Can We Stop Already?

Zero study of history + “Catholics aren’t really Christian” = please shut the f up.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    I liked the lady in our bible class recently. The minister asked what kinds of integrity issues we might wrestle with, and she said:

    "We don't HAVE any integrity issues, because we're here in church where we're supposed to be. You'll have to ask people out there what their issues are."

    Maybe she meant the Catholics?

    • Ace

      Yea, I knew a lot of kids growing up in a very Southern Baptist rural area who thought Catholics were “devil worshippers”. But then, I also got accused of being a “devil worshipper” because I had a few little plush toy animals safety-pinned to my backpack in high school (I thought they were cute, but apparently plush toys are the root of all evil, or something).

      I blame it on straight-up ignorance. People just repeating the crap their equally ignorant preacher or parents told them.

      • Sam Lance

        They are IDOL worshippers which breaks a Commandment correct. Also they teach UNBIBLICAL teachings such as going thru a PRiest or praying to MARY, Jesus No MAN Cometh to the Father but by ME. That is why we call ourselves CHRISTIAN because we follow Christ not a POPE or POTENTATE or FATHER.

        • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

          Calm down there, tiger.

        • denver

          If you want to know some of the reasons Catholics do the things they do or believe what they believe and where those things came from, I suggest reading apologetic Scott Hahn. He’s got a whole book about Mary: “Hail, Holy Queen: the Mother of God in the Word of God” and for Catholicism in general: “Reasons to Believe.”

  • http://homework.never-ends.net FekketCantenel

    This isn't a blog post; it's a tweet. I don't follow twitter because you get half-baked, unfinished ideas like this. I'll come back when you've written an actual post about it. If you can, throw in Martin Luther; I've always been a fan of history lessons involving him.

  • Oldstuff

    Just what are the minimum requirements for being considered a Christian. If all it takes is believing that a 1st century preacher named Jesus existed, then I am Christian….and I don't believe in God.

    • Tim

      I believe it's more than belief in the existence of a historical figure. I believe that Buddha Shakyamuni was born in 624 BC. That doesn't make me a Buddhist. Following the disciplines of a leader makes someone a Christian or a Buddhist…at least nominally. What goes on in the day-to-day relationship between a disciple of Christ and Christ is what I believe makes a Christian. If there is no God, then Jesus was just a deluded Jew that was executed roughly 2010 years ago.

      • Oldstuff

        I assume that it would have to be more than just than the belief of a historical figure, but I have yet to see the minimum height of the bar that separates Christian from non-Christian. I have (effectively) seen it argued that, even if Jesus was considered fictional, if one lived in accordance with some of his [fictional] teachings (i.e. sermon on the mount), that they would be a Christian.

        Wouldn't there necessarily be have to be some credence given to at least one supernatural aspect of the story? Is virgin birth required? (fyi: Buddha was born of a virgin) Is resurrection required? Miracles? Prophesies?

        I think Catholics are Christians, but they certainly do play loosey-goosey with a lot of things like biblical veracity, and special creation. It would be nice if there was some certification process to prove one's Christianity. My guess is that, if there were some minimum standards, half of the espoused Christian population would fall off the register. Or 99.9% of the world's population would be considered Christian (like myself). The latter would make the label meaningless.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          At first, that sounded like a very appealing idea–to render the label meaningless. I mean, a person's salvation is a matter between him/her and God; who are we to judge it and try to label it? (Let's not forget that picking the fruit of knowledge of good and evil—a vain pursuit, arising from pride & naïveté, for which we are of woefully ill capacity—is the original sin, from which all else follows.) If 99.9% of the world considered itself Christian, then religious conflicts between, for instance, Muslims and Christians would cease to exist! But then I realized that it would soon be replaced by conflict between Catholics and Baptists, and so on!

          Anyway, as a practical definition, I would suggest that those doctrinal creeds that have been held to be definitive by the vast majority of those who would call themselves Christians throughout the greater part of the time passed since Jesus' earthly ministry could be considered to constitute the critical dogma. I say it is practical in that, for example, when speaking of Arianism, it's important to specify "Arian" and not just to use the term "Christian" w/o qualification, but there are many things that could be said, such as "they believe in Jesus Christ's virgin birth," regarding Christians in general, without listing all the numerous specific sects adhering to it, though there may be those who wish to claim the title "Christian" without believing them.

          • Oldstuff

            You would not only have Baptists in conflict with Catholics, you would have Muslim-Christians in conflict with atheist-Christians and Jewish-Christians.

            After thinking about it for a bit, I don't think it is any denomination's/sect's/religion's interest to define such minimum standards. It seems that defining anything would reduce the numbers of those that could call themselves Christian. When one is hopes to achieve a majority position, the more the better. In the battle of popularity, leaving it undefined makes the most sense.

        • Diana

          There actually is an organization (I believe it is the World Council of Churches–but I could be wrong!) that does set a minimal standard for membership and I do mean minimal. Basically, you have to believe in the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and you have to believe that Jesus was both fully divine (God) and fully human. That said, I have no interest in running around telling other people how to be Christian, especially since by some people's standards, I'm not Christian.

          • Oldstuff

            How about this for a definition:

            If you interested in more people becoming Christian…then you are a Christian.

          • Joseph G. Mitzen

            The Catholic Church has had the Nicene Creed since 325 AD, changed in 381 AD that states the core beliefs required of – well, at that time, there was only one Church, all Christians. Obviously today it's the beliefs you can't dissent from and still be a Catholic. It's also used by Orthodox and many Protestant Churches (Anglican, Lutheran, etc.).

            ——–

            We believe in one God,

            the Father, the Almighty

            maker of heaven and earth,

            of all that is seen and unseen.

            We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

            the only Son of God,

            eternally begotten of the Father,

            God from God, Light from Light,

            true God from true God,

            begotten, not made,

            one in Being with the Father.

            Through him all things were made.

            For us men and for our salvation

            he came down from heaven

            by the power of the Holy Spirit

            he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

            For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

            he suffered, died, and was buried.

            On the third day he rose again

            in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

            he ascended into heaven

            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

            He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

            and his kingdom will have no end.

            We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,

            who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

            With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

            He has spoken through the Prophets.

            We believe in one holy catholic [in the meaning of "universal"] and apostolic Church.

            We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

            We look for the resurrection of the dead,

            and the life of the world to come. Amen.

          • Oldstuff

            Oh yeah!! I remember reciting that as a kid. Wow! That takes me back!

            Judging by that content…I would speculate that most Catholics are not Catholic! :-)

          • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

            Episcopalians also use the Nicene creed, and most other protestant churches use the Apostle's creed, which is quite similar, albeit a wee bit shorter. And speaking for myself, they pretty much sum up what we believe. Of course, our interpretations vary… and we take some parts more literally than others. For instance, I don't actually envision Christ "seated at the right hand of the Father," per se. But the basics are all there.

        • Tim

          As it applies to me, I believe that Jesus is the anointed Messiah. That is what Christ means. I believe Jesus was fully man AND fully God. But hey…that adds up to 200% and man can only be 100%. I say the man (Jesus) was 100% man. The God (Jesus) is 100% God. This gets into the doctrine of the trinity which isn't clearly stated in Scripture. It is only implied. The attributes of being an eternal and omnipresent God, allows [Him] to simultaneously co-exist as Father, Son and Spirit having equal prominence and interactive contact with [Himself]. All three are one God. That's some crazy shiz! But getting back to qualifiers…yes, I think without the belief that Jesus is who He says (at least according to the gospels), he is reduced to being a lunatic or a liar.

          As for Catholics, some are Christian and some are not. By their fruit, they are known…just like some Baptists, Evangelicals, Greek Orthodox, Calvinists, etc. are Christians and some are not. Missing the mark is as common to believers as it is to non-believers. Non-believers are just more often given a PASS because they're not supposed to be "Christ-like". That's why I am uncomfortable with the title "Christian". I'm not always Christ-like…but I do try to turn away from wrong and temptation and follow Jesus. I am a disciple. I am learning, and I will only graduate when I give up my ghost.

          Take care, Oldstuff!

          • Oldstuff

            Tim said: 'Non-believers are just more often given a PASS because they’re not supposed to be “Christ-like”. '

            Would you care to elaborate on that?

  • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

    I think what Tim means is that non-believers don't CLAIM to love Christ and follow his teachings, so when they fail to be Christ-like, there aren't a bunch of people waiting to bust on them. Meanwhile, we who profess to follow Christ – who publicly hold Him up as God and try to live by his teachings – are just as likely to fail (being only human), but when we do, people delight in calling us hypocrites… in pointing out the vast gulf between who we hope to be and who we are. There's a popular misunderstanding that we Christians think we're better and more righteous than everybody else. It's easy to see how this misunderstanding arose. But the truth, in my experience, is just the opposite – most of us have come to Christ because we know we're NOT good or righteous.

    • Oldstuff

      OK. I could accept that. I was thinking that Tim was alluding to non-believers being somehow less moral or ethical.

  • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

    Well, I don't actually know Tim, but I can't imagine that's what he meant. After all, he says "Missing the mark is as common to believers as to unbelievers…" (Tim, help me out here. Am I on the mark… or missing it?)


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