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--Chris Ashcraft 01:20, 27 November 2005 (GMT)
Universal View of Christianity
I hope you hear me out, although I am an outsider with regards to christianity.
I believe it would add to the accuracy of your page if you at least let people know that what you are presenting is not the universal view of christianity, but the mainstream view. As you know, there are sects within christianity who accept the messiahship of Jesus, but do not accept the idea of him being God. I'm not only talking about Jehovah Witnesses. I'm not asking that you betray you own beliefs, but due to the fact that this is an information website, I just think it would be best to at least make it somewhat known that your views are not necessarily the universal view of what makes a christian.
I hope I don't seem rude in what I say.
--Amenyahu 11:00, 29 November 2005 (GMT)
- I've just come across this comment.
- As you know, there are sects within christianity who accept the messiahship of Jesus, but do not accept the idea of him being God.
- No, I don't know that. I think that there are those that would argue (and I think I would) that if they don't believe that Jesus is God, they don't deserve the title "Christian". If it is correct that one of the definitions of "Christianity" is a belief that Jesus is God, then by definition there cannot be "sects within christianity who ... do not accept the idea of him being God".
- I've no problem with the way you put your comment, by the way.
- Philip J. Rayment 00:50, 22 April 2006 (GMT)
- I hope you don't feel it is strange for someone in my position to be debating the definition of christian, but I do also hope you will take my words for their own merit.
- The basic definition of "Christian" in the dictionary is simply one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, and the basic defintion of Christ is not "God" but "anointed one" or "messiah", which, by looking through the Hebrew scriptures, one would see as being a king or a priest. That is, that they believe that he is the promised Davidic king who will come and fulfil all the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures. Christians would also add salvation through his death to this doctrine.
- Now the idea that Jesus is "God" is not, by definition of "christ", a basic inherent part of christianity, going by its basic definition. In the new testament, the greek word "christianos" does not mean "little gods" but "little christs" or "adherents to Christ".
- These other sects of christianity accept the new testament and the words of Jesus, but interpret a few sections of it differently from "mainstream" christianity so as to come to the conclusion that he is not God.
- Now although you would exclude them, by basic definition of the word "christian", "christ", and their adherence to the new testament, they may be an unorthodox form of christianity, or even a heretical form of christianity in your eyes, but they are still christians.
- It is very similar to how mainstream scientists would call creationists non-scientists or unscientific. Yet a creationists uses the same method of science, yet draws different conclusions. Based upon that analogy, I hope you can see that these christians use the same book as you, i.e., the new testament, and accept Jesus as the Christ (going by the basic definition I gave earlier) as you do, yet come to different conclusions about the Godhead. Whether you call it misinterpretation or whatever, I see it as unjustified to say they are non-christians, i.e. not christian at all, based on the basic definitions. It's similar to the word theism, and limiting its definition only the the Muslim god. Thus all other religions are atheistic. But the limitation of the basic definition is unwarranted by the semantics of the word "theism" that simply means "belief in a god or gods".
- I know my point is lengthy, but I hope you can understand where I am coming from, even if you disagree.
- PS. The argument that there are those who would argue that those who don't accept Jesus as God don't deserve to be called "christian" is not really a logical argument, but an argument of authority. I could simply retort that there are those that argue that those who accept Jesus as God don't deserve to be called "christian".
- If you want evidence as to the existence of christians not accepting Jesus as God or logical evidence (from another point of view to yours) why some would argue that those who accept Jesus as God don't deserve to be called "christian", then let me know. If you want to make this a personal discussion, then my contact details can by found via my username which leads to my website, which leads to my contact details.
- I hope there was no offence or insult or disrespect in my argument.
- --Amenyahu 11:00, 4 May 2006 (GMT)
- You've argued your point well, even if I'm not totally convinced. Part of the problem is the old question, is the meaning of a word defined by its origin, or its common usage? You've argued the meaning of the word "Christian" based on its origin. If, for the sake of argument, it now means someone who who believes that Jesus is God, then much of your argument is moot.
- Also, words frequently have more than one meaning. "Religion", for example, has several definitions, and I've had an interesting debate with a sceptic on the use of that word. He was trying to argue that atheism was not considered a religion because (most) atheists don't consider atheism a religion, and surely in such matters you should go with what the adherents believe about their own views. I pointed out that many Christians don't consider Christianity a religion, and asked if that therefore meant that Christianity was not a religion. He got the point. Perhaps to a sociologist(?) "Christian" has the meaning you ascribe to it, but not to most Christians?
- Anyway, my aim was not to debate the definition of Christianity, but to dispute your phrase "as you know", which implies that this is common ground, which I don't believe it is.
- Philip J. Rayment 12:14, 4 May 2006 (GMT)
- You said that I based my argument of the word christian based on its origin. That is only part of the argument, with regards to the definition of the word. When I said that the definition of Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, that is the modern definition according to a modern dictionary. Also the meaning of the word Christ cannot really be modified from the time it was given, i.e. centuries before and just after the so-called "common era" or as Christians term it, before and after the change from BC to AD, where it simply means "the anointed one" pointing to the promised Davidic king. To modify the meaning of the word is to depart from the meaning of the new testament teachings and the Hebrew scriptures. Thus, to say that a person who believes that Jesus is the Christ yet not God would have been a christian in ancient times but not now due to the modification in meaning to include the doctrine of the deity of Christ would be rather inconsistent, based on the fact that the word "Christ" or "christos" or "mashiach" or "anointed one" does not inherently mean God.
- If this whole argument is about my phrase "as you know", then it was addressed to Chris Ashcraft or the writer of the article and not you. If that seems too harsh a statment, then sorry, but the essence of it is true. If it had said, "according to common knowledge" or "common sense", then you would have a point to say that it implied that this is common ground for everyone including you. But I was assuming that the writer of the article was informed or at the very least shared my opinion about the basic definition of the term christian, and the denominations, mainstream and unorthodox, within the christian church. If he did not, then since he is the administrator, all I can do is voice my dissent and leave it as that, as I have.
- So the essence of my point is this:
- 1) the meaning of the word Christian, back in the early C.E. (or A.D.) centuries, and also the meaning of the word now according to dictionaries is not so limited to the belief that Jesus is God, but that Jesus is the Christ, going by the original definition of the word "christ" being a translation of the Hebrew word "mashiach" meaning "anointed one" (see LXX version of 1 Samuel 24:11 [verse 10 in christian bibles]).
- 2) It may not be common knowledge about the defining of the word "christian", but if the crux of the argument is "as you know", then "you" only refers to the person I'm talking to, i.e., the author of the article, most likely Chris Ashcraft. Nothing is said about "common knowledge" in my message. Not all good knowledge is common knowledge. This can be seen by the "common knowledge" that evolution is proven.
- Thank you for challenging me and helping me focus more on the point at hand.
- --Amenyahu 4 May 2006 14:15(GMT)
- Very interesting dialogue, and excellent points made by both. I tend to agree with Amenyahu in this case, because I think that the word "Christianity" is best interpretted as meaning "One who seeks to follow Jesus as the Christ" rather than meaning "One who ascribes to a particular set of theological views about the nature of Jesus." I think this because in my experience, loading the word "Christianity" with a great deal of theological baggage leads to confusion, while using terms like "Trinitarian Christianity" (A follower of Jesus as Christ who believes Christ is of one substance with the Father) or "Arian Christianity" (A follower of Jesus as Christ who believes Christ is not of one substance with the Father) provide clarity and precision -- you know exactly what they mean. Then a Trinitarian Christian (like Mr. Rayment) can focus on explaining why he thinks an Arian Christian is wrong, rather than arguing the semantic point of whether or not he should be classified as a "Christian." Ungtss 13:46, 4 May 2006 (GMT)
- --Amenyahu 4 May 2006 14:15(GMT)
- if the crux of the argument is "as you know", then "you" only refers to the person I'm talking to, i.e., the author of the article, most likely Chris Ashcraft
- Ouch! You got me on a technicality! Although it would be more convincing if you knew just who you were addressing it to and knew that they agreed. But as you said, you were "assuming that the writer of the article was informed or at the very least shared my opinion about the basic definition of the term christian" (emphasis added).
- Anyway, as you can no doubt tell, I have run out of arguments, so I think I had better leave it there and crawl back into my hole. Thanks for the civil debate.
- Philip J. Rayment 14:59, 4 May 2006 (GMT)
- Mr. Rayment, in my experience, civil debates are rare. So to have one with you and for it to end so peacefully, I believe, means that in terms of this debate, whether we agree or not, you shouldn't crawl into a hole. You can stand proud (but not in the hole! GRIN).
- Amenyahu 16:45, 4 May 2006 (GMT)
Wouldn't it be a nice touch-up to put in much more details about Jesus here? It feels like evolution gets more attention than Jesus here. I was thinking, perhaps add details (an outline) about His ministry life as the Gospels present it? --Soga 15:47, 12 July 2006 (CDT)
Most definately. The article is a stub - and needs lots of development. --Chris Ashcraft 16:02, 12 July 2006 (CDT)
- And I will be obliged to help. What it needs most right now is a section on Jesus' historicity--although it's not really disputable, we need a section that discusses and refutes the claims that Jesus was simply a religious leader or a fictional character "borrowed" from various myths. Scorpionman 21:59, 8 December 2006 (EST)
- These ancestors are probably Mary's ancestors, until you reach Nathan, son of David. Couldn't this mean that both Mary and Joseph are both descended from David? Scorpionman 20:59, 15 April 2008 (PDT)
- I agree with you Scorpionman, we should delve deeper into the views that Jesus was borrowed from Greek mythology, rather than He is the realization of one God and these mythologies are merely representations of that one God, etc... --Tony 22:23, 15 April 2008 (PDT)