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Help, My Christianity Has Been Hijacked!

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Guest blogger NorEastMom is one Christian mom who doesn't take the Bible literally and is sick of being pigeon-holed.

woman stealing cross

I am a Christian woman. Now, before you assume to know me, you might be surprised to learn a few things. I do not believe in Creationism ... although something miraculous happened to the human race clearly, otherwise monkeys would have Wii's. I do support gay marriage, and I don't take the Bible literally. My views don't strictly follow my church's views, my views have changed many times over my lifetime, and my views don't need to be yours. So, I'm just wondering if anyone might relate to my growing annoyance that nowadays when people hear you are Christian, they hear "religious extremist."

I should also mention that I was raised Catholic and still practice many of their rituals and traditions. Which might make some of you add, "Well then she's definitely NOT a Christian!" Either way, I am pretty convinced you do not have any interest in my journey of faith, religious beliefs, etc. I happen to feel that people's spirituality should be at least as confidential as their health records. So if you want to know about all my beliefs and how I arrived at them, you'll need to sign a HIPPA contract. That being said, I would like the freedom to state that I am in fact Christian in my beliefs, without someone jumping to the conclusion that I am of the Christian right.

The definition of Christian, according to Wikipedia is "a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Its followers, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and the Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. To Christians, Jesus Christ is a teacher, the model of a virtuous life, the revealer of God, as well as an incarnation of God, and most importantly the savior of humanity who suffered, died, and was resurrected to bring about salvation from sin." Nowhere does it say, "And a Christian follows only one particular translation of the New Testament, and a Christian must take all antiquated language of the Bible literally, and they must fuse their political and spiritual beliefs, and also, Christ wants everyone to be as dogmatic as possible with the rules and regulations of this religion ... no flexibility." Uh oh, my beliefs are showing ... back to the point.

In fairness, then, shouldn't anyone who believes these basic tenets be called "Christian," and the fundamentalists come up with another name for themselves, such as maybe the FUN-CHRI's? Kinda cute, right? They could be Orthodox Christians, Neo Christians, Conservative Christians, Bible-Based Christians, or of course, just Fundamentalists. Yes, the term already exists, but no one seems to be using it, and that's the problem. Certainly, I'm aware that no one intentionally took over the term Christian, and popular culture is just as much to blame for their stereotyping of this group as Bush-loving neoconservatives. But in fairness this definition "Christian" does belong to billions of other worshipers out there, be they Catholic, Protestant, or other, so let's do what Jesus would do -- and learn to share.

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20 comments so far | Post a comment now
NB December 4, 2008, 8:37 AM

AMEN Sister! I am so glad for this post! I too am a Christian, and GASP, not a Republican. I voted for Obama and am appalled by Prop 8. Please know that you are not alone and are in my prayers. Thanks again for this.

Elisa December 4, 2008, 10:59 AM

So glad someone stepped up and showed you CAN be a Christian (or any other religion, really) without being extreme.

Susanne December 4, 2008, 10:59 AM

I agree. But I find that mostly, in my neighborhood anyway (Fundamentalist) Christians are the ones who automatically exclude people who have a more open idea of what Christianity entails.

It’s frustrating, since I love Jesus too, but according to my Fundamentalist friends, I cannot rightfully call myself a Christian, because I also meditate and believe Buddha knew a thing or two.

Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) December 4, 2008, 11:05 AM

Wow, I am a Christian and I DO take the Bible literally. But I don’t consider myself to be an extremist. I do have an open mind when it comes to culturally relevant issues, and I do have faith in Obama and choose to give him a chance to prove himself. But to suggest that the Bible is not “literal” is beyond my realm of having an open-mind on matters. I enjoy several different translations, but the concept that is relevant in each translation should be a foundation of our belief not something we discredit.

Karen December 4, 2008, 11:31 AM

I think the problem is.. you are using Wikipedia’s definition of “Christian” and not the Bible’s. The word actually means “Christlike” or those that act like Christ.

Many people believe that Jesus was the Messiah, that he lived and died and even that he rose from the dead…the problem is they do not want to live like he lived.

Christianity is more then a title… it’s a relationship of love and respect. It’s also much more then simply reading the Bible or even taking the Bible as literal… It’s the day to day living your life with the understanding that your life belongs to your Creator and that this life is only a brief interlude to the eternal life to come.

I too am often frustrated by the media and the right-wing portrayal of Christianity, but I’m equally frustrated by those who call themselves Christians but obviously do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, nor do they want to follow him. After all, He did say “In that day, Many will say to me, Lord, Lord but I never knew them” (paraphrased)

Ally December 4, 2008, 11:33 AM

WHOA. There’s so much wrong with your post! First, never cite Wiki as any kind of source, cause that just makes intelligent people LOL, or click away.

Second, fundamentalist IS used, and used often.

You know, don’t you, that most fundamentalists will look down their nose at you.

Also, I have a prediction: you seem to have half a brain. I’m willing to bet you move down the continuum toward agnosticism before long. Are you one of these people: “I believe in God and Jesus, but I don’t believe in the religious institutions”? Then you’re already going that way.

Also, you’re likely one of these:”i’m spiritual but not religious.”
Well, except you practice the outdated ritualistic catholic things, which are, in their very definition, religious rituals.

Gues what? The bible is a document written by humans. Churches are institutions started by huamns. Humans are, by their very nature, fallible creatures. Everything you believe is based on a fallible system.

Come over to the dark side bwhaha.

~Ally, agnostic, nearly atheist, and yes, more intelligent then most Xians.

HMRD Cesidio Tallini December 4, 2008, 11:39 AM

The problem with your position is that the “Christians” — Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal, Anglican, Monophysites, African Independent Churches, Latter-day Saints, Evangelical, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Quakers, Assemblies of God, nominal Christians, etc. — who believe the Pope is infallible, and/or profess the Bible is infallible (their version) are the majority, not the minority. And the majority determines what Christianity is, and what Christianity isn’t.

My question to you is this: why are you so attached to the word “Christianity”, when you really have your own religion? You are “picking and choosing” what to believe, and what not to believe, so you cannot really be defined a Christian, but a Christian heretic.

Please understand I’m not putting you down, just allowing you to think with your own head. I, a Christian heretic like you, but with probably different beliefs, don’t call myself a Christian, but a Cesidian.

Cesidians deem Christians idolaters who do not worship the Lord Yeshua as the true Word of God, but really worship the book of books that is the Bible, and/or the Pope.

Cesidians believe that if Yeshua alone is not the Word, and the ‘Final Word of God’, this only reinforces the need for more Bible printing, the need to cut down more and more trees in order to continue what is essentially the dogma of the Industrial Revolution, and other environmentally-destructive practices of that age.

Thus worship of the Pope is essentially viewed as worship of a fallible human being, and worship of the Bible is essentially viewed as idolatry of the Industrial Revolution and its environmentally destructive practices, a view which is not supported in the very Bible itself, since it suggests that the ‘destroyers of the Earth’ shall they themselves be one day destroyed (Revelation 11:18).

Christianity is essentially a state religion (that’s why 2.1 billon people follow the faith), so why do you expect it to be as private and personal as your rational (or irrational) heresy? Why would you even expect Jesus to call himself a Christian, when he clearly denounces in the Gospels those that follow the highway (see long list above, usually defining itself as “Christian”), instead of his narrow way to salvation?

blogomama December 4, 2008, 12:09 PM

Wow!It’s acceptable to be extreme about animal rights,gay marriage, gay pride parades, and taking God out of everything! If standing up for God, and taking the inspired word quite literally is considered extreme so be it! Don’t be intimidated by how you’re perceived! Ladies you have your shirts on backward if you think you can serve two masters, three if you count yourself! God is the same today, tomorrow and forever! Our problem is that we think it’s all about us. Even our terrorist enemies know’s all about God! Take the blinders off and don’t fall into the world, stand up to it! I’m extreme alright! Extremely grateful, for I know where my blessings come from! Merry CHRISTMAS!

Anonymous December 4, 2008, 1:57 PM

I don’t think you could go into a church with 100 people and find even two of them who think EXACTLY alike on religious issues. Don’t worry about it, not everyone is a hater.

Courtney December 4, 2008, 2:24 PM

THANK YOU so much for this post. I totally agree. I am also Catholic but disagree with the church on social issues.

I really HATE it when people assume that Catholics are not Christians. Hello—see the big cross in the front of every Catholic church for a clue!

When did Christian get to be a bad word? Drives me crazy!

Carolyn Bahm December 4, 2008, 4:34 PM

I *loved* your post, and some of the crap pushback you’ve gotten in the comments is a perfect example of the “my-way-or-the-highway” view that is driving too many sensible, tolerant, intelligent people AWAY from Christianity. I respect the religion of my youth but think even Christ would roll his eyes at some of his more narrow-minded and literal followers.

But I guess I’ve got MY views showing now! :o)

Morning December 4, 2008, 5:04 PM

I enjoyed your post…especially the title! Ha…I love it!! I do wonder if you are confusing political issues with religion though. Clearly, most people, especially politicians, in this country confuse the two. But, I say leave the politics out of your religion and you probably won’t feel like such an outsider amongst Christians. Let me be clear, that I am not saying “don’t talk about politics”, I mean understand that politics are different for everyone…Christian or not. However, most Christians do have more in common than not when it comes to the love and grace of Christ.
Peace : )

Anonymous December 4, 2008, 7:56 PM

You said something that has been on a lot of peoples minds, like mine… but no one wanted to say it… Christianity is officially a “bad word” at this point in American culture and unless we appreciate the diversity within it, we will continue to be bullied by the extremists.

Momma December 4, 2008, 9:27 PM

As far as I’m concerned, my beliefs and my faith are not things which can be defined by someone else. Jesus knows this, God sees how I live my life. If we all stopped looking for the correct label to put on ourselves and focused on trying to live the example Christ gave us, we might actually make the world a better place together. Except for those extremists - man are they crazy!

KerryLeigh December 5, 2008, 11:30 AM

The author doesn’t know Jesus. How could she? She doesn’t understand or follow scripture. God is the word and the word became flesh. The author is whom Jesus references as ‘I never knew you” and speaks to as the lukewarm in Revelation. The author has created god in her image of what he should be, not who He truly is.

Michelle December 8, 2008, 7:49 PM

No it doesn’t shock me at all you and others “buffet religion”. Plain and simple then your not saved. Seems to be a trend these days, sadly.

Pro 14:12 “There is a way [that seems] right to a man, But its end [is] the way of death.”

Jhn 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

and for those whom don’t know what “my word” means..

Jhn 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Pick and chose what you believe all you want but it doesn’t make it a reality. Who cares what you OR anyone else declare is right; only God’s word is absolute truth.

Mat 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Simply put we are all wretched, in need of God’s forgiveness and forgiveness is found soley in repentance of sin, and faith in Jesus which is active trust in what He says based on His WORD.

One should gather from this that the Bible’s literal interpretation is very important. Your life depends on it.

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