I do not regard myself as religious but I really enjoyed the way you wrote that. A lovely sentiment which I echo in less Christian tones in my own life.
I’m not religious either - I’m just a Christian!
Thoroughly love your choice from Peter Sarstedt!!
Genuinely curious, could you explain this statement please?
Hi Grunt! You can be religious, but not a Christian. In fact, you can be a member of a darts team and attend “religiously”, i.e. regularly. So being “religious” can have nothing to do with (a) Religion. You can go to church religiously, but not have made a commitment. Being a Christian is taking a step further and accepting the promise of redemption in Christ by faith and then following wherever that leads. Some Christians will enter a (Christian!!) church full-time whereas others won’t.
I perhaps was a little brusque in my reply, I try and (a lot of times) fail to be the best I can be…and I hope I haven’t caused offence to anyone. But unfortunately it won’t be the first time I would have upset someone, I remain a clumsy person as I always have been, although one of the things I try to do is improve myself as a person by looking at how Jesus behaved and trying to copy his example.
Sorry for the inevitably long (I’ve always produced a sentence when a word would have done) explanation…
Sorry for my ignorance but does that mean that you are a christian but don’t practise religiously (regularly)? Because in my understanding if you follow a religion you are religious (not in the “to do something regularly” sense). Genuinely just trying to understand.
In secular (non-Church going) society, doing something religiously is another way of saying regularly. In church circles, referring to someone as being religious can be a way of recognising their good practices, but also recognises that they may not have come to the point of accepting Jesus as their Saviour. Religious people can be zealots, keen on emphasising one part of the “Rules” and may not have the most rounded view of the Faith. Some may say they lack compassion and forgiveness, concentrating on others rather than themselves, but not necessarily so, it’s not a complete list… and never could be.
Christians would probably agree with "God is Love" and that we should try to be Love as much as we are able to.
Labels, like grammar, should be ignored as much as Aran and Iestyn advocate! I usually don’t mention I am a Christian, I want people who know me to ask me about my Faith after noticing the way I do things and the things I say.
Ok, I’m getting there, bear with me. I’m still trying to understand your original statement “I’m not religious … I’m a christian” (ed). Are you saying that once you “come to the point of accepting Jesus as your saviour” you are no longer classed as religious?
@aran, thanks for splitting this topic.
It struck me more that Gary was trying to make a point that he wasn’t ‘in your face’ religious - that ‘being religious’ could be seen as something more overt than just being a plain old Christian. Is that anywhere near the mark, Gary?
To be honest I didn’t see it like that. I’m hoping to understand more about religion as I believe any real atheist should. I’ve always believed that anyone that follows a religion can be classed as religious but Gary (sorry, I didn’t know your name before) is saying that there’s more to it than that. Just eager to learn.
Is this more about living by the spirit of the philosohy, i.e. Enacting what you believe in rather than just going through the rituals? My mate’s a vicar and he sets more store in living it rather than giving an appearance of believing. Sorry if I’m adding to the confusion, I’ll get back to shed repairs …
Oh, are you an atheist? Because it always seemed very unscientific to me. Agnostic, OK! But an atheist is saying I do not believe in God and since you can never prove non-existence, that is a leap of faith! Well, so it seems to me!
Can you explain your view? I came to feel the evidence for was better than zero, so am a non-practising Methodist.(nearest church is about 60 miles away -
Churches available locally didn’t really fit.)
Thanks for all the input. Gareth, there’s no official line to cross which is kind of how how I read your thoughts (in writing!), so I hope I read that right. A Christian would like to quietly get on with life and deal with life as it comes, much like Andy suggested his Vicar-mate advocates. It’s more a slight bit of snobbery almost, in an inverted way, 'cos that’s not the best attitude either. A religious person is a fairly general term and is not easily defined. But I’m not going to dodge trying. In general, a Christian would prefer not to be known as religious, but never forget I am one person and am expressing my own ideas. There is a shift in the direction of your thinking that occurs after a “conversion” (commitment) experience, although that is not something that happens to everyone. I was in the Navy at the time of my decision and I felt the right thing was to alter my language and stop swearing. That passed unnoticed!! for three seconds… You become more aware of a pressure in a direction that you dimly, dimly sense. No criticism, just a supportive guiding push. Gentle, relentlessly gentle.
My impression is that being religious is more of an outward direction, almost as if (not in every persons case) someone is saying “I’m behaving this (good) way so you should as well”. That actually seems a good thing, being a good example for others. The thing is, everyone’s life is their own to live. There is no generalisation that is terribly detailed because of that. I’m ducking out again, but it’s a valid point, there are no absolutes here.
What I will stand on is that we’ve already needed to clarify that “religiously” does not necessarily mean regularly and that it depends on context and can be confused. And that I’d rather be known as a Christian than religious. Christians follow Christ, religious people do religious things according to the traditions of that Religion.
Gareth, you may like to look locally for a church that organises the “Alpha Course” and attend. You will be able to ask any question, nothing is off-limits and you will not be disrespected. Inevitably you will be presented with Christian views but you will benefit.
By that argument you should also be agnostic about Zeus, Odin, Abnoth, Dagr, Karora and the Flying Spaghetti Monster every bit as much as you would be about the Christian/Jewish/Muslim God.
I am not sure. To be honest, unless they have changed, alpha seemed too sure of everything in my day! I started going to Methodist Church with my Auntie. I said, “I can’t believe in virgin birth!” She assured me that I didn’t need to. She didn’t and was a preacher! Methodists are very open minded - well.most are! Alpha tend to be a bit Pentecostal!
To @dave_5 Zeus et al were planets or crazy modern inventions etc… I am not saying I expect anyone to agree with me, just giving my view!
I am a Christian, and was baptised as an adult, but I don’t attend a Church regularly because I find organised Religion, or being ‘religious’ difficult. I guess I don’t like to be religious… As soon as man puts rules in the way about how you should behave I lose interest.
My faith is between me and my maker… It would probably be beneficial for me to attend a congregation and be more ‘religious’ but unfortunately every time I get involved I get mad about something. So, better to stay away and keep my faith between me and God.
Hope this helps!
Can you prove they don’t exist?
I am not sure that anyone can prove or disprove whether any deity exists, and I guess that it’s why it is called faith?
Yes. I think Dave is just being a bit playful with Jackie because she said that atheism didn’t make sense, because you can’t prove non-existence, so atheists ought to be agnostics if they were strictly scientific.
I’m a bit horrified to discover that there’s any doubt about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, though. She’s been an important part of my parenting skills.
I was in no way intending this discussion to become about who believes what and why but merely for clarification on a definition which I think I’m now closer to understanding (thank you @Garys, I’m Geraint by the way ). In order to explain why I see myself as an atheist I would end up picking holes in other peoples belief, something I am not willing to do on here. As I’ve mentioned previously I am very respectful of other people’s beliefs. I do, however, believe that you don’t have to follow any religion to be a good human being … having “christian values” if you will.