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What Makes (You) (Not) A Christian?
God, You, & the Bible (Reader Survey)
Before we get back to Job, a question for you, the reader. Where does your idea of “God” come from, if not from your direct, perceived experience? The answer, at least the one that I am going to give you, is: the Bible (this is true even if you have never read it).
Yet is it not also true (inescapable) that the Bible is only as good as whoever is reading it? Think about this. I will pick it up and unpack it in the next post.
And what is true of the Bible must surely also be true of all words, including this column. So now is your chance to improve the quality of this column, by taking a few minutes to answer—or at least contemplate—some of the following questions. (If appropriate, substitute “Moslem” or “Jew”—or even “atheist”—for “Christian.”)
1. Does God exist? (Yes, No, Maybe; alternatively: is “God” a useful word?)
2. Does enlightenment exist?
3. Is there such a thing as objective reality?
4. If so, how can we know it? If not, what?
5. Do you consider yourself a Christian?
6. What does it mean to be a Christian?
7. Is being a Christian a matter of self-identification, group affiliation, action, belief, or something else?
8. How essential is reading the Bible to being a Christian?
9. How essential is belonging to any particular Church?
10. Is the idea of enlightenment compatible with being a Christian?
11. Was Christ like us or fundamentally different (more-than-human)?
12. What is the basis for your morality?
13. Is some form of a belief in God essential to community relations?
14. Do you own a Bible?
15. If so, how often on average do you read it?
16. What’s your ratio of interest for Old vs. New Testaments?
17. Do you attend a church? Would you consider it?
18. How essential is attaining knowledge to wisdom, enlightenment, or revelation?
19. How essential is revelation to knowledge?
20. Is the Bible a work of revelation, a moral code, a manual, or something else?
21. Is it the word of God?
22. If so, what percentage? 100%? 50%? 5%?
23. How essential is the Old Testament to Christianity?
24. Is the Christian God the same as Yahweh, the God of the Tanakh (Old Testament)?
25. If so, how? If not, how not?
26. Are Jews still God’s chosen people? Were they ever?
27. Is it okay for God to have a chosen people/national identity?
28. Does the fact of a passage or book being in the Bible give it special validity?
29. Is it okay to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are true? By what criteria?
30. Can someone be a Christian without ever having read the Bible? Or without knowing it?
31. Is there such a thing as a personal God?
32. What does “personal God” mean to you?
33. Did God create Satan and evil?
34. If so, why? If not, where did they come from?
35. Does the doctrine of original sin contradict that of free will as the cause of evil?
36. If we can choose good over evil, can we choose to go to Heaven or Hell?
37. Does God act on the world and humans externally? Internally? Not at all?
38. Does God reward good behavior and punish bad?
39. If so, how? If not, why not?
40. Can God become a man (or a woman), or vice versa?
And so on; post your answers and/or add your own comments below (at the site) or reply to the email (public comments are preferred).
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