Thursday, December 14, 2006
What is a Christian?
In less than two weeks, nearly nine out of 10 Americans are going to celebrate Christmas. Here are the numbers: In a nation of 300 million, about 85 percent of us are Christian. And since we are now in the wake of the mid-term elections and all the talk about the conservative Christian voting block, it got us thinking:

What is a Christian?

Preachers are becoming rock stars and filling giant stadium-size churches -- Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Robert Schuller, Rod Parsley, to name a few. Some Christians, such as James Dobson and his massive evangelical audience (radio, books, Internet) have impressive agenda-setting influence. While at the same time, a lot of mainline Protestant and Catholic churches are having trouble filling the pews, and those who do attend are getting grayer.

Christian-themed movies are blockbusters (The Passion of the Christ, the Chronicles of Narnia) and Christian books have topped bestseller lists. One-in-five Americans read one of the "Left Behind" books and Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" is hugely successful.

All of this speaks in part to the organic nature of faith and Americans' need to believe. Christianity in America is such a uniquely American thing. It has taken a faith and values bulwark that has survived for centuries and morphed it to fit one of the most dynamic cultures in the world -- ours.

For American Christians, one size doesn't fit all. That may be why the diversity within Christianity has never seemed greater. And yet, for all the talk of what separates Christians from one another (that's what always seems to make news, anyway), Christianity does provide a great source of strength and comfort for literally hundreds of millions of Americans.

So, here's the plug. Tonight, in our 11 o'clock hour, we're going to take a try at answering this question: What is a Christian? (It's a giant task, so this will no doubt just be a first attempt.)

As expert guests, Anderson will talk to Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" and president of Sojourners, a progressive Christian ministry, along with Dwight Hopkins, a professor of theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

In the hour, we'll approach American Christianity through a variety of prisms -- evangelicals (and the belief of some that these are the Last Days), capitalist Christians (God wants you to prosper, if not be wealthy), conservative Christians, questioning Christians, gay Christians, fundamentalist Christians. And for those of you who call yourself Christian, you might wonder, just what kind are you?
Posted By David Doss and Claire Brinberg, "360": 10:48 AM ET
  79 Comments
I was basically raised Catholic, but in probably the lightest way possible i.e Mom only dragged us to church on rare occasions. I've since rejected all organized religion. I still believe in a higher power, but realise that all the books (including the bible), rules, etc were created by people to keep other people in line. It's the classic scare tactic being used on people by the current administration: "Do this or else this will happen!' (add cracking thunder here). Thru my own experience (and just keeping up with the news), most folks that claim to be holier than thou are the biggest hypocrites of all. If God is truly 'everywhere', there's no reason for anyone to attend church. Church is big business, and like any business, relies on your money to perpetuate itself.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Sumers, Tinley Park, IL : 11:22 AM ET
Hi David and Claire~
What a complicated issue! I don't believe there is just one answer but MILLIONS of answers. Christianity and religion are personal and can mean different things to each individual, even within the same church. Good luck with this one. Is should be fasinating!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 11:25 AM ET
Many people call themselves a Christian. But for the ignorant: the mark of a TRUE christian is one who has invited Jesus Christ into their life as their personal savior who died for their sins. It is repentance, and turning away from the sin lifestyle. Just open the bible. It is all in there. There is only one way to the Father - through Jesus the son. Anyone can call themselves a Christian. Very few truly are. I pray you would find the path if you havnt already. I pray God would come into your life.
Posted By Anonymous erin - allentown, pa : 11:29 AM ET
just wanted to say... try not doing christmas in this country. You don't realize how overwhemling it is until you don't do it.
Posted By Anonymous Terra Laughton, Rhodes, MI : 11:31 AM ET
I am really excited about this one. I was raised in a Baptist culture. My father is a Baptist minister. Yet, I always knew that I was different. I believe in God, but I am not sure if I was worshipping the same one. My values have become more liberal. There are churches and denominations that have a liberal agenda, but I don't think I fit in there either. I know this episode won't have the answer of where exactly I fit in, but it would be a start. Who knows, maybe I am not a Christian at all?
Posted By Anonymous Brandi, Lincoln, NE : 11:32 AM ET
I believe in a higher power. I was raised Christian myself, and while i agree with the basic tenants of biblical Christianity, I do believe that everything it contains shouldnt be taken so literally (i.e the evangelicals). I pray when I feel overwhelmed or when I wish things would go better for somebody else, and I try to follow the 10 commandments as best I can, but I know that I have sinned and will continue to do so. I do not attend church, and I do not believe religion should ever have anything to do with politics. We have seen what happens there (please see: BushCo). If it weren't for fear of hell and eternal damnation I feel the world probably would have more problems than it already does, but the bible is a book, written by man, about events said to have transpired thousands of years ago, and anyone who takes every single word it contains literally may need to reevaluate their thinking a little bit. Same with anyone who feels the need to force religion down the throats of others, or uses political office to cull favor from any religious group.
Posted By Anonymous nathan, junction city ks : 11:41 AM ET
Hi there,
I would probably be labeled a conservative Christian, which (in my opinion) is a person who believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that the only way to Heaven is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (established by the confession that I am born a sinner and, therefore, separated from God and need a Savior to save me from the penalty of my sin - eternal separation from God). As such, I believe there are absolutes - right and wrong, truth and deception, heaven and hell.

I am not, however, a "stick in the mud" as many conservative Christians are portrayed. I live a very "normal" life in that I enjoy spending time with family and friends, I love to travel, I love to laugh. But the difference is that I try as best as I can to live according to what the Bible says is pleasing to God. In spite of that, I do make mistakes, I still think and say and do things that displease God; being a Christian doesn't supersede one's humanity. But because I have a relationship with God through Jesus, I know that when I fall short, when I screw up, I can ask - and receive - forgiveness and the grace to keep moving through this journey of life.

It's not easy, the Christian life. I still face temptation, people let me down, the world is not perfect. I get weird looks when I tell people I'm going overseas on mission trips ("what exactly do you do?" is the question I get). But Jesus said He is with me *always* (Matthew 28:20) so I know that I never have to face life alone. I also know that I have a purpose, that God created me to love Him and to serve Him by serving others and showing His love to people around me. So I find that when I go through times in my life where I wonder if I've made the right choices or if I'm really doing what I was born to do, I remember that every experience I've had, every talent I've been given, every aspect of my personality is being used by God to fulfill His purpose for my life.

And that's just some of what being a Christian is to me...
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Greensboro, NC : 11:42 AM ET
I don't think there are any real Christians in the world. Certainly, there are none who follow the faith as it was intended by Jesus. Christ said "do not judge others." When was the last time you saw or heard a Christian follow that particular rule?
Posted By Anonymous Lindsay, Seattle : 11:43 AM ET
I call myself a Christian because I believe Jesus Christ was the son of God and offers a path to salvation, and I believe that path is best for me. But I do not believe his path is the only one to salvation, or that every word in the Holy Bible was written by the hand of God. I have known too many good people who walk other paths to believe that mine is the only right one. I believe that while works of God inspired most of the Bible, there are many places where the influence of man's own agenda's on earth can be seen both in the writing and in which religious texts were chosen to be part of the Bible in the first place.

So I am at a point where some call me an unbeliever for believing that someone of another religion can find their way to salvation or I might be called a heretic by some for questioning the content of Holy Scripture, but I live with it. I am not a regular churchgoer, but I pray every day and attend Catholic mass (the religion I was raised in) and services at the Baptist church my wife's family attends, on occasion. I have found good and bad (i.e. hypocritical) Christians in both churches. Ultimately, forgiveness of others and ourselves, the ideas of redemption and salvation, and doing our best to do good in this world and not judge others for their actions (unless those actions are harming another here on earth) are hallmarks of Christianity. However, I have found those same traits to be present in those who diligently follow other religions as well, so perhaps it is enough to be a good person in this world, whether you are a Christian or not.

In this line of thought I have found what makes me a Christian: with numerous other acceptable options, with no scientific evidence, with opposition to my own viewpoints across the spectrum of Christian religions, with numerous questions regarding portions of my faith; I still believe.
Posted By Anonymous Jabe R. Jacquart, Salina, KS : 11:44 AM ET
I was raised in a Baptist church, I guess we would be considered Christian. I was taught to give back to my community, love others regardless of race, religion etc. I was taught we are all beautiful creatures worthy of love. I was taught to help those less fortunate than myself. I was taught that Jesus loves all of us, regardless of what we had done we could always turn to him. I was taught to be kind to others and treat people how you wished to be treated, with respect and dignity. I was taught not to judge others and not to force my beliefs on others. I was taught to care for the sick and respect my elders. I was taught that even though we might not always agree, we can try to understand the other sides position. I was taught to treat all people as equal for we are brothers and sisters in humanity. I was also taught that mine was not the only faith and to respect the faith of others. I was taught that church had it's place in the world, but it was not in the government. I was taught that if I tried to live a good life and was kind to others I would be welcomed to the Kingdom of Heaven.

I no longer attend church because to be honest, I don't recognize my church anymore. I am ashamed and embarrassed by my church. I think the modern day Christians need to take a good long look in the mirror and try to remember what Jesus REALLY stood for.
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 12:02 PM ET
What is a Christian? (What is a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Zoroastrian?)

How Ironic�

Yesterday afternoon, I was in a little cafe (celebrating the finishing of my exams!) and just a few seats away from me was this woman. The waitress and I were talking about living with males in apartments or dorms (because we've both been college students where this issue has come up)- and the woman sitting near me started literally "preaching" to us about how men who are not "in tune with God" and who are "not Christian", MUST be perverts and therefore you should not live with them. She also indirectly (but so obviously) said that she didn't like being near "evil and hateful" religions. (She even tried to ask me if the "rumors" about 'my' religion were true!?). The waitress and I both turned over to look at her and we obviously didn't agree with what she said, but didn't turn it into an argument. After her going on about this issue for another 5 minutes, I told her my opinion: There are good and bad within any faith, any people, and thinking that people can be "evil and full of hatred" unless they are "godly" or Christian or religious, is also not correct or respectful. The waitress and I both gave different opinions with examples that we deemed were appropriate (and I brought up different religions/faiths including Christianity where people say they are religious, but do things completely AGAINST their faith). She started to become uneasy and angry and said that anyone who wasn't with Christ was going to hell and that we were both wrong and that our opinions didn't matter and she didn't want to hear them because they were wrong and she declared that she didn't "need to be respectful if I don't want to." At this point, I noticed my hand shaking and heart beating quickly as I was trying to pour some tea into a cup. I didn't get angry. I didn't say anything for a while. I just began to breathe. After about 10 minutes, I turned over (oddly enough) and tried to NOT talk about religion, and maybe turn this negative experience into something positive I asked her about her occupation and studies, and she replied somewhat calmly noticing my uneasiness. Within a few minutes she left (with a half-smile!).

Being somewhat religious and spiritual (and truly open to other faiths), I knew that anything I would have tried to say in "retaliation", wouldn't have worked at that moment in time. And �retaliation� isn�t really my thing! Even after she left, the owner arrived and the waitress explained the situation and the owner apologized and thanked me and said that ��ignorance and disrespect are not tolerated.� And at that point, I was so sad, I just didn�t know what to say. I began pondering about people. The things that make all people in general and ever religion good are: Love, compassion, respect, tolerance, service, non-violence, peace, right action & conduct and so on.

So why are there so many of us that chose to say or do things, so completely opposite�why do we look at the 5 differences instead of the 95 similarities...it boggles my mind.

thanks claire & dave!
Posted By Anonymous deepa, Buffalo,NY : 12:05 PM ET
Well, I think I'm going to miss the second hour.

I used to think I was Christian then I saw some things that made me question what was preached. I've had horrible things done to me. I had my late sister-in-law taken by Cystic Fibrosis at 27, I had my Grandmother die in April of 2004 at 95 of heart failure then in August of 2004 my Father died from Cancer. I was sexually harassed at work by a church elder and holier than thou type. Even things that I think are good at first always turn out bad. Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, polonium and the Tsunami. So you tell me is there a God? Because from what I've seen there is no God, the Bible is just a book and Christians are non-existant.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 12:05 PM ET
And for those of you who call yourself Christian, you might wonder, just what kind are you?

Okay, I am going to add one of my own Christian selfs -- the "hopeful" Christian and say I have gone from a "questioning" Christian to a hopeful Christian.

I guess my past reflects 15 years of questions, the best cheerleader my dad dies; sister's personal death with drugs, sex, alcohol; cousin hangs himself on the side of a building (no note); most fun and best cousin dies of AIDS. That was my "questioning Christian" self. You have to compartmentalize this stuff just to survive.

My "hopeful" Christian self prays for my husband, my children and our future for I have sadly learned that you can't change the past, you only have to keep moving forward.

For without hope, what do you really have?
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 12:06 PM ET
Christmas was one of many holidays appropriated by Christians from the pagan world. There is no reason to think that Jesus was born in the winter, but many older religions celebrated the winter solstice. They didn't know why the sun set lower in the sky every year until that day, but they knew their lives depended on the sun, so they lit bonfires and candles in a display of "sympathetic" magic to get the sun to return. On the solstice, it starting rising in the east a little higher every day, which was cause for celebration. In many mythologies (see mystery religions of Rome for example), the solar cycle and agriculture were represented by a god who died every year and was reborn on the winter solstice. Many of the aspects of these myths were simply applied to the story of Jesus years later. So all this kerfluffle of the "reason for the seaon" is nonsense.
Posted By Anonymous Robin, Hagerstown MD : 12:10 PM ET
Hi David and Claire,
What is a Christian, you ask? Well, I think for me it's more of a life than just a Religion. I like to live by the Three B's..Be Kind and Giving. Be Non Judgmental. And Be-Ware of believing too much in your own self importance..I'm A Catholic, but I'd bet that many Christians of all kinds believe the same. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays for all. Take Care..It's a great question, thanks for asking it.
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 12:39 PM ET
Whenever I hear or read comments from hardliner, far right Christians, I cringe. The world isn�t always just black and white. I have always been of the opinion that if you want to be listened to, if you want your voice to be heard by those whom you wish to influence, you must be willing to listen to and understand the other point of view.

History has proven that we (the human race) are capable of wonderful things when we work together, and that we are also capable of incredible ugliness when we divide ourselves. Taking a hardline attitude only leads to further division and misunderstanding. Just look at the current situation in the Middle East for an example of what happens when we are divided because we have dug in our heals and refuse to listen to or understand the other point of view.

Take the time to listen more and you just might be surprised at how much you can learn. Remember, God gave us one mouth and two ears . . . well, you remember the lesson, don't you?
Posted By Anonymous Roy Burford, Pittsburgh, PA : 12:44 PM ET
I was indoctrinated (read brainwashed as a child) into the christian faith. Then, as I grew older I started asking questions, comparing other religions - and seeing how much christians 'apropriated' from other faiths/pagans - when I came to the realization that god/jesus/christianaity were nothing more than an adult version of Santa and the easter bunny. Just things adults use for comfort, blame misfortune on, praise for their good fortunes. It has been very liberating to put aside the myths - I live for myself, being good to others not out of fear of god (as per christians), but because it is the ethical thing to do.
Posted By Anonymous Aleksander, Indianapolis : 1:12 PM ET
My question is, with 85% of the population Christian and going to celebrate Christmas, why is there a big controversy at saying "Merry Christmas" let alone of having anything to do with Christmas kept out of the schools and public places.
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowski,Phoenix AZ : 1:18 PM ET
The Golden Rule says it all. While I attend services on a regular basis, anyone who follows the above rule is in my opinion, a Christian, regardless of denomination, attendance or if of another faith.
Posted By Anonymous Mary from Lawrenceville Ga. : 1:19 PM ET
Christian divided into two which are ortodox and catholic. In general Christianity is a religon that respect other religon. Personal interest on the top leaders change the religon in politics. Why catholic christian don't respect other religon like muslim, if they did this whole thing of war won't exist.
Posted By Anonymous Surafel Melaku, Gilroy, CA. : 1:19 PM ET
I too believe the only way to heaven in thru Jesus... I also believe we shall be judged for what's in our hearts, and only God knows what is truly in our hearts... I believe in the saying "hate the sin, love the sinner", judge not, lest ye be judged, when doing a good deed, I believe in receiving my glory in heaven not on earth, and I also believe that God will judge us on what we are CAPABLE of believing ...And lastly, we must remember that God is loving, forgiving and all powerful...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota, Fl : 1:25 PM ET
to be a Christian one must only follow the basics outlined in the version of the Bible as outlined by Thomas Jefferson in his version. It's a verison in which Evolution can actually Co-exist as it's the only way to find a happy medium in society.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Ballard, Wausau, WI : 1:25 PM ET
A true CHRISTIAN IS SOMEONE WHO MODELS AFTER JESUS CHRIST. WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT CHRISTIANS THEY SHOULD SEE CHRIST IN THEM. WE SHOULD BE LIKE A REFLECTING MIRROR, BECAUSE GOD GETS ALL THE GLORY AND PRAISE WE ARE JUST SERVANTS.
Posted By Anonymous mark, phila, pa : 1:31 PM ET
I most Americans would actually sit down for a minute and read the open pages of the New American Bible, they would instantly feel better about Christianity. Why? Well, simply put, the catholic leaders who wrote it weren't stupid people. They fully understood all the uncertainty, the misreadings, the tendency to be overly literate with passages, etc. So they clearly explained how the bible was written, in an extremely interesting way. All my questions and doubts were pretty much put to rest. I can now understand how to use the whole bible, old and new testaments to live a good life. RI urge all cristains in america to pick up a copy somewhere and take the time to read the introductions.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Westfield, NJ : 1:32 PM ET
A True Christian is one who is not a member of a cult such as Catholics, Mormons, etc. He/she is a true Bible believer and gravitates toward Bible teachers like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer.
Posted By Anonymous Sean, Skokie, WI. : 1:33 PM ET
A comment on the "do not judge" issue: the Bible's truths complement each other; you have to put many pieces together to get a complete view: "A text without a context is a pretext," someone has said. Jesus clearly intended that His followers recognize and reject evil; no reading of the New Testament could possibly conclude that His followers are not supposed to discern right from wrong. Jesus did say, using a figure of speech, that we should get the log out of our own eye (deal with our own issues) before we go for the speck in another person's eye (their issues), and then we would indeed see clearly to take the speck out. What "do not judge" comes down to in the final analysis is that we should not have a proud, judgmental attitude; sin in others should be addressed in a loving, humble way, after we have gone to God for forgiveness and help with our own sin. See in John chapter four how Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. Read the whole Bible so you can understand the parts!
Posted By Anonymous Lincoln Lambeth, Branson, Missouri : 1:33 PM ET
A Christian is someone who has given their life to Jesus Christ, and has accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, meaning that He has saved them from their sins by dieing on the cross, and He is Lord over their life. God is not an American citizen, He's not a Republican, nor a Democrat, He's not Pro-Life or Pro-Choice (The birth of Jesus will explain where God stands on that issue.) There is no such thing as a "gay-Christian" no more than there is a "Lieing-Christian." A Christian Lives by God's commandments. Love!
Posted By Anonymous Joel - Louisville, Kentucky : 1:34 PM ET
all this reasoning...... makes me kinda sad.... simply stated:
God created our earth and man to walk and talk and share it with; He was sad when the relationship was broken by the weakness. In order to have the original personal friendship/ relationship with His very loved people, He came in Person/Spirit through His only Son, Jesus. We're forgiven for our shortcomings and allowed to continue the God-given relationship with Him and everlasting life and friendship by accepting Him as our Savior. I am sad for people that don't have that security in their heart; it's too scarey here otherwise.
Posted By Anonymous Gloria Broyles, Colorado Springs, CO : 1:34 PM ET
A christian is no different from the people who believed in Ra, Mithra, Magna Mater, Zeus, Thor and Odin.

When I tell people I'm an atheist, they often say "what if you're wrong?" The empty threat of eternal torment isn't going to make me think as you do, but that's beside the point.

What if YOU'RE wrong about Poseidon?

Sure, I give christmas gifts. I think it's cute.
Posted By Anonymous Jason Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 1:36 PM ET
If Christ were to walk the earth today...how may "Christians" would recognize him as GOD.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse, Morgan Hill, Ca : 1:38 PM ET
Several years ago, the pastor of the church I attended referred to many, if not most, of those politically active conservative �rock-star� Christians as followers not of Christianity, but of "Christianism." The distinction should be obvious to just about anyone: the former are those who take to heart and work to live by the teachings and example of Jesus Christ; the latter by their posturing, their rhetoric, their unabashed interference in the everyday lives of others, demand that people live not by faith or in accord with Christ's teachings but by their own concepts of "doctrine."

There is, I believe, a truly monumental, multi-layered irony surrounding much (but certainly not all) of American Christianity. The very word �Christian� was coined in the first couple centuries of the Common Era as a pejorative term, expressing derision for a believer as a �little Christ.� For those early believers, however, to be called a �little Christ� was a badge of honor, a distinction as one who strove to be a true follower of Christ�s example of love and tolerance. I submit that today�s most vocal (i.e., headline-grabbing) �Christians� can hardly be seen as truly living by that example.

A further irony exists in the so-called �conservative Christian� political movement that seeks, among other agendas, passage of intrusive laws � even amendments to our Constitution - aimed at regulating both the public and private behavior of every individual. The Bible contains more than one account of Jesus� railings against the Pharisees and others, the politico-religious elite of Judean society who sought secular power through the passage and enforcement of religious laws and regulations. Yet despite those accounts, despite Jesus� denouncement of that elite, it is that very elite whom today�s �religious right� seem to emulate rather than the example of Jesus himself.

From this point of view, I suggest that perhaps it might be easier to ask the question from a different direction; rather than �What is a Christian,� ask �What is NOT a Christian.� If one accepts that a Christian is one who lives by faith and the example of Christ, it becomes quite evident that the so-called �religious right� are the quintessence of what is not.
Posted By Anonymous Danny, Denver Colorado : 1:38 PM ET
I was a Christian, but I found that I just was not judgemental enough. Christians are all talk and hate. Hate the gays, hate the girl who chooses to have an abortion, hate and refuse to see all the similarites that we all have! What a group of narrow-minded morons. Live and let live, God really is everywhere and in all things. You should not have to be part of the card carrying club or give them all your money(my priest drove a nice BMW, I guess I know where my donations went). The church needs to refocus on actually helping people, all people, not just the people who believe in the same God that they do. Live a good life and good things always follow. Also a question...A christian once told me that yes being gay is a sin but it is no more of a sin then telling a lie or envying your neighbor....soooooo.....Why then do we forbid gays the right to get married but we do not take away the rights of the liars who lead churches and gay bash for a living but then have gay sex on the weekend? Strange bunch if you ask me!
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Pleasant Ridge, MI : 1:39 PM ET
It is incredible how much Christianity has changed over the years and how many times the Bible has been re-written. I was raised Baptist and I do have my beliefs which go against the Baptist traditions. In my adult life I have experienced other religions and I feel more people should. It is a shame to see on tv or read in newspapers when Iran feels Israel should be gone and the Holocaust never happened.

What seems to never change is how people use the Bible and/or Christianity to judge others, hate others and discriminate others. For example, it is okay for heterosexual people to disobey what the Bible says but it is never okay for the GLBT community to love and be allowed to live "free". Are we really suppose to believe God wanted his Word to be used AGAINST others?

Regardless of someone's faith or orientation, my Christmas wish is for Religion to be used to show care, love, humanity and help those in need. Being Christian does not mean you have to memorize the Bible and be vocal to everyone. You can be a Christian by setting an example.

Thanks!
Posted By Anonymous Charles, Tucson AZ : 1:40 PM ET
This should be an interesting program. May we presume that, among the variety of opinions expressed, you include Jesus' opinion of who qualifies as one of His followers? John 14:23-24 might be a good place to start: ..."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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words...". Or maybe Luke 6:46, where Jesus says "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?"

Jesus' disciple John said it bluntly in 1 John 2:3-4: "...by this we know that we have come to know him (Jesus), if we keep his commandments. Whoever says 'I know him' but does not keep his comandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him...".

For my money, I'll rely on who Jesus says is one of his rather than make up my own rules. Jesus was extra-clear about this: Many (His word)people who claimed to be followers of his will be surprised when Jesus sends them away in judgement, saying "...and then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"

What we claim to be is irrelevant if we are not that in fact.
Posted By Anonymous Wes Wetherell, Glen Ellyn Illinois : 1:40 PM ET
A Christian is one whom lives their life acting with compasion, forgiveness, and acceptance, just as Jesus did. If all of the so called "christians" acted this way, the world would be a much better place.
Posted By Anonymous William Morrissey San Diego CA : 1:46 PM ET
I very much appreciate your raising the dialogue of �What a Christian Is� in this season. With the recent scandals in my own state, influential evangelical pastors stepping down after confession of sexual immorality, it's easy to understand why so much of the country claims to be Christians - yet don�t want to be a part of 'organized religion.' As a disciple of Jesus, I have been heart-broken by hypocrisy we see daily in the church. The church isn't to blame as much as our own sinful nature. Religious rules don�t offer life changing experiences as seen in these types of scandals, only Jesus does. The good news is that God Himself left us wonderful examples in the Bible of people who were broken yet surrendered to His purposes of salvation and healing. What a relief that Jesus never called Christians to live perfect lives. Being a Christian means I live a redeemed and forgiven life through the work Jesus did on the cross. Too often people want a Christianity that fits into their own social agenda. When in reality, Jesus called us to respond to Him and give every aspect of our lives over to His control and guidance. He demanded His disciples leave comforts, selfish desires, love of money, prejudices, hatred, self-righteousness and vengeance, all to have their lives radically transformed by the power of God through His son Jesus. Being a Christian means standing in contrast to the popular trends of today�s society - as it did in the early church. To genuinely turn away from the things of this world and seek Jesus is one of the most difficult things faithful disciples face. It is likened to laying down your life to raise your children or serve an aging parent, or express genuine compassion on your co-workers. Being a Christian means I�ve given up many of my own rights in deference to His calling. Being a Christian means holidng onto the faith God has given us in times where faith truly means to believe in what we can't see. May God give us grace to live this kind of life!
Posted By Anonymous Kris Denver, CO : 1:46 PM ET
We are all looking for a purpose, a reason, a way to make sense out of what we call life. I was raised in the church and have been grateful that I was, however, my experience has been that there are a lot of hipocrats out there. People who talk the talk and walk the walk but don't follow their own words.

I believe we are all here to help each other in our journey to the unknown. Rich, poor, black, white, gay, non believer, etc. We are tested daily and most of us will fail those tests on a regular basis simply because we are human. We ask for God's forgiveness knowing that if we are sincere, we will be forgiven.

I know God tests us in many ways and I can't help but wonder if we all aren't being tested right now with our feelings about gays and abortion and all the other issues we are divided about. After all, we are suppose to be tolerant of others and their views on life. As someone pointed out, the Bible was written by man and we interpet and quote it at will to make our point, but is it God's word or is it man's wish.

Being a Christian is having faith and hope that sooner or later mankind will figure out how to live in peace and learn how to truly treat our neighbors, love unconditionaly, be responsible stewards to the earth, treat others as we would want to be treated.

The conservative right needs to get off their high horse and realize that it's not their right nor mission to save the rest of us. No one likes being told how to live, how to think, what to believe. Trying to force biased ideas hidden in a religious agenda is not what I would consider being a Christian.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 1:47 PM ET
A Christian is a follower of Christ and one who follows the example of Christ and aspires to be Christ-like. The main message of Jesus was to love God and to love one's fellow man. His message was to love others and it was unconditional-not just to love other Christians or other people who are like-minded; but, to have love and compassion for all people regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, financial status, gender,sexual orientation, etc. I don't believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, rather a guideline that was inspired by God. My own personal faith leads me to believe that the life of Christ as portraid in the Gospels is the most relevant data in the Bible, and that portrail is of a man of peace.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Dallas, Texas : 1:48 PM ET
Hello, What kind of Christian am I? This morning I asked myself that question. I believe in God. I believe that we must love one another or we will eventually blow each other off the face of the earth. I believe in the words attributed to Jesus, ie "it is done unto you as you believe", what you do unto the least of my brethern, you do unto me". etc. From what I have read of the Jesus scholars there is no evidence that he wrote anything so even those words may not be true. I do not believe the Bible is inspired by anyone other than Men in the first century with the desire to control the masses.
I spend time each day in prayer and mediation and ask to be a blessing to someone each day.
I grew up in a rigid Catholic family, however, I do not believe much of what the Catholic Church teaches.
The hypocrisy within the walls of organized religion is so widespread today that Jesus would not even recognize their teachings.
So what kind of Christian am I, I really don't care because spiritual evolution is all about love and not religious labels.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn, MI : 1:48 PM ET
As a Quaker living in the midst of the ultra-conservative Bible Belt, I have given this question a lot of thought. Many Christians I meet seem to feel that there is only one way to love and serve God through Christ. Anyone who differs from their political and/or social views is not a "true" Christian. Yet some of these people give lip service to Christian values but do not necessarily walk with Christ. Showing up at church is not enough. It is not even the beginning of enough. Though I do not believe in the divine nature of Jesus or the resurrection, and I am not saved, I try to walk with Christ and do his work -- to make my hands the tools of God -- each day. Many of my neighbors would say I am not a Christian. The label is unimportant; it's the daily living that matters.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Guth Jackson, TN : 1:48 PM ET
There are many "faces" of Christianity today because over the centuries, the Word of God has become watered down and translated into terms that are more pleasing to the world and to man. I was raised Lutheran and still worship in a Lutheran church, and one of the main things that we profess in our doctrine is that we are saved by faith and grace ALONE. Christianity is the only religion that exists where you do not have to "earn" your salvation, or are required to do good things or good works in order to be saved. Your salvation has already been given to you and the only thing you can do with it is deny it. It's like someone giving you a present. The only thing you can really do with it is say no thanks, I don't want it. Otherwise, it's yours. Doing good things, helping people, obeying the commandments, etc., are all excellent things to do and you certainly are pleasing God when you do them, don't get me wrong - but according to the Scripture, you are saved through grace and faith in Jesus Christ alone. A lot of people have come up with their own ideas for what Christianity should be or what they would like it to be, and that is what causes a lot of the confusion. People cramming information down other people's throats is certainly a turn-off for anybody, and there is not a single person on this earth who is sinless. So yes, Christians will be judgemental, rude, unfriendly, angry, and do and say things they don't mean because they are human beings, too. We are all sinners no matter who we are, and that is why Christ died for us - all of us - to save us from those sins.
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Detroit, MI : 1:49 PM ET
To all Christians,

Jesus told you that a true follower would have to obey his words, and he told you to sell all that you own and give to the poor. How many of you have done it so far?
Posted By Anonymous Hans Karlsson, Orange County, CA : 1:51 PM ET
Lets hope you expose those Stadium Christians and fundies for what they are.

Haters full of intolerance. We are supposed to enjoy freedom of religion in this country but, there are some who do not accept anyone elses' choices and seek to control the rest. Lets at least talk about them as they are.
Posted By Anonymous Hawk, Fitchburg MA : 1:52 PM ET
Anyone be it a Christian or non Christian could write many responses of what being a Christian is, by mere word of mouth, by reading it in the Bible, or by reading many other books or commentaries that either oppose Christianity or are for it. But I can only say this, ever since I gave my life to JESUS, I have experienced true joy like no other, I have experienced peace in my heart, and if there is a desire in me to talk to others about my faith, is because i want everyone to experience a sense of purpose in life just as I have experienced it, and to truly enjoy life just as I do now. People can talk about Christianity in many ways, and from many different platforms, be it in a church, thru the radio, on TV, from a classroom, or anywhere, and you can make your own opinion. BUT unless you do not really come to have a true encounter with JESUS, you really don't know what true Christianity is. YES, I believe in the Bible as being the WORD of God given to mankind, but if you do not read it asking God and the Holy Spirit to guide you while you read it, the Bible will be to you as any other book. BUt if you read it with the willingness in your heart for it to speak to your life, when you read it, it will become alive to you and you will find endless treasures in it, that will enrich your life forever and then you will have the desire of reading more and more of it. All I want to say is that, I don't think a true Christian needs anyone to tell them what a true Christian really is, or what Christianity is about. When we have HIM in our hearts and we let HIM guide us every single day of our lives, thru HIS Word (yes, the Bible)you learn how to recognize HIS voice when HE talks to you. If anyone is really intersted in knowing what Christianity is about, my advise would be to seek God with a sincere heart, and come to know HIM an a personal level; you will never regret it but you will experience true joy, true peace, and true love.

God bless!
Posted By Anonymous Yaneth, Newark, NJ : 2:01 PM ET
Ok. You are doing a show with representatives of Evangelical Christians, Baptists -- often considered Evangelical, and I guess the extreme ecumenical guy from Chicago. That sounds like your only interest is setting up Evangelical Christians v. "People Who Are Tolerant And Intelligent". Maybe that is a good show, but its not what you say you are interested in.
The largest denomination in the US is Roman Catholic. You don't have anyone representing that viewpoint. And of course, "mainline" protestants would be way too boring to consider for a TV show. Even though those viewpoints really represent the majority of Christians in the US. I guess its too much effort or risk to be honest and thoughtful instead of showy. How disappointing.
Posted By Anonymous Elise, Dallas, TX : 2:23 PM ET
No one will ever define "Christian" , just as no one will ever define "God". Both are completely subjective terms.
Posted By Anonymous Misty, London, Ontario Canada : 2:24 PM ET
Do NOT forget Christ-followers that believe in a third way, which is Jim Wallis' entire premise. You don't HAVE to be republican, nor do you HAVE to be a democrat. You vote for your beliefs according to what Jesus lives; not according to what any political party tells you how to vote.
Posted By Anonymous Marcie, San Diego : 2:24 PM ET
Your fundamental question's an easy one to answer: a Christian is a person who believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as it is described in the New Testament.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Denver Colorado : 2:25 PM ET
The official definition is something about Jesus, but I think Christians are well-intentioned human beings looking for reassurance. Religeons bring people together who need this, but they also seperate people by implying that they're right, so everyone else must be wrong.(or not as smart or "enlightened")

When I hear so many Christians' beliefs it makes me shudder like when the majority re-elected Bush. I was raised as a strict Catholic and my elderly mother LOVES walking a half mile to church every chance she gets, and as she is absolutely the nicest person I have ever known, I would never let her hear me say that I am not a Christian. I live my life based on the serenity prayer and the rule about treating others as you'd like to be treated, (and I've raised my children by the same standards without religeon) and I do believe that I have more "Christian values" than the average Christian. Almost getting run over in the church parking lot every time I bring my Catholic neighbor to church (she's 88 and hanging onto my arm for dear life) is a testament to this. I really get a kick out of the hell-fearers justifying their everyday behavior by suffering through mass once a week and confessing their sins once in a while.

To me, what it comes down to is this: The bible was written by mortal men. If Timothy Leary had lived back then people would believe that God told HIM what to write also.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Manchester, NH : 2:26 PM ET
I used to be one of those Christians who went to church 3-4 times a week, prayed constantly, read the bible non-stop. The church would often say if I wasn't doing these things I'm not really a true Christian. So I did them.

After the 2004 re-election of George Bush I took a serious look at my church and what was being said to me. I always questioned how the bible was being interpretated to me, but I believed I was intelligent enough to decide for myself, and I was.

Around the 2004 elections I began to get very hostile toward my fellow church goers. I hated the fact that they took for granted I was a Republican, that I was against abortion, and I was gay basher. When I started taking a stand and saying things like, "abortion is very necessary in some cases as long as it's not used as a form of birth control", "George Bush doesn't fit the definition of a Christian to me", "The Harry Potter book series is an awesome example of contemporary literature" etc. The one that really bowled everybody over was when I was asked if I already signed the petition against gay marriage, and I an answered no. I was insulted that they took for granted that I was going to sign it. I looked them straight in the eye and said,"I come to church to hear the word of God not to gay bash".

Then when the pastors wife was trying to recruit women who had had abortions when they were "in the world" for an anti-abortion group that would preach to other women who were considering abortion, and talk them out of it. That was the last straw for me. I told the pastors wife that I didn't believe that the political agenda the church was promoting and pursuing was the right way to go. I told her I believe the decisions people make in their personal lives is nobodies business but their own and that's between them and God Himself. She then expressed that maybe I would be happier in a more "liberal" church.

I left the church after that.
Am I still a Christian? Yes, but that's between me and God Himself. Is it the last days? Possibly. However, in all my years as a Christian it's ALWAYS been the last days. Besides, in the bible it says not to be constantly looking for the last days, but to always be ready for Christ to come. So I am.

In the mean time I live my life praying for the poor people in this world that the so called "Christian Bush" administration has ignored. I read his word, and once in a while I'll catch a bible study at my local non-denominational church. If they say something I don't consider "christian-like" I go home early. Christ was for the poor and the sickly. He believed in helping all of them. Christ's first reaction was to love, then to help. Not to hate and then hinder.

I was often told that "Christian" meant "Christ-like". There's nothing "Christ-like" about George W. Bush or his administration. To this day I don't understand how all the other christian people I attended church with can't see that fact.
I guess they must have drank the Kool-aid.
Personally, I can't stand Kool-aid.
Posted By Anonymous Gina, Phillips Ranch, CA : 2:33 PM ET
I know everyone wants to believe that this is a difficult question, is it really? Look closer Christ ian. If you believe in Jesus Christ.... you are a Christian. The rest is just the same old song of I'm right and your wrong. This is as much today as it was yesterday A SHAME.
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy, Phoenix, Az : 2:40 PM ET
A Christian is someone who has both "believed" and "recieved the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The bible says that even the devil believes in Jesus but this certainly doesn't make him a Christian. This Christmas I'm sure I'll receive at least one gift. I believe that but if I don't "receive" it I wont get it. Get it?
Posted By Anonymous Geoff Sadler, Salem, Oregon : 2:47 PM ET
I've read the comments thus far and what stands out is how many people "think" they know what Jesus said, how many people "think" the Bible is written by man (which, if it were, would probably negate most of Christ's words), and how many people "think" that Jesus said that we shouldn't pass judgement.

Even a cursory reading of the 6th and 7th chapters on Matthew tell us what Jesus really said about judgement and it's not what most people "think".

As for man writing the Bible and not God, read the epistles of Peter and Paul. And we also know that Jesus believed every word of the Old Testament.

Regarding whether there is a single path to heaven or many, Jesus clearly said that there is only one and that is through Him: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6

Either Jesus had it right or He had it wrong - not much gray area there.
As
Posted By Anonymous Butch, Kennesaw, Geogia : 2:47 PM ET
Instead of "What" is a Christian, why not ask "Who" is a Christian? We are people, not objects.
Posted By Anonymous Howard, Tuscaloosa, AL : 4:17 PM ET
Most Christians not all are hypocritical dumbasses that tries to force others into believing their religion. The bible is no more than a fictional book, written by men, filled with mistakes. If you say the bible is perfect, then men must be perfect because we wrote that crap.

I still believe those who rely on a religion for Faith has lost their own faith or has no confidence in themselves. Do one thing for yourself and strengthen your dignity and reclaim your Faith.
Posted By Anonymous James, Milwaukee, WI : 4:20 PM ET
At it's most basic definition, a Christian is a person who emulates the message that Christ taught - love and care for one another and right living. Being a Christian has less to do with "talking the talk" and more to do with "walking the walk". In the end, faith and belief don't mean much if they do not lead to right action and good deeds. We need to remember that the church is the lockerroom where we are coached, while the game is played out in the world where we implement the gameplan. Too many people who call themselves Christians focus on hanging out in the lockerroom and never even go out to play the game. Imagine if every person who called themselves a Christian did just one tiny good deed for the benefit of others every day of their life. Imagine how this mindset could change the world. Imagine...OK, time to stop, I'm starting to sound like a John Lennon song...
Posted By Anonymous Julie San Diego, CA : 4:21 PM ET
I think that religion divides rather than unites. That is obvious, even from the posts you have received on this tipic! I, personally, will not believe anything that is illogical. It is logical that there is a higher power more intelligent than us who created this universe. However, the majority of Christianity is completely illogical.
Posted By Anonymous PC Pierce, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma : 4:22 PM ET
Christianity has become too immersed in politics and too much in the business of telling people how they "should" live their lives. I don't want anybody telling me how to live my life. I treat others the way I would hope to be treated. Simple as that......
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Easton, MA : 4:28 PM ET
Dear David and Clare:
What the world does not realize is God is not a religion. He is real and many of us Christians have had mono-e-mono experiences with God. People don't have problems with Jesus. People have problems with the Christians.
Posted By Anonymous Shan Mertins, Tulsa OK : 4:41 PM ET
This is a very interesting question and I'm sure you're going to get a variety of answers, like many I've seen from just reading some of the other posts. With more than 1580 different religions in the world, I'm sure everyone has their own idea what a "Christain" is. The question that follows then should be "whose idea is the correct one?". Why this question? Because Christians have one God, and there's only one way to him, according to the New Testament. Then why all the many different religions, doctrines and beliefs? I don't have an answer except that mankind has always wanted to do things his own way. Bottom line, the answer to the original question about what is a christian is, is the way it's defined in the New Testament scriptures. And there's only ONE definition, regardless of what all the notable, high-powered, outspoken preachers out there have to say.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Montgomery, AL : 4:44 PM ET
I saw a Christian on TV the other night. He told me that if I sent him $58 per month for the next 12 months that my "seed" would be rewarded a thousand fold. He told about one guy who did this and guess what? A couple of weeks later he got a new job and the salary was...you guessed it...$58,000.
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Virginia Beach, VA : 4:47 PM ET
Why not interview someone from the Eastern Orthodox Christian community? Someone from the still surviving and practicing Church and Tradition of the 1st and 2nd centuries? Someone from the most authentic form of Christianity left on the planet? I'm afraid your assessment of Christians will fall short if it limits itself to supposed theologians with a narrow historic scope of the Christian landscape.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse Robinson, Boston, MA : 4:50 PM ET
Jesus Christ said, "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." I believe Him. I love Him. I am so greatful that He loves me. And I know that He loves everyone just as much as He loves me. I read His Word, pray in His Name, fellowship with His people, pray for those who don't know Him yet, and by the power of His Holy Spirit I am being changed day by day to be more like His lovely and wonderful character -- and by His Spirit I know and say,"Jesus Christ is the Lord!"
Posted By Anonymous Robin, Chico, CA : 4:52 PM ET
I asked Jesus into my life when I was 14. It was dramatic - I didn't have any expectations that it would be - but it was a powerful enlightening experience. I then spent the next 26 years of my life trying to follow Jesus in every part of my life.
I used to be the kind of Christian who believed every word in the Bible really was "Gods Word." I read, I prayed, I fellowshiped, I did everything I could to "renew my mind," and I actually experienced and saw miracles. Through it all I felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough, even though I was taught that I should be feeling joy, not guilt. Finally, I had a breakthrough experience that set me free from guilt. I now see the Bible as a collection of stories, reflections, and poems written by individuals, that reflect the relationship that person had with God. It's inspiring, and certainly used by God to show us glimpses of Him. But that's not all there is. I believe God speaks to every person in whatever way they are able to understand or accept it. Finally, I believe the words "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," applies to every person on earth. All of us are in the same boat, and thank God, we are all forgiven.
Posted By Anonymous Renee, Gaithersburg, MD : 9:51 PM ET
I want to know what Americans think defines a christian. Personally, I think being a christian is not only believing in Jesus Christ as the son of God, it is also doing his will and following the ten Commandments. And I think majority of the christian's out there don't even remember what the ten commandments are. Christianity is now a business, thanks but I will stick with the orthodox churches ( I'm a catholic), at least then I know I am not just following the agenda of one person who thinks he/she is the mouth piece of God.
Posted By Anonymous Yetunde. Bowie, Maryland : 10:11 PM ET
This is a question for the "It is all in the Bible, which is the word of God, not a book written by men" crowd.

Which Bible? If the Bible is the direct word of God, shouldn't all Bibles be exactly the same, or better yet, shouldn't there be only ONE Bible?

As for the "What is a Christian" question, the answer is pretty basic. A Christian is one who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ. The rest of it seems to be pretty much open to personal interpretation.
Posted By Anonymous Todd, Barrington NH : 10:12 PM ET
Jesus is bigger than Christianity. Sounds strange, doesn't it? But Jesus, though he challenges our hearts, unites all people because he loves all people. In other countries of the world, Christianity doesn't go too well...but Jesus goes great. He never said anything about starting a religion...he was about people and places...staying connected to the Father, and connecting people. Binding up the brokenhearted and setting prisoners free is on the top of his list.
Posted By Anonymous Brad, Newport News, VA : 11:48 AM ET
sad to say there are many many false christians, today. these have been prophesized in the bible. they are the tares in the book of mathew, which are sown by the enemy and look very similar to the wheat, but if you eat tares it is poisonous. the tares will be gathered at the judgement and thrown directly into the lake of fire. that is how much God hates this work of the enemy. so today ask the LORD JESUS into your heart and spirit, to be saved and re-born with God's life.
Posted By Anonymous ab. orange county california : 11:59 AM ET
I hope that, in addition to the headline-oriented fundamentalists, you give good journalistic coverage of the "emergent" or underground christianity of many younger adults who consider themselves christian, try to live according to the teachings of Christ, yet reject the institutional christianity that so many commenters are complaining about. Christianity is about the kind of person you are and "who do you follow" rather than members of some organization or institution.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Carpentersville, IL : 12:03 PM ET
I am disappointed that the invited speakers on Christianity are essentially all from a Protestant background.

For those of us who are Eastern rthodox Christians, the question of what is a Christian has been long ago settled by various Holy Synods, that date back to the founding of the early Church 2,000 years ago.

I would guess that it would be interesting to examine the question from the perspective of very old traditions, such as Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, etc, from the perspective of the many, many types of Protestantism (fundamentalist, Episcopal, etc) and from other interesting viewpoints (Unitarian, Mormons, etc)
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Middlebury, VT : 12:09 PM ET
As long as abortion remains one of the hooks of the feminist agenda and a dogmatic barking point of the left, most believing Christians are going to be Republican Anti-Democrats. It's that simple. No Christian should defend, promote, or advocate abortion. Period. Yet, finding "values" other than feel-goodism, socialism, and "do what you will" on the left would indeed be shocking. I've never seen it.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Hemphill, Pittsburgh PA : 12:11 PM ET
ASK A PERSON WHO SAYS THEY ARE A CHRISTIAN WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE GOING TO HEAVEN. IF THEIR ANSWER IS �I HOPE SO.� I BELIEVE THEY HAVE MISSED THE BOAT. �I HOPE SO IMPLIES THAT THEY ARE IN CONTROL. IT IS SAYING THE OLD MYTH, �DO GOOD THINGS AND YOU GO TO HEAVEN, DO BAD THINGS AND YOU GO TO HELL.�
I BELIEVE YOU ARE GOING TO HEAVEN BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS BY DYING FOR MY SINS. I�M GOING TO HEAVEN BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS DID NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING I DID.
GOD�S GRACE IS A FREE UNDESERVED GIFT FROM GOD. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS ACCEPT IT.
YOU MIGHT ASK ME WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO DON�T ACCEPT THIS FREE GIFT FROM GOD, AND MY ANSWER TO THAT IS, �THAT IS GOD�S PROBLEM NOT MINE.�
Posted By Anonymous BOB LILLIE, PHOENIX, AZ. : 4:45 PM ET
I believe that a Christian is someone who strives to live as Christ lived when he was on this earth. They follow his teachings and his instructions, which are contained in the four gospels and those of the Apostles that are in found in the books of Acts through Revelations. There is more to being a Christian than just going to church - it is a lifestyle that goes with everywhere. Like the old saying goes, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you an automobile."
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Detroit, Michigan : 4:49 PM ET
Christian means "follower of Christ" aside from the specificic Christian credo the person professes with or without Apostolic Succession: Roman Catholics belonging to the Roman Rite or some Eastern Rite in communion with the Bishop of Rome (The Pope); Orthodox, the Anglicans and Protestants in their several denominations. The people that use to call themselves "Christians" as a specific religious affiliation they are indeed, from the dogmatic point of view, "Protestants" even they did not go to "protest" for anything. All of this is a part of "War of Semantics" that only sheds confussion, because is to take possesion of a "universal" or "generic" term to denominate people as belonging to some "exclusive" group. The term "American" for a U.S. citizen is, in certain way, a justified generic because is supported on the fact that "America" is an implicit geographical denomination in the name of the Country to which the citizen belongs to ... BUT "American Christian" is "tag" with a "double generic and double confusing connotation" as a "unique religion" Now just I ask the following question: Does it mean that a Canadian, Mexican, Argentinian or Cuban Catholic is not an "American Christian" but an Asian, African or European person classified as not a follower of Christ? What is more, does a U.S. citizen, that is Protestant is not an "American Christian"? The way the generic terms are applied as "unique" is really annoying indeed ... And the consequence of its practical almost imperceptible discriminatory usage is, preciselly, totally "Anti-Christian"
Posted By Anonymous Rafael Gutierrez, Orange, California : 4:51 PM ET
Christianity is a choice to accept a life of good over evil.
There must be a date and time with that choice,
It is known as, ‘BORN AGAIN’.
You must have been filled with the ‘HOLLY SPIRIT’
You must know what I am talking about, if not you are just
Blowing Smoke and you need to start over again and get it right.
PRAY about it this time.
Posted By Anonymous tony nicorvo, lake wales, fl : 5:11 PM ET
MAN O' MAN...it seems that this Christianity thing is getting quite a bit of air time and play! Wouldn't it be "heavenly" if it was practiced as much as it's talked about! What's the big deal? Don't give me the John 3:16 thing either, that's not the issue.

This country is largely Christian because it doesn't really know enough about other religions or other spiritual leaders to have or make an alternative choice. And we honestly don't have the time nor do we really care to. It's another thing that establishes our arrogance in the eyes of the world. A world, by the way, that in many cases has "religions" older than America or Christianity
itself! We started off as Christians and that's fine with us. We'd feel the same way if the Pilgrims had been Buddhists. We'd have started off as Buddahists and that would have been just fine too!

I smile every time I think about 30,000 congregats meeting for a worship service in Houston's old Summit, or in Memphis or Saddleback. How do you fellowship with 29,999 of your closest friends?

Let's face it, we Americans are just comfortable with this Christianity thing. It has all the right elements. It contains social, moral, ethical and psychological comfort. It can be "lite", it can be "heavy". It's fashionable and trendy. Golly, it's easy. It's a winner. And Americans like winners. Christianity defeated Judaism, Paganism and Islam. It's an ecclesiastical powerhouse season after season in the religious league.

And honestly folks, if you can get Christians to examine the kind of Christian they are for more than the 15-20 minutes at a worship service, it'll be surprising. And furthermore, if that analysis leads to any real "revival" in their lives, you've missed your calling!

But I think we don't really want to know what kind of Christians were are. That's exactly why we're Christians maybe.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Lufkin, TX : 5:19 PM ET
This is a great topic. I used to take Christianity seriously. My mother was baptised Catholic, became a Lutheran in adolescence, and then became a Baptist when she married her second husband. My father was Greek Orthodox but converted to Lutheran when he married my mother, but became a Catholic when he married his second wife. Before I married my first wife, I dated Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish girls. I married a Catholic woman. We divorced. During the 11 years after my divorce I joined a fundamentalist, evangelical non-denominational mega-church. Services consisted of guitar playing, drama, the obligatory prayer, and lots of hymn singing. I remarried and my wife is Russian Orthodox. I became Orthodox but have since fallen away. I seem to be leaning more toward paganism ever since I had a conversation with my very elderly uncle who told me he worships the sun because we'd all die if the sun went out. Since the sun is what sustains all life on earth, it seems quite appropriate to worship it.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, West Bend, Wisconsin : 5:41 PM ET
Asking non Christians "what is a Christian" is like asking a group of high school drop outs, "what is an anthropologist". Those of us that are Christians, understand that until a person receives Jesus, and passes from death to Life, live in darkness and do not see the Light. The answers are in the Bible, but remember, "narrow is the way, and few there are that find it". Jesus is the only way, read it for yourself.
Posted By Anonymous Randy, Clearwater Florida : 8:28 PM ET
I was born again in 9/57 then learned more about what that meant in 1958. Going to church doesn't make me a Christian any more than going into the garage make me a car. I am a Christian because Jesus was welcomed into my heart. He paid for my sins past, present, and future. I am born anew in Jesus, and I can't be unborn. I don't want to bring embarassment to my Heavenly Father or my earthly father, so I act accordingly.
Posted By Anonymous Rita Boren, Hemet, CA : 6:49 PM ET
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