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Against Christianity


Frank Raj
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Hi Folks I am very new to chatting on the Internet and rather daunted by all these symbols!

 

Permit me first to clarify if anybody is offended by my topic title and if I may legitimately participate in this forum. I am the owner of a website I plan to launch later this year called www.againstchristianity.com. Pro 11: 14 tells us "....in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." I have been reflecting and praying about launching this site for several years and would like to interact with you folks out there in cyberworld. I am basically interested in connecting with people who are convinced that the term Christianity does not represent Christ and would like to do something about it.

 

I am a magazine publisher and media entrepreneur based in the Middle East.

 

Look forward to a dialogue.

 

Frank

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I'm still figuring out how to use this -did you get my reply?

 

Frank

 

 

Thanks Cynthia

 

Does anyone know who invented or when was the word "Christianity" first used? I know they were first called Christians at Antioch....

 

Suppose we look at it this way- there are no differences between people in God's thinking -he loves us all, but man for obvious reasons invented religion and we are now divided and suspicious of one another. While respecting all beliefs and rejoicing in the smallest fragments of truth they contain, is it possible to point to the One who claimed to be the Truth?

 

In many parts of the world "Christianity" will always be suspect, for good reasons. I want to explore how we can dismantle its use and start afresh with Christ alone.

 

The label is harsh, but I can't think of how else to start on this impossible quest!

 

 

Perhaps a religion OF Jesus vs. the current religion ABOUT Jesus?  Sounds interesting, but perhaps mislabeled... tell us more! :D

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:) "In many parts of the world "Christianity" will always be suspect, for good reasons. I want to explore how we can dismantle its use and start afresh with Christ alone."

 

 

 

I see your dilemna! I think there have been many attempts to do this - Church of Christ; Church of God; Church of God in Christ; Church of God and Christ, et. al !!!! Unfortunately, all have been thwarted to some degree by allowing humans to participate. <_< The people who have gone on to guarantee "purity" of some sort seem to end up with eugenics or kool-aid. I'd love to find a way around all that too!!!!

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It's difficult to know what a religion of Jesus means though. A person might start with Matthew, Mark and Luke, (maybe James) and then factor in Judaism. I think you'd end up with a "Messianic Jew" - or a Jew who believes Jesus was the Messiah. Thing is, Jesus didn't fulfill all the Messianic qualifications, so what is to be done about that?

 

Sorry, I'm rambling. I just got up and need more coffee. :P

 

Coming from a mystical/perennial perspective, it's the "high" Christology of the early church that makes Christianity universal.

 

Welcome to the board! You're posting just fine. :D

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Of course we'd all love to see the end of hatred, violence, and division in the name of religion. When Christianity is used as a dividing tool, an exclusionary means of separating the "us" who "believe in Jesus" (whatever that means), from the "them" who don't, then you're right, it's not a tool of God or Christ. Ideally, however, Christianity is an expression of the universal mystical fact of God's union with the world, and therefore has an even greater potential to do the very opposite of this. A nebulous "religion based on Christ" inevitably means a religion based on some person or group's idiosyncratic interpretation of Jesus' actions, teachings, personality, etc. -- i.e., still focused on a set of historical particulars which mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

 

Anyway, not being condescending, just offering you an alternative view. :) Good luck in your quest.

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Frank:

 

You will find that this place is a good place to "say what you mean, and mean what you say" as the nuns in grade school in my old home town used to say.

 

I admire your fortitude in doing this, and I believe that if you scroll through some of the threads from at least the last year you will find that some of us hold certain things sacred and some do not. We are all seekers here, and in many ways , many of us have been damaged by the traditional institutions that have sought to bring the thoughts and wisdom of this individual to us all over the past 2,000 years or so.

 

We are not so much against Christianity, per se, but against the things that fallable human beings have turned it into from time to time. We are believers, but we are also seekers after truths regarding Christ and his life that are not so self-evident, or at least we persist in questioning materials that are presented to us as such by traditional religious institutions.

 

You are welcome here, and we look forward to your part in our discussions. Where in the east are you located ?

 

flow.... :)

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Your original post is interesting Frank. Your question makes me think of an African saying "When the missionaries came they had the Bible and we had the land. When they left we had the Bible they had the land." In the minds of many Chrisitianity is linked with colonialism , assimilation and domination by the West.

 

If I understand you correctly, you'd like to free Jesus from this and go back to his "pure" teachings . As others have said , this has been tried before . Some of have theorized that there was a Gospel of Q . Others, including myself , try to follow the Gospel of Thomas. One of the early Christian thinkers ,Marcion didn't think it was necessary to link the Jesus movement to Judaism. Others think Christianity took a wrong turn when Constantine was converted and Theodisius I

made Christianity the official religion of Rome.The problem is that if none of the above things had happened ; its possible none of us today would have heard of Jesus or "Christianity".

 

I'm kind of rambling because I have to head off to work, but I wish you luck and success on your project .

 

MOW

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Sounds absolutely fantastic for the Middle East. Make sure to get Molsems to visit. When alJezzerra had a forum, I was involved and was surprised by the Moslems responce. They usually said after 9/11, they realised terrorism had to be curbed with dialogue. They need to know how many Christians and Jews agree with them. Talking to others over a computer might be a relaxing way of doing this.

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(THE MEEKSHALL)

When ready, our website www.againstchristianity.com will hopefully be one that attracts many people who do not know Christ in the Middle East and beyond, because they are the ones who have been confused by this institution called Christianity and have missed the wood for the trees.

 

 

 

 

Sounds absolutely fantastic for the Middle East. Make sure to get Molsems to visit. When alJezzerra had a forum, I was involved and was surprised by the Moslems responce. They usually said after 9/11, they realised terrorism had to be curbed with dialogue. They need to know how many Christians and Jews agree with them. Talking to others over a computer might be a relaxing way of doing this.

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(Altheia) Re a religion of Jesus - is religion really something he gave us? Or did he just give us a way of life? We see difference and indifference in all people and Christians are no exception-George Barna's research seems conclusive in that regard. Acts 11: 26 tells us they were first called Christians in Antioch-who called them that and why? Why do we follow this biblical precedent when there are many others we don't?

 

The Lord himself could have chosen to name his followers something but he did not-why? Was he telling us something? I think in a very profound sense he wanted us to stay focused on him. But we are diffused and divided. Suppose all denominations agree to cancel their names and tell the world we simply follow Christ as one people, what would happen? I know this sounds crazy.

 

 

(MOW) I love that African saying! But its implications are sad and would you agree in some places it's true? "Pure" for many would have negative connotations -who decides what is pure? CS Lewis said we need to be reminded not instructed.

 

Re Christianity spreading because it became the official religion of Rome...suppose there was never a Pope and Peter remained the fisherman he was, Saul never fell off his horse on the Damascus road and Thomas never went to India...there was still a baby born in Bethlehem. If God chose to announce the news to shepherds, would he not make a way for those he calls and knows by name?

Your original post is interesting Frank. Your question makes me think of an African saying "When the missionaries came they had the Bible and we had the land. When they left we had the Bible they had the land." In the minds of many Chrisitianity is linked with colonialism , assimilation and domination by the West.

 

If I understand you correctly, you'd like to free Jesus from this and go back to his "pure" teachings . As others have said , this has been tried before . Some of have theorized that there was a Gospel of Q . Others, including myself , try to follow the Gospel of Thomas. One of the early Christian thinkers ,Marcion didn't think it was necessary to link the Jesus movement to Judaism. Others think Christianity took a wrong turn when Constantine was converted and Theodisius I

made Christianity the official religion of Rome.The problem is that if none of the above things had happened ; its possible none of us today would have heard of Jesus or "Christianity".

 

I'm kind of rambling because I have to head off to work, but I wish you luck and success on your project .

 

MOW

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(Fred) I think the very word Christianity is a dividing tool -you don't see it so clearly in the West but on the other side of the fence it does not communicate Christ to many people. Christianity is nebulous to me not Christ. Only the scriptures not structures regenerated my life. I think it is possible to avoid the trap of playing church member and follow Christ without joining a club or being lured by a charismatic individual, I also think that that is quite impossible without realising our royal priesthood to find meaning in our work whatever we do.

 

 

Of course we'd all love to see the end of hatred, violence, and division in the name of religion.  When Christianity is used as a dividing tool, an exclusionary means of separating the "us" who "believe in Jesus" (whatever that means), from the "them" who don't, then you're right, it's not a tool of God or Christ.  Ideally, however, Christianity is an expression of the universal mystical fact of God's union with the world, and therefore has an even greater potential to do the very opposite of this.  A nebulous "religion based on Christ" inevitably means a religion based on some person or group's idiosyncratic interpretation of Jesus' actions, teachings, personality, etc. -- i.e., still focused on a set of historical particulars which mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

 

Anyway, not being condescending, just offering you an alternative view. :)  Good luck in your quest.

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Altheia) Re a religion of Jesus - is religion really something he gave us? Or did he just give us a way of life? We see difference and indifference in all people and Christians are no exception-George Barna's research seems conclusive in that regard. Acts 11: 26 tells us they were first called Christians in Antioch-who called them that and why? Why do we follow this biblical precedent when there are many others we don't?

 

The Lord himself could have chosen to name his followers something but he did not-why? Was he telling us something? I think in a very profound sense he wanted us to stay focused on him. But we are diffused and divided. Suppose all denominations agree to cancel their names and tell the world we simply follow Christ as one people, what would happen? I know this sounds crazy.

It's difficult to know what a religion of Jesus means though. A person might start with Matthew, Mark and Luke, (maybe James) and then factor in Judaism. I think you'd end up with a "Messianic Jew" - or a Jew who believes Jesus was the Messiah. Thing is, Jesus didn't fulfill all the Messianic qualifications, so what is to be done about that?

 

Sorry, I'm rambling. I just got up and need more coffee.  :P

 

Coming from a mystical/perennial perspective, it's the "high" Christology of the early church that makes Christianity universal.

 

Welcome to the board! You're posting just fine.  :D

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(Flowperson) I honestly think the word Christianity is doing more harm than good for the cause of Christ. I wish every single follower of Christ would stop using it and tell the world! BTW I live in Dubai, UAE.

 

I agree that there are perception problems in using the words "Christianity" and Christian". The reason for this is the excessive public relations outreach by the right wing members of our faith, as if they/we were really about selling some sort of product to the rest of the world, instead of doing things to help their fellow humans. That's not what most of us are about.

 

Read your way through some of the discussions here over the past year or so. I believe you'll discover that many of us here have been victimized in some ways by these very same people. I personally cringe whenever I hear our religion named in the media. That only means that more people in the world will misunderstand what most of us are about over the long run. Belief is not about images created in the media for public consumption and judgement. Belief is about living one's life while always being mindful of our fellow humans' needs.

 

flow.... :)

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Christianity sure does carry a lot of baggage with it now that we have been a force on this planet for almost 2000 years. Sometimes I think that the only hope for this shrinking planet is a new spiritual synthesis of all the great wisdom traditions. When I say that, do I stop being a Christian. Should I become a Unitarian?

 

I just can't let go of the rituals and the great theology of Christianity at its best. I can sure let go of the worst and there is a lot of that these days as Pat Robertson reveals daily for a global audience. Why won't Disney elimate that show?

 

But I digress.

 

I use the term "The New Church for the New Age" (see my website - below) trying to promote a synthesis of Christian ideas with New Age ideas.

 

Something new is emerging and maybe we shouldn't call it Christianity any more.

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Thank you for the link and all the work you have done on your web page. You are working to counter the negative baggage Christianity has accumulated.

 

People are saying I am not Christian, but New Age as if New Age is bad. I think a better term that is more positive is Christian Enlightenment or something to that effect. Let's work on a progressive category.

 

As Christians we have chosen the powerful image of Jesus Christ to represent the expression of the tangential point between the spiritual and the physical. He embodies the cosmic mind as seen through the universal man. It is not that the material world will one day dissolve into Jesus Christ, but that the ego's extroverted tendencies will disappear in order that the second coming of Christ might be perceived in consciousness.

 

http://thinkunity.com

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Thank you for the link and all the work you have done on your web page. You are working to counter the negative baggage Christianity has accumulated.

 

People are saying I am not Christian, but New Age as if New Age is bad. I think a better term that is more positive is Christian Enlightenment or something to that effect. Let's work on a progressive category.

 

As Christians we have chosen the powerful image of Jesus Christ to represent the expression of the tangential point between the spiritual and the physical. He embodies the cosmic mind as seen through the universal man. It is not that the material world will one day dissolve into Jesus Christ, but that the ego's extroverted tendencies will disappear in order that the second coming of Christ might be perceived in consciousness.

 

http://thinkunity.com

 

Yeah!!

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I was going to start a new topic, but decided to post under this topic because it relates to Frank Raj's concerns.

 

I've noticed over the last couple of years that many Christian denominations no longer stand during the reading of the Gospel lesson. It was a tradition, when I was growing up , that you stood for the Gospel reading because these were Jesus' words. Over the years this practice has stopped as far as I can tell.

 

My guess is that this happened because people thought that would make one part of the Bible more important than another. This then makes books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy the equal of Jesus' parables and the sermon on the mount. Over time people start to prefer those parts of the Bible that give them strict rules for behavior over the paradoxical and ironic saying of Jesus. I played piano in a conservative baptist church for three years when I was younger . They hardly ever read from the gospels of Matthew, Mark or Luke exept for the birth and crucifiction stories.

 

The result of all of this is Jesus is simply worshipped rather than listened to.

 

I would like to see Protestant churches standing for the Gospel lesson again.

 

MOW

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I was going to start a new topic, but decided to post under this topic because it relates to Frank Raj's concerns.

 

I've noticed over the last couple of years that many Christian denominations no longer stand during the reading of the Gospel lesson. It was a tradition, when I was growing up , that you stood for the Gospel reading because these were Jesus' words. Over the years this practice has stopped as far as I can tell.

 

My guess is that this happened because people thought that would make one part of the Bible more important than another. This then makes books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy the equal of Jesus' parables and the sermon on the mount. Over time people start to prefer those parts of the Bible that give them strict rules for behavior over the paradoxical and ironic saying of Jesus. I played piano in a conservative baptist church for three years when I was younger . They hardly ever read from the gospels of Matthew, Mark or Luke exept for the birth and crucifiction stories.

 

The result of all of this is Jesus is simply worshipped rather than listened to.

 

I would like to see Protestant churches standing for the Gospel lesson again.

 

MOW

 

I always (for the last year) wondered why we stood for that part of the reading! At the UCC church I go to they do still stand.

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Someone asked where the word Christianity came from.

 

I looked into the Oxford English Dictionary and found that it derived from Latin christianitatem and came into English through Old French in the 14th century. Chaucer made use of the word but spelled it "cristyanytee." It simple means either the whole body of Christians or the Christian part of the world.

 

In today's usage, it does have a negative connotation, largely due to its long association with evangelical imperialism dating from the 19th century and competition with other religious traditions. Personally, I have tried to exclude the word from my vocabulary and follow the counsel of one of my teachers, Prof. Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, in adopting the term "religious tradition" instead of "religion" and "the Christian tradition" rather than "Christianity." I follow a similar practice in referring to other religious traditions - Judaism, Buddhism, etc. In other words, let's drop the inane "... isms" and "... ianities." :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've noticed over the last couple of years that many Christian denominations no longer stand during the reading of the Gospel lesson. It was a tradition, when I was growing up , that you stood for the Gospel reading because these were Jesus' words. Over the years this practice has stopped as far as I can tell.

 

I have been going to (or pastoring) Presbyterian and Methodist & UCC congregations for nearly 6 decades now and standing for the gospel is the exception not the rule. I never remember standing for the Gospel as a child or teenager or young adult in Presbyterian and Methodist congregations. I never even knew the practice existed. In Episcopal & RC & Lutheran congregations I suspect that it is more the rule.

 

My congregations rebelled against the practice saying it was "too Catholic" and unnecessary.

 

I don't know!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm at the beginning phase of a new journey regarding this very issue of the word "Christian".After some of my experiences with "Christian" entities, I am inclined to run in the opposite direction when I hear somebody say such and such is "Christian". Have belonged to a couple churches, attended a "Christian" educational institution, and been employed by "Christian" entitites, and I can factually report back that it has been the most negative, hostile, lack of caring type experiences I've ever been through. Hypocrisy,apathy, and pro formism have been the main themes, and basically, well, no thanks. At this point in time, I am not willing to take a risk at looking for another church or denomination to join. I worry about being part of another bunch of political baloney.

I'm not looking for "Christian". I'm looking to try to embody myself with principles that model after how the real Jesus would treat people.

Edited by JAM
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JAM

 

Welcome !! There's not much going on here today. It tends to run in spurts once in a while. You'll find lots of sympathetic people here who have been through similar circumstances to yours, or worse.

 

We are all searching. I would suggest reading some of the past threads to get a flavor of the voices here.

 

Good luck to you on your quest.

 

flow... :)

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