Can you be a Christian but not believe Jesus was conceived immaculately or that he was the son of God?

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    Feb 19, 2010 4:01 PM GMT
    This question was prompted because I recently picked up that "Jesus" book in Phildelphia airport on a ludicrously long trip to get to Cancun (never again). For the record, it was quite interesting until he suggested Christ was a "guru" and I suspect he regards himself as such (purlease, get over it you big-headed nob Deepak).

    But anyway, I was educated as a Catholic and no longer align myself fully with that faith (for fairly obvious reasons, amongst others). I do believe, though, that everything Mr. Christ had to say was quite cool. Not sure I believe he rose from the dead, but I think it's a wonderful metaphor.

    Can I call myself a Christian?

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    Feb 19, 2010 4:20 PM GMT

    Yes, you can.
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    Feb 19, 2010 4:33 PM GMT
    You can call yourself a walnut if you like. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Feb 19, 2010 4:51 PM GMT
    I don't think it really matters how you define yourself. Find whatever spiritual path works for you and go with it--shouldn't sprirituality transcend any arbitrary definition, anyway? When you look at it, all beliefs and faiths are trying to get to the same place: transcendence and transformation. You don't need a definition for that.
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    Feb 19, 2010 6:37 PM GMT
    MrJingles saidaccording to Wiki:
    "A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who Christians believe is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and the Son of God."

    The part about the immaculate conception is a Catholic belief and maybe some other denominations believe that as well.



    But the ressurection is core to all Christian denominations, right? Some British Bishop or someone (CofE) said a few years ago that if you don't believe in that, you can't be "Christian" and the entire faith is built upon it icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 19, 2010 8:26 PM GMT
    There were lots of forms of "Christianity" in the early centuries. Emperor Constantine held a famous synod, Council of Nicea, trying to get everybody to agree. Eventually the other forms of Christianity got beat out by the form we know now.

    lostchristianities.jpg
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    Feb 19, 2010 9:15 PM GMT
    In all seriousness, yeah his teachings were great. But essentially the same with a lot of other prophets and religions throughout the millenia. And I kinda take issue with the 'I am the [only] way, the truth, and the life' thing. You can't help but wonder how much of his 'biography' was edited, how much was made up (his genealogy certainly was), how much was exaggerated, how much was twisted to serve the people who inherited his 'mantle' so to say. The Catholic Empire certainly squeezed all they can from it.

    In the strictest sense, the only criteria for you to be a christian is to believe that Jesus was THE messiah. In contrast to say, Muslims who believe that he is still to come (as the Mahdi) or the Jews who also think that the Messiah proper will only come right before the end of the world, and Jesus was only a prophet (or a deluded one, hence his judgement). But... whut evar.

    People who obsess on rituals don't deserve the title of christians anyway. So much has been lost to blindly following rites and rules, nitpicking every single passage in the Bible, that nobody takes notice of the CORE message. It's the same with the prayer wheels in Buddhism, the Feng Shui of Confucianism, the Shariah of Islam, etc etc etc. People think enlightenment is in the smaller details for some reason...

    Anywho, I'm atheist, and I think Jesus was cool if a bit kooky. icon_biggrin.gif So was Buddha, the 14th Dalai Lama, not so much on Mohammed, maybe Lao Tzu, etc. etc. etc.
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    Feb 20, 2010 4:28 AM GMT
    My question, which did not go over well with my religion teacher in high school, was when God knocked up Mary, did she at least have an orgasm? And if she did, did she scream out "OH GOD!!!!"?

    Now how was Joseph suppose to follow that?icon_twisted.gif
  • Tyinstl

    Posts: 353

    Feb 20, 2010 7:25 AM GMT
    Sedative saidIn all seriousness, yeah his teachings were great. But essentially the same with a lot of other prophets and religions throughout the millenia. And I kinda take issue with the 'I am the [only] way, the truth, and the life' thing. You can't help but wonder how much of his 'biography' was edited, how much was made up (his genealogy certainly was), how much was exaggerated, how much was twisted to serve the people who inherited his 'mantle' so to say. The Catholic Empire certainly squeezed all they can from it.


    This is troublesome to me. Why would God allow truth to be so convoluted if belief is what causes one to be saved =(
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    Feb 20, 2010 8:23 AM GMT
    Belief does not cause you to be "saved". It´s all as true as Zeus, Pan and Poseidon. Live your life, try to be a positive influence in the world and stop worrying.
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Feb 20, 2010 8:36 AM GMT
    soulman1969 saidMy question, which did not go over well with my religion teacher in high school, was when God knocked up Mary, did she at least have an orgasm? And if she did, did she scream out "OH GOD!!!!"?

    Now how was Joseph suppose to follow that?icon_twisted.gif


    That is hilarious! I can't wait to use that on some by the book christians.
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    Feb 20, 2010 12:04 PM GMT
    Tyinstl said

    This is troublesome to me. Why would God allow truth to be so convoluted if belief is what causes one to be saved =(


    Don't ask me. I'm atheist. icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 20, 2010 2:59 PM GMT
    Sedative> Don't ask me. I'm atheist

    So you see? Atheism doesn't have all the answers after all!
    (:

    As for the topic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arian_controversy

    The Arian controversy describes several controversies related to Arianism which divided the Christian church from before the Council of Nicaea in 325 to after the Council of Constantinople in 381. The most important of these controversies concerned the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
    ...
    The Cappadocians’ insistence on three co-equal divine Persons, however, subjected them to accusations of tritheism. The extreme opposite, Sabellianism, also widespread at that time, conflated the three Persons into one and saw no distinctions among them whatsoever. The theologians, therefore, had to articulate the unity of the divine essence as well as the distinctness of Persons in the Godhead.

    As time went on and in response to continual controversy, the Cappadocians’ theological writings increased in nuance and also in clarity. What emerged from them was the orthodox Christian belief that God is a unity of Three distinct yet inseparable and equal Persons. The Cappadocian theologians worked out this theology by establishing the distinctness of the divine Persons, the communitarian relationships of the Three, and the unity of their divine essence.
    ...
    The Homoousians taught that the Son is of the same substance as the Father, i.e. both uncreated. The Sabellian form had been condemned as heresy in the 3rd century. The Athanasian form would be declared orthodox at the Council of Constantinople in 383, and has become the basis of most of modern trinitarianism.

    According to the historian Socrates of Constantinople, Marcellus of Ancyra and Photinus of Sirmium taught "that Christ was a mere man." Their opponents associated the teachings of Marcellus of Ancyra and Photinus of Sirmium with those of Sabellius and Paul of Samosata, which had been widely rejected before the controversy.

    The Homoians taught that the Son is similar to the Father, either "in all things" or "according to the scriptures," without speaking of substance. Several members of the other schools, such as Hosius of Cordoba and Aëtius, also accepted certain Homoian formulae.

    The Heteroousians taught that the Son is of a different substance from the Father, i.e. created. Arius had taught this early in the controversy, and Aëtius would teach the later Anomoean form.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_of_Jesus

    Nestorianism teaches that Jesus was two persons, rather than one, rejecting the unity of Jesus' natures, whereas Monophysitism teaches that Jesus had one nature, rather than two. Neither of these views differ concerning the other points. Docetism, conversely, teaches that Jesus' humanity was merely an illusion, and instead he is understood as purely divine. This view does not teach the incarnation or the mortal death of Jesus by crucifixion, and understands the resurrection in significantly different terms.

    Non-trinitarianism does not define God in terms of three divine persons. Some of these groups teach that Jesus is not, or at least was not always, God. Others see Jesus as God, but not distinct from the Father or Spirit, often describing those as merely changes in appearance, or modes of existence. Mormons consider Jesus to be a separate being, united as one with the Father and Spirit only in purpose.

    Some Liberal Christians generally consider Jesus to have been an ordinary man only. They generally believe that miraculous and prophetic events in Jesus' life were not historical. They sometimes find a metaphorical meaning in what they consider fictitious accounts of his life. Jesus' relationship with God is described in widely diverse views within this group.
    ...
    Unitarians, descendants of Reformation era Socinians, view Jesus as never more than human.

    Also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarianism

    See original articles for more information, footnotes and links.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2010 6:48 PM GMT
    Sedative saidIn all seriousness, yeah his teachings were great. But essentially the same with a lot of other prophets and religions throughout the millenia. And I kinda take issue with the 'I am the [only] way, the truth, and the life' thing. You can't help but wonder how much of his 'biography' was edited, how much was made up (his genealogy certainly was), how much was exaggerated, how much was twisted to serve the people who inherited his 'mantle' so to say. The Catholic Empire certainly squeezed all they can from it.

    In the strictest sense, the only criteria for you to be a christian is to believe that Jesus was THE messiah. In contrast to say, Muslims who believe that he is still to come (as the Mahdi) or the Jews who also think that the Messiah proper will only come right before the end of the world, and Jesus was only a prophet (or a deluded one, hence his judgement). But... whut evar.

    People who obsess on rituals don't deserve the title of christians anyway. So much has been lost to blindly following rites and rules, nitpicking every single passage in the Bible, that nobody takes notice of the CORE message. It's the same with the prayer wheels in Buddhism, the Feng Shui of Confucianism, the Shariah of Islam, etc etc etc. People think enlightenment is in the smaller details for some reason...

    Anywho, I'm atheist, and I think Jesus was cool if a bit kooky. icon_biggrin.gif So was Buddha, the 14th Dalai Lama, not so much on Mohammed, maybe Lao Tzu, etc. etc. etc.


    And Oprah. ;-)
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    Feb 20, 2010 6:50 PM GMT
    TallGWMvballer said
    soulman1969 saidMy question, which did not go over well with my religion teacher in high school, was when God knocked up Mary, did she at least have an orgasm? And if she did, did she scream out "OH GOD!!!!"?

    Now how was Joseph suppose to follow that?icon_twisted.gif


    That is hilarious! I can't wait to use that on some by the book christians.


    That's shocking. No, she was full of grace and the Lord was with thee. She. You. She was, is blessed among women and so was the fruit of her womb.
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    Feb 20, 2010 6:53 PM GMT
    Tyinstl said
    Sedative saidIn all seriousness, yeah his teachings were great. But essentially the same with a lot of other prophets and religions throughout the millenia. And I kinda take issue with the 'I am the [only] way, the truth, and the life' thing. You can't help but wonder how much of his 'biography' was edited, how much was made up (his genealogy certainly was), how much was exaggerated, how much was twisted to serve the people who inherited his 'mantle' so to say. The Catholic Empire certainly squeezed all they can from it.


    This is troublesome to me. Why would God allow truth to be so convoluted if belief is what causes one to be saved =(


    Cos you can't have belief (or, more aptly, "Faith" with a capital F) unless there's a challenge to those/that belief(s).

    You don't "believe" that a dog says woof, you just "know" it. Unless you're a Spanish speaker, in which case it it apparently says "bow wow" like in the song. That's some f*cked up sh*t, really. Who heard a dog and came up with that theory?

    Anyway ... I digress ;-)
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    Feb 20, 2010 7:14 PM GMT
    "Nestorianism teaches that Jesus was two persons, rather than one, rejecting the unity of Jesus' natures, whereas Monophysitism teaches that Jesus had one nature, rather than two. Neither of these views differ concerning the other points"

    no, this is the text book mistake. (1) Nestorius almost certainly did not believe in what is called nestorianism (2) he claimed that the each nature had a theoretical independent existence (no confusion of the natures), but that in the incarnation there was a union of the persons in the prosopon of Christ. Cyril and the later Nicenes wanted to argue for a union at the level of the divine and human natures, which to the nestorian mind was too close to a mixing of the natures into something new, a single divine/human nature, which was the actual monophysite position.
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    Feb 21, 2010 4:14 AM GMT
    As pointed out already there were so many branches and sects of "Christianity" and some of them were not even called Christians per se. I don't think that the earliest Christians thought Jesus was GOD.

    In any case you would have to define "christian" but different sects have definitions that disqualify each other. I think if you follow the philosophies of Jesus you could call yourself Christian, but I don't know why people feel the need to call themselves anything.

    I feel that right now I would not want to call myself Christian since it is so tainted by people who have done very evil things and call themselves Christian. It is kinda pointless.
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    Feb 21, 2010 10:48 PM GMT
    Brit_Bloke said
    TallGWMvballer said
    soulman1969 saidMy question, which did not go over well with my religion teacher in high school, was when God knocked up Mary, did she at least have an orgasm? And if she did, did she scream out "OH GOD!!!!"?

    Now how was Joseph suppose to follow that?icon_twisted.gif


    That is hilarious! I can't wait to use that on some by the book christians.


    That's shocking. No, she was full of grace and the Lord was with thee. She. You. She was, is blessed among women and so was the fruit of her womb.


    This misogynistic idea founded by the church, denies Mary her sexuality and her own womanhood. It belittles all women who've given birth naturally and embrace their sexuality. Just my two cents.

    Mary and Jesus, were after all human. And with human functions and flaws.
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    Feb 26, 2010 5:21 AM GMT
    Nope, u can't be a Christian and NOT believe in the articles in the Creed from the first seven councils.
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    Mar 28, 2010 2:13 PM GMT
    NO, if you dont believe this you're NOT a christian.
  • Delivis

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    Mar 28, 2010 2:28 PM GMT
    Technically no, it is impossible. A Christian has to believe in Christ as a god, A Muslim must believe in Allah, and a Catholic must believe in Cathol (lol, Eddie Izzard reference).

    But in a very silly way the answer can be yes.

    In what one might call moderate religion there is a lot of misuse of language. I know many people who go to, say, a unitarian church who call themseleves religious but who do not believe in a god. They are atheists by definition but want to cling to identifying as some kind of vague Christian.

    Ask a moderate religionist what they think god is and rarely one gets a cogent answer. Umm, god is just love, yeah! He is the force behind of the universe, the alpha and the omega, the perfect circle. Ok, that is just a lot of meaningless white noise. If you want, of course you can define god, for yoruself, to be your kitchen sink, Jesus as the hole in it, and a Christian as someone who has two legs and voila, you are a Christian who believes in Jesus and that Jesus is in some part God.

    I say, no need to cling to the label, be honest about what you believe, use the right words.
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    Mar 28, 2010 2:34 PM GMT

    An atheist telling me how to be a christian? Intriguing...
  • Delivis

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    Mar 28, 2010 2:45 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    An atheist telling me how to be a christian? Intriguing...


    No. Just someone promoting clear use of language.

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    Mar 29, 2010 3:15 AM GMT
    More importantly it is very possible and even likely according to the evidence of history and what Jesus himself said, that people can believe those doctrines mentioned and still not be followers of Jesus.

    As far as the organization and leadership of the catholic church, I would call it "apostate" for claiming the represent Jesus but clearly violating the very commands of Jesus.