. So I would agree they aren't one group, but fundamentalism actually overlaps with many groups. I didn't include fundamentalism as a description for Baptists although it does often apply. Some Baptists I know find the term offensive while I'm sure others don't.

Oh, I didn't mean it derogatory at all. My Church of God friends and I pick at each other about our particular church characteristics. Many times us fundamental Baptists are accused of snake-handling. Its done in jest. But Baptist aren't normally included in the Charismatic movement even though many Baptist churches are fundamental in nature. I see where we could overlap as you suggest.
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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby Rian » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:36 pm

Sponge - no problem; I'm glad you shared to where you are now.

Anyone else?
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby searchengineguy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:19 am

Rian wrote:Sponge - no problem; I'm glad you shared to where you are now.

Anyone else?

Very minor Christian upbringing for me, just cultural and by birth. We thought very little of Christianity. Much like what Homer thinks of Ned Flanders.
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- George Carlin.
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Re: Your Christian ideology

Postby searchengineguy » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:50 pm

Just adding to the above, I actually thought that God was an old guy with a beard until I reached about six and I actually thought that Jesus was a tall, white blued eyed person of wisdom until I was about 12. Just because of all the images that were spread throughout our culture I believed it must have been so. Later I realised that the whole idea was silly.

On a side note, we laughed when we saw an ad of a black Ronald McDonald in Bali, I betcha there are similar images of a black curly haired Jesus in black societies.
Frisbeetarianism: is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.
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