Friday, November 16, 2012

Minimalist Definition of "Christian"

Recently, I had the wonderful chance to come across a minimalist definition of "Christian".  There are just a couple provisions:

1.  You believe that Jesus was both divine and human;
2.  You believe that Jesus' divinity was somehow unique;
3.  You believe that the mere possibility for salvation is due exclusively to Jesus' death.

I have commented before here that I have been told I am not Christian.  I'm still not clear on who has the authority to make those sorts of decisions, but I guess I agree with them.  Now, I'm pretty sure I agree.  If this definition is universally applied by Christians everywhere, I surely don't fit the mold.

1.  Jesus was both divine and human.  On this we agree.
2.  Jesus' divinity was somehow unique to him.  Nope.  We're all divine.  Jesus just knew it.
3.  Salvation comes from Jesus's death. Nope again.  Salvation comes from Jesus' life.

You see, Jesus' life told us a story of our misunderstanding of what had transpired before.  We misunderstood when we thought that we were sinners and by virtue of our "original" sin, (or as Buddhist/Christians tell it, "original suffering") we were unsaved.  We misread the message there.  Being imperfect is what distinguishes us from divinity.  It's what makes us human. It's not something that needs to be fixed, like a flat tire, it is part of the deal.  We read into this that our flaws meant that we would be punished for them.  That was never true, Jesus just helped to clarify that.

What it all comes down to is when you look into your own soul, do you see something that you're in love with, or do you see something you despise?  Jesus' life told you its OK to see something you love.  Jesus' death reminded us that we've got a ways to go yet.

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