Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

If I can walk the walk and talk the talk, why can't I claim to be a Christian if it's important for some reason?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42438points) August 4th, 2016

I finally let go of an all knowing, all controlling God several years ago. The fact that there is no God was the only answer to every question, and made such perfect sense that I had to acknowledge that it’s true.

However, I’m still the same person, and I can certainly talk the talk. I can raise my hands to heaven with an “Amen! Praise God!” I can still recite the rhetoric to “answer” people who have questions. I’m still mostly kind (or try to be) to people, and help out those who have less than me. I believe in the philosophies attributed to Jesus,and I can passionately reiterate them to people.
So, why can’t I claim to be a Christian, or imply that I am if I feel the need to, like if I was running for public office in America, say, mayor? Or senator? Or…President?

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50 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Lots of people do, many of whom don’t “walk the walk”. Who says you can’t?

The question is more of an internal one for yourself. Can you live with yourself for claiming to be something that you know in your heart you are not?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. Being deceitful would give me qualms…unless I wasn’t deceitful. I would not raise my hand to heaven, or actually give God credit for anything, but I think I could quote Jesus with no qualms. I could even quote Psalms with no qualms (ha ha! Plus I love Psalms.), like “In the Bible it says God led David beside still waters. There will be still waters in your future.” So would I be claiming to be something, or just allowing people to believe what they will?

I have a secret question as to whether the Obama’s actually believe in an omnipotent God.

rojo's avatar

You can always claim to be whatever you want. It doesn’t make it so but I suppose The End Justifies the Means

kritiper's avatar

Why claim to be a Christian? Or anything else? Who and what you are is inside you.
You don’t have to actually be a “Christian” (a person who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ) to be a decent human being. Be Christian-like in your actions, and let that speak for itself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m not talking about in my general life. I gave an example of running for public office @kritiper. Pretty sure at this point in our social evolution you’d be run out of town on a rail if you didn’t indicate that you were a Christian. As I said above, I have doubts as to whether the Obama’s actually believe in an omnipotent God.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III If you proclaimed yourself a Christian where I live, you would never get elected to anything, including the sanitation district.

Why do you question the Obama’s faith?

Pandora's avatar

Because being Christian is more than just behaving like one. There are other faiths that believe that Jesus Christ was not the Savior but a prophet. Jewish, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, all acknowledge Jesus and his teaching but do no think of him as a Savior. They believe in his teachings but it doesn’t make them Christian. Christians main glue is that we believe Jesus Christ was the Savior and follow his teachings. To say you are Christian would be saying that you believe Jesus was the Savior.
There are other faiths that practice what Jesus taught, like being an all around good person but it doesn’t make them Christians.
You can certainly say that you hold christian values but that is different from actually being one and believing what Christians hold to be true in their heart.
But if it makes you feel better. Saying a person believes but who lives a life totally against Jesus teaching, doesn’t make them Christian either.

If you are a good person than you are a good person. There is no need to hide behind something you don’t believe in. You don’t need to give yourself any title.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wouldn’t “proclaim” anything. That would be a lie @zenvelo. But to borrow catch phrases from the Christian community, such as “I would like to share with you what so and so says,” that’s different.

@Pandora I know what being a Christian is. When I was one, I once mentioned to a friend that I seriously doubted all the miracles. No virgin birth, no rising from the dead. She was just shocked at that. She said, “But you have to believe in those things! That’s the bedrock of Christianity.” She looked at me in horror.
I said to myself, “I thought being kind, being like Jesus was the bedrock of Christianity….” I never said anything to anyone again, but geez. In order to be a true Christian you have to believe in magic nonsense?

Again, I wouldn’t give myself any title. Most people automatically assume I’m a Christian because I’m American. I wouldn’t do anything to disabuse anyone of that idea, unless they were open to it. For example, I have never flat out told my husband I no longer believe in God. Why should I?

BellaB's avatar

It seems to me that many people are culturally Christian or Jewish or whatever religion. They don’t seem particularly interested in religious practice.

Depending on where you live, religion has greater or lesser importance.

In Canada, I wouldn’t recommend a politician even mention a religious affiliation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What do you think would happen if Obama said, “I’m an atheist.”?

LostInParadise's avatar

You have hit upon a great truth. For most people religion comes down to a way of talking. I repeat my question to religious people, which I have yet to get a decent answer to: What do you do differently because of your religious beliefs?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you @LostInParadise. Thank you! What is the difference between me and people who proclaim to be Christian, other than “moind-belief” that can not be measured? I think that was in the back of my mind when I asked this question. I just didn’t know how else to phrase it.

dappled_leaves's avatar

You can claim to be anything you want to claim to be. You can claim to be a yellow canoe if you like.

What matters is whether you are or aren’t (in which case you need to define “yellow canoe”).

If it turns out that you are a yellow canoe, then huzzah! Everything is great.

If you aren’t, and you know that you aren’t, then claiming it makes you dishonest.

If you aren’t, and you don’t know that you aren’t, then claiming it makes you misinformed or maybe delusional.

But sure, you can claim it no matter what.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What if I don’t claim it (sorry, I worded the question wrong) but just let everyone go on their assumptions? As @LostInParadise said, ” For most people religion comes down to a way of talking.” I can still talk that way, although I don’t. I don’t say “Praise Jesus!” and stuff like that, but I know all the catch words and phrases. If I had to save my life, or my kid’s lives, I’d pull ‘em out in a heartbeat.

I still walk the walk, too, in my life because that’s just who I am. Plus, as I said, I believe in the philosophies that were attributed to Jesus.

So what would the difference between me and a good Christian be? And, most importantly, how would they know short of straight up asking?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III I honestly can’t tell from your question and comments whether you are asking “Is it ok to say you’re a Christian when you’re not?” which just comes down to whether you think a lie is justified, or whether you are asking “Am I a Christian?”

If you are asking “Am I a Christian?” then obviously it depends how you define what a Christian is.

In my opinion, it is absurd for anyone to claim to be a Christian if they do not a) believe that god exists and b) believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins. Those are the two prerequisites, and yes, I know that I’m about to have half a dozen people jump on me for saying that (because apparently everyone gets their own personal “truth” about this), but there it is.

If the bible goes on and on about the prerequisites for salvation according to Christ (which are actually very simple), and one chooses to contradict that, then at some point they have to admit they are making up a religion in their own mind and naming it after a religion that already exists.

filmfann's avatar

If you are falsely claiming to be Christian, you aren’t following Christian mores, because it is a lie.
I hope you find your way back.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dappled_leaves I know, and I apologize. As this conversation unfolds I realize I could have worded it a lot differently. Lost the word “claim,” for one thing.

If I could reword it, think I’d ask, “If I walk the walk and can talk the talk of a Christian, why would I not be considered a Christian?” Or..I don’t know. Maybe @LostInParadise can help me? Or someone else.

I finally had the courage to stand up, see the reality and do it without daydreams, @filmfan. It’s not as…consoling, for sure. And I still pray because it makes me feel better sometimes. So does mediation I suppose, but I’m used to praying.

If I act like a Christian, why should I not be considered a Christian, or at least equal to a Christian? I don’t act any differently now (in fact I don’t even believe any differently now, with one exception,) than when I was practicing, so what difference should it make Which it does to some. I can tell you that.

But I do follow Christian mores, @filmfann. As I said, I believe in the philosophies attributed to Jesus. I have refined what I consider “good behavior” even more since I walked away (much of that thanks to you people!) What else is there, besides what is in my own mind, which I don’t think anyone has the right to judge, not even when I was practicing?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III But you are still choosing only some of Jesus’ “philosophies” to believe in. Essentially, you are saying, “I am a good person, so why am I not a Christian?” The bible goes over and over this. Unless you accept the idea that Jesus died to redeem your sins, then you don’t get to be in the club. You just get to be a moral person. Why isn’t that enough? Why do you want to have someone else’s label? Why can’t you just leave that for them?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I believe that Jesus died for our sins. I mean, he said as much on the cross. It sucks that it didn’t change a damn thing, though.

LostInParadise's avatar

@dappled_leaves , How does believing in God and saying Jesus died for your sins change anything? It is all words. I see no consequences that follow from these beliefs. Things without consequences are, by definition, inconsequential and therefore not worth bothering with.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it’s our life on earth is the only thing that counts. It’s the legacy, the memories we leave behind that is important. Even if there were life after death, what good does that do the people left behind? We can’t make up for anything after we die, even if we still have some consciousness.
I guess if there is one thing that has changed, it would be that. This earthly life was a helluva lottery win and I better not waste it by fucking up. Or at least, really, really trying not to fuck up.
My sister has hurt me deeply. She converted to Catholicism when she got married 30 years ago. About 22 years ago she cut me out of her life for really stupid (materialistic) reasons. I think she counts on God’s forgiveness to justify it, I’m just not sure how.
If she didn’t have that to count on, if she understand that this is all there is, and there ain’t no more, I wonder if she’d make the effort to bridge the gap?

Zaku's avatar

Well, you could. Why do you feel you can’t? Is it because you know Christians who claim that belief in God in a specific way (“an all knowing, all controlling God” as you said?) is a prerequisite to rightly calling yourself Christian?

That’s just a social rule they’d like to impose, which you don’t have to agree to. I’m not a Christian per se but I like to think, and sometimes say, that I feel like I’m a better Christian than many Christians I’ve experienced, because I think I get the core messages and align myself with them, better than many formal Christians I’ve seen do. Though not out of belief or faith or obedience or social pressure, just because I think the real core message of Jesus was a spiritual one, to tune into one’s core loving self and discard the layers of ego crap we pick up (one of which is bad religion, often dressed up as Christianity).

Besides, I’d say that saying that belief in a literal “all knowing, all controlling God” is needed to be a Christian, is almost certainly a warped misinterpretation of Christianity, and certainly not what Jesus would have advocated, at all.

kritiper's avatar

You don’t think the Obama’s believe in an omnipotent god? What difference does it make now? Very few people (with the exception of Republicans) would probably give a rat’s ass. Before, during, or after. Or ever! Enough with the trivial pursuit!
“To thine own self be true.” To really be Christian like, one need only follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” You wouldn’t like it if others judged you, so why do it to them?? If they are to damn themselves for all eternity, they can manage that without your concern. Or lack thereof.
I never thought that Christ’s dying on the cross would give sinners a complete free pass, but rather a good word so that rather than God judging one to go to hell permanently, could be persuaded to send the sinner to spend some time in Purgatory first before moving on up to a greater salvation.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LostInParadise “How does believing in God and saying Jesus died for your sins change anything? It is all words. I see no consequences that follow from these beliefs. Things without consequences are, by definition, inconsequential and therefore not worth bothering with.”

I agree with you completely. That is why I am an atheist, not a Christian.
How is this difficult to understand?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Amen. Listening. Preach it, people.

Would it make a difference now @kritiper? No, not with only a few months ago. But do you think he would have been elected the first time, much less the second time, if he said, “I do not believe that there is a higher, mystical power than humans who will save us. We need to save ourselves.”?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III Wait, is this a question about Obama? I’m so confused.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, he would have been voted in. He was elected by (logical) Democrats, not (theist) Republicans.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was just a train of thought @dappled_leaves. If you ask anyone they will say they are sure Obama is a Christian. In various speeches he has mentioned God, especially when he’s talking about mass killings. However, I really wonder if he and Michelle believe in a higher, magical power. Just does not compute. But, if they walk the walk and talk the talk, what possible difference does it make?

There are plenty of religious Democrats, @kritiper. I just don’t know that he would have gotten in if he had flat out said he’s an atheist. I don’t think a bachelor has ever become president either, for whatever weird reason. I sometimes think of that when I think of Jackie, and some other First Ladies. Were they just a partner-necessity, chosen so their husbands could pursue their political careers successfully?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ok, I’m still no closer to understanding what your question is really about. I think part of the problem is the way you use the phrases “talking the talk” and “walking the walk”.

In the context of this question, someone who “talks the talk” says that they are a Christian. Someone who “walks the walk” actually is a Christian. That does not mean doing good works or being nice. That means having faith that Christ died and redeemed one’s sins.

This is why your question makes no sense. “Talking the talk” means claiming to be a Christian, so obviously you can claim to be one if you do. “Walking the walk” means being a Christian, so obviously you can claim to be one if you do. What is left to answer?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do walk the walk, trying to be gentle and kind, which Jesus exhorted people to do. That, IMO is more important than believing in what I consider to be myths, no more real than Zeus coming down from Olympus and impregnating a human. Believing in story tales doesn’t do anyone any earthly good, except, maybe, myself, in my own mind. Being kind DOES do people earthly good.

The point is, no one knows what is in my mind. If to all outward appearances I act like a Christian, is it OK to just let people assume that I am one? Back to Obama: For the sake of argument, let’s say he doesn’t really believe in the myths. Is it OK for him to allow people to continue to think he’s a Christian? Is it OK for him to mention the name of God, so that those listening will feel some comfort?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III But Jesus explicitly said that the things you describe yourself as doing are not sufficient for salvation. So, you directly contradict his teachings in the one aspect that defines the religion. If you were to ask the Jesus of the bible whether your points about “earthly good” were important, you know very well that he would say no. Again and again and again, he said that earthly good was entirely beside the point. So, you are showing that you have no understanding of his philosophies at all. You think he was a man who said only, “Be good to one another.” He did say that, of course, but he said a lot more besides, and it is the point about salvation that defines his role in the bible and his role as the titular head of the religion, not anything he said about being a nice person. You are absolutely not “walking the walk”. You are definitely “talking the talk”.

So, in your second paragraph above, you seem to be admitting that you are not really a Christian, and you want to know if it’s okay to just let people assume you are a Christian because you are a nice person. As I said in my first comment, that depends how comfortable you are with lying. Personally, I don’t think it is right to claim a religion that is not my own, for any reason. I can’t guess what your reasons are – what is your motivation?

Finally, I think there’s something a bit troubling about saying that being nice is “acting like a Christian”. Aren’t Jews or Muslims or people of any other faith nice? I think what you mean to say is that because most people in your region are Christian, it is assumed that you are also Christian unless you intentionally contradict the assumption.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But I’m not worried about salvation. Isn’t that my business, and no one elses?

Well, my whole family assumes I’m “still” a Christian (which, according to all “real” Christians I never was one because I never believed in “magic.”) Am I lying by not telling them straight up that I gave it up? I don’t talk about God anymore. I never say “I’ll be praying” anymore. I just haven’t said anything (It would have destroyed my Mom’s heart if she’d known.)
Is OK to just let them go on believing that I am?

Same thing goes for being any religion. Jews and Muslims have religious codes of conduct as well, which includes kindness (unless they’re on the fringe, but that could be said for some Christians too.) I’m just using Christianity because that is the religion I, and almost everyone I know, identifies most closely with.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Well, my whole family assumes I’m “still” a Christian (which, according to all “real” Christians I never was one because I never believed in “magic.”) Am I lying by not telling them straight up that I gave it up? I don’t talk about God anymore. I never say “I’ll be praying” anymore. I just haven’t said anything (It would have destroyed my Mom’s heart if she’d known.) Is OK to just let them go on believing that I am?”

OK. This, finally, is a question that makes sense to me. If you believe that a “lie of omission” is a real thing, then yes, you are lying by not telling them you lost your faith. If you don’t believe that a “lie of omission” is actually a lie, then you’re not lying until someone asks you directly and you say that no, you don’t have a religious faith (I’m moving on from Christianity because you now say that the denomination is not the point of your question). Personally, I’m on the fence about whether lies of omission are really lies. I think it’s subjective.

This is not the same thing at all as “claiming” to have a religion, which would be directly lying, and which, personally, I think is not okay. You asked for opinions and that’s mine.

As you probably already know, if I were in your position I would share with them that I’m an atheist, because it’s important to me both to a) be honest about who I am and b) stand up for atheism and the right not to have a religious faith. But perhaps neither of these things is important to you. I also don’t care whether I incur the wrath or attention of my family; we disagree on so many important things already. You really have to make your own choice about what is more important for your life and how you feel about yourself. But I would recommend that you at least be honest with yourself. If you’re concerned about lying to others about having a religion, at least don’t lie to you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, as I said earlier, I should have left the word “claim” out of the question.

Would you share it with them even if you knew it would devastate them? It would have devastated my mother. Why would I want to do that to her, or anyone? Why would you (me) want to hurt someone even a little, over something like that?

I share it with plenty of people, just not my family or those who it might hurt Although my son has an idea…and I think he finally accepted atheism as well. He came to this conclusion all by himself, but I have no idea when. We’ve kind of hinted around the bush. He wouldn’t have wanted to tell me, thinking it would hurt me because my Christian belief was important, so we really haven’t discussed it, so I’m not sure exactly where he stands. But that’s OK.

I had a long time friend, very religious, who I lost contact with over the last few years. We reconnected on Facebook when I first joined. She finally got a suspicion that I had “lost faith.” She said something like, “Oh, Dear Valerie. Have you allowed the darkness to steal your soul??”
I said, “Something like that.”
She immediately unfriended me and I’ve never heard from her again. SO MUCH FOR SAVING PEOPLE!!! LOL!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Haha! That certainly is a dramatic way for her to have made her point… and not at all in keeping with her own faith, huh?

Yes, as I said earlier, I certainly would tell my own family, regardless of the consequences, even if it would “devastate” any of my family members. Frankly, if their faith is profound, that should be their reaction. Otherwise, they themselves are only “talking the talk”. A good discussion about religion and atheism could result from that reaction, I think.

But that is who I am, and how I interact with my family. I absolutely can’t tell you that you should do the same. No one should tell you that.

It’s an interesting conundrum. Christians would condemn you for being dishonest about who you are, and also for thinking the way you do. There is no winning scenario for you according to their rules. You think of the dishonesty as a personal sacrifice for the greater good. That is not a perspective that I share, but these things are rather subjective, aren’t they? I would rather my family hear my case, so that they have an opportunity to learn from it. And yes, I expect you to say, “Oh, no, it is impossible that anyone will ever change their minds here.” But I really can’t accept that. It’s also important to me that they respect me for who I am, not for some fantasy that has been constructed around me. I don’t see much difference between the latter and losing contact with them forever. It is the same thing to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why would you do that? Seems pretty mean spirited to me, to tell someone, if that knowledge could keep them awake at night, crying for you, crying for what they believe is your mortal soul…believing you, who they love, are going to spend all eternity in hell. That’s just cruel.

I don’t feel I have anything to teach my family or those for whom Christianity is important, unless they WANT to get into a discussion.

I think some things…LOTS of things, are best left unsaid. If that’s dishonest, oh well. I also think it’s kind. So, which to a Christian, would be most important, I wonder? (Actually, I really do! That could be a good question.)

zenvelo's avatar

On Sins of Omission

It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
That all sin is divided into two parts.
One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important,
And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant,
And the other kind of sin is just the opposite and is called a sin of omission
and is equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from
Billy Sunday to Buddha,
And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.
I might as well give you my opinion of these two kinds of sin as long as,
in a way, against each other we are pitting them,
And that is, don’t bother your head about the sins of commission because
however sinful, they must at least be fun or else you wouldn’t be
committing them.
It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin,
That lays eggs under your skin.
The way you really get painfully bitten
Is by the insurance you haven’t taken out and the checks you haven’t added up
the stubs of and the appointments you haven’t kept and the bills you
haven’t paid and the letters you haven’t written.
Also, about sins of omission there is one particularly painful lack of beauty,
Namely, it isn’t as though it had been a riotous red-letter day or night every
time you neglected to do your duty;
You didn’t get a wicked forbidden thrill
Every time you let a policy lapse or forget to pay a bill;
You didn’t slap the lads in the tavern on the back and loudly cry Whee,
Let’s all fail to write just one more letter before we go home, and this round
of unwritten letters is on me.
No, you never get any fun
Out of things you haven’t done,
But they are the things that I do not like to be amid,
Because the suitable things you didn’t do give you a lot more trouble than the
unsuitable things you did.
The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if some kind of
sin you must be pursuing,
Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing.

-Ogden Nash

BellaB's avatar

Following with fascination. Can’t imagine discussing religion belief with anyone IRL.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is there such a thing as a sin of compassion?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III You asked for my opinion, and I gave it. Then I told you I don’t expect you to do what I do, and I explained my reasoning. I have no idea what compels you to now ask “How could you do that?” or to accuse me of being cruel.

A person who cheerfully believes I should be condemned to eternal damnation for not believing a lie is already cruel, whether they realize it or not. If that person is suddenly forced to realize the harshness of that belief, I think that’s actually a good thing. Maybe they should shed a few tears over it.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III You remind me of a Agnostic who believes in God. If you choose to walk the walk, then do so without announcing your intent. But don’t talk the talk or people will see through the lie that it is.

zenvelo's avatar

@BellaB I actually have conversations about spirituality in real life all the time.

So @Dutchess_III you asked if you can declare yourself to be a Christian, and then you backed off and said you would just not admit to not being a Christian. Yet, you feel your “compassion” is reason enough to live a lie.

What most people on here seem to be saying is, pretend to be whatever you want, but be aware that it is not living an honest life.

My caveat for you is that when dishonesty like this becomes known, it is much more upsetting. And it will likely arise when you least expect, such as a family church event when your mother expects you to be participating.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dappled_leaves I understand you were giving me your opinion. I never said it was wrong. Opinions are never wrong. I was just giving you my counter opinion. That’s all.
And please note I clarified “you” with “me” here.

How can anyone “see through the lie” @kritiper?

I’m not living a lie, @zenvelo. I don’t proclaim to anyone, anymore, to believe in God.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Christ and the Disciples were not Christians. They were Jews who followed a new movement they called The Way, which is very similar to the Tao in philosophy. Tao means The Way, or The Path.

The Way challenged Jewish dogma. Dogma was also responsible for The Way becoming what we know as Christianity.

If you “Walk the Walk”, then that is Your Way. It doesn’t need a label. I believe it was Confucius who said, “The way that can be named is not The Way”.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

In order to be a true Christian you have to believe in magic nonsense?
A true Believer knows it is neither magic or nonsense.

What do you think would happen if Obama said, “I’m an atheist.”?
They would have been saying ”Madam President” and not to Obama either.

Thank you! What is the difference between me and people who proclaim to be Christian, other than “moind-belief” that can not be measured?
It is not a ”mind-belief”, and certainly more measurable than a black hole, the difference is if you are covered by Christ, a ”mind-belief” cannot save anyone from anything.

I still walk the walk, too, in my life because that’s just who I am. Plus, as I said, I believe in the philosophies that were attributed to Jesus.
You do not really walk-the-walk if you never say anything of Him, because of you actually did, He would not be foreign to your lips and His praise would flow from your mouth often and boldly. To simply ”act good” as it has been said often here, even atheist can do that.

And, most importantly, how would they know short of straight up asking?
If you ever throw up a prayer, offer to pray for another, or if you ever glorify Him, if you never say with your lips and proclaim Him as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, true Believers can see right through it as someone in a gang can flush out a wannabe even if they speak the jargon of the street.

I believe that Jesus died for our sins. I mean, he said as much on the cross. It sucks that it didn’t change a damn thing, though.
How come? The wages of sin is death, if Christ doesn’t take that wage for you bring you from death to life, then death is what you earned, but He will not force you to let Him pay it, you have to do it of your own free will.

I think it’s our life on earth is the only thing that counts.
Would not that make the default position get all you can, how you can, from whom ever you can, because if you die without getting it, you never will?

We can’t make up for anything after we die, even if we still have some consciousness.
That is why each person has to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling while they yet have breath in their body.

If people believe you are Christian because you act caring and gentle you can let them believe that, you do not have to offer up the true facts. If they ask you and you lie, then doesn’t that speak to the fact you are not truly like Christians. Those who do not know what a Believer is really like will be fooled the same as a clerk would by a very good fake C-note. Just expect a true Believer might call you on it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Jesus Christ that Christianity has got to be the most misunderstood, misrepresented, and misused concept in known human history. So ugly compared to the teachings of Jesus. The Jesus that never once suggested that “His praise” should “flow from our mouths”.

I fear the notion may be the mother of all subsequently harmful cultic depravity.

I’ll put the lessons learned from my mistakes (call them sins), the humility they awarded me, the empathy discovered, and the gratitude felt… all without the name Jesus… I’ll take those credentials over the judgmental damnation that any dogma could ever offer.

I seriously expect just as many good hearted atheists have been surprised to revive in heaven as there have been bad hearted christians surprised to awaken in hell.

Pandora's avatar

@Dutchess_III Again, I wouldn’t give myself any title. Most people automatically assume I’m a Christian because I’m American. But this was your question. If I can walk the walk and talk the talk, why can’t I claim to be a Christian if it’s important for some reason?
You also stated that you don’t believe in God. So why claim any faith is the real question?
I believe in God and in Jesus and his teachings but what you are essentially asking is it ok to claim to be someone you are not.

To me, a lie of omission is like buying a shoe that is a size to small for a party because it was the only shoe that would match your outfit. At first it looks great but eventually, it will hurt and you will limp around and everyone will notice. But it’s your feet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if it was really important to someone, for some reason, that I be a Christian, why can’t I just stay silent and let them think what they want @Pandora? Back, again, to my mother. She would have been devastated if she knew that I’d let it all go, so I never said a word. I just let her go on and believe that I was still a believer. It was a “lie by compassion.” What possible good would it do her to know other wise?

You all can wrap any analogy you want on it, but the fact is, no one can tell a real Christian from a faker. You’d never catch me stealing from my church, or hooking up with prostitutes after having taken a vow to be faithful to my husband, or molesting children, but plenty of “real Christians” have done just that.

Pandora's avatar

@Dutchess_III You know I like you but you asked a question and I answered it. Sure this isn’t something that will get you thrown in jail or anything, unless you are in some country where freedom of religion isn’t a thing, but you asked a question that basically ask is an omission an actual lie and does it hurt anyone.
It really depends on the individual. Yes we all lie for one reason or another. The first being to make our lives more comfortable and to fit in. If you can deal with it and it doesn’t bother you than, no problem. But I’ve lived with omissions and they are rarely comfortable to the liar. Sometimes you are put in an uncomfortable situation where answering the question can make you feel worse so we avoid it by appearing to look in agreement.
I remember a lady I worked with asking me if I thought she was a racist because someone called her a racist. I had to continue working with her and thought there was no harm in avoiding the question and making it appear that I was in agreement with her.

She was so racist. But telling her wasn’t going to change that. However, I never did feel comfortable again. I took the easy way out and I wondered how many people compound the problem by taking the easy way out and burying their head in the sand, simply by not saying what they truly believe.
It may not have fixed her, and it may have made her and I feel uncomfortable around me in the future, but maybe if enough people answered honestly, she would see she needed to change.
I’m not saying go forth and try to stomp on peoples beliefs. Especially since you do believe the message is one you can believe in. But, not revealing who you really are is a personal matter that no one can actually tell you on how to think.
I can only tell you how I feel on the matter. You may feel none of these things but I did answer your question. You just don’t agree and that is ok.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand @Pandora. I appreciate your views.

I feel no remorse in quietly being an Atheist.

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