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Can we just get back to the fact that in most cases religion doesn't help you. Praying to something that we don't even know exists is rather pointless in my opinion, that time could be much better spent.

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Can we just get back to the fact that in most cases religion doesn't help you. Praying to something that we don't even know exists is rather pointless in my opinion, that time could be much better spent.

You call that a fact? It's an opinion. I could say the same thing about living your life with no purpose whatsoever... how does that help?

People don't know God exists because they've never tried to believe.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States
And I quote:"According to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (discussed below), 80% of the U.S. is Christian "

Just because most people will say they are Christian, that doesn't mean they really are Christian. There are some people that call themselves "Christians" and then go out to the bar, strip clubs, parties, etc. Their real title is "hypocrite." And a lot of those "Christians" don't even go to church except for Christmas and Easter. So in reality, it's probably only 50% of the U.S. is truly Christian.

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The ultimate purpose is for the universe to know itself. We can achieve that by knowing ourselves. We discover ourselves through exploration whether that be exploring faith or the physical world around us (Ideally both) But *always* questioning.

The spiritual, physical and mental must all be embraced as one.

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Just because most people will say they are Christian, that doesn't mean they really are Christian. There are some people that call themselves "Christians" and then go out to the bar, strip clubs, parties, etc. Their real title is "hypocrite." And a lot of those "Christians" don't even go to church except for Christmas and Easter. So in reality, it's probably only 50% of the U.S. is truly Christian.

Given that even Christians cannot agree on the definition of "real Christian", any number that you throw out for "real" Christians is essentially meaningless. Therefore if 80% claim to be Christian then you have to just accept that as the case. If your benchmarks are to be the measure instead, then I would figure the truer figure to be close to 3%, not 50%.

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You call that a fact? It's an opinion. I could say the same thing about living your life with no purpose whatsoever... how does that help?

So purpose is only established through belief in a God? It must be externally imposed rather than self-directed? Purposeful towards whom or what? Your understanding of purpose seems rather narrowly constrained.

People don't believe God exists because they've never tried to believe.

Fixed for you. The nature of Faith precludes knowing. This statement is merely circular.

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So purpose is only established through belief in a God? It must be externally imposed rather than self-directed? Purposeful towards whom or what? Your understanding of purpose seems rather narrowly constrained.

Belief in God is not the only way to find purpose in one's life but go ask JoshSCH and he'll tell you that he believes life has no purpose whatsoever.

My purpose is purposeful for of course me, my God, and my life. How is my understanding of this "rather narrowly constrained?"

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Given that even Christians cannot agree on the definition of "real Christian", any number that you throw out for "real" Christians is essentially meaningless. Therefore if 80% claim to be Christian then you have to just accept that as the case. If your benchmarks are to be the measure instead, then I would figure the truer figure to be close to 3%, not 50%.

I guess.

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My purpose is purposeful for of course me, my God, and my life. How is my understanding of this "rather narrowly constrained?"

The comment was only in reference toward your mention of living life with no purpose, which to me sounded as if you were discounting a life free of religion as without purpose.

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Given that even Christians cannot agree on the definition of "real Christian", any number that you throw out for "real" Christians is essentially meaningless. Therefore if 80% claim to be Christian then you have to just accept that as the case. If your benchmarks are to be the measure instead, then I would figure the truer figure to be close to 3%, not 50%.

the problem is in the way such figures are measured.
Often census polls will not give you enough options to make your true beliefs (or lack thereof) known.
For example you get a poll asking for your religion. The options are
1) Christian
2) Muslim
3) Atheist
4) Hindu

If you're neither, what do you pick? Most people will pick the religion closest to their background, which in a traditionally Christian region would be Christian.
Often also when you leave a question open the people handling the results will just pick the first item on the list instead, because they have to fill in something.

But as to 50% of the US being Christian, I think that's pretty correct.
Note that's not 50% of people actually going to church every sunday and really believing in the whole thing wholeheartedly.
Most of them believe in Christian values without being actively religious, may even share Christian believes but aren't members of any organised church group.

Given that definition I too would be termed a Christian, altough I don't believe in any deity.
No, I'm not an atheist. Atheists hold a religious believe (meaning a believe without any scientific evidence to back it up) in the non-existence of god(s). I keep my options open, there may be something out there that fits the definition of a god but I lack the faith to believe in it/him/her. Show me that scientific evidence though and I'll reconsider, something an atheist would not do.

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the problem is in the way such figures are measured.
Often census polls will not give you enough options to make your true beliefs (or lack thereof) known.
For example you get a poll asking for your religion. The options are
1) Christian
2) Muslim
3) Atheist
4) Hindu

If you're neither, what do you pick? Most people will pick the religion closest to their background, which in a traditionally Christian region would be Christian.
Often also when you leave a question open the people handling the results will just pick the first item on the list instead, because they have to fill in something.

Understood. Polling itself imposes limits on the usefulness or accuracy of the information obtained.

But as to 50% of the US being Christian, I think that's pretty correct.
Note that's not 50% of people actually going to church every sunday and really believing in the whole thing wholeheartedly.
Most of them believe in Christian values without being actively religious, may even share Christian believes but aren't members of any organised church group.

With "believe in Christian values" as the metric, I would accept the 50% as a reasonable sounding guess. Christina's comment though cited "hypocrisy" or failure to adhere to her expectations of what "real Christian" entailed as the metric for her lowered estimate. That is where I believe the estimate becomes meaningless.

Given that definition I too would be termed a Christian, altough I don't believe in any deity.
No, I'm not an atheist. Atheists hold a religious believe (meaning a believe without any scientific evidence to back it up) in the non-existence of god(s). I keep my options open, there may be something out there that fits the definition of a god but I lack the faith to believe in it/him/her. Show me that scientific evidence though and I'll reconsider, something an atheist would not do.

I fall into pretty much the same category I suppose. I've taken to referring to that as Atheist rather than Agnostic, but like yourself, if evidence were presented that I could find credible I would be open to re-evaluation of my lack of belief. Agnosticism just has so many shades that it's difficult to pin down, but I've always distilled it to "I think there is some higher power out there, I'm just not certain what it is". Since I currently don't believe that to be the case, I fall a little closer to the Atheist side than the Agnostic side.

This quote found in wikipedia on Agnostic Atheism attempts to explain some of the duality but I think it just further blurs an already sufficiently blurred distinction:

One of the earliest explanations of agnostic atheism is that of Robert Flint, in his Croall Lecture of 1887-1888 (published in 1903 under the title Agnosticism): "The atheist may however be, and not unfrequently is, an agnostic. There is an agnostic atheism or atheistic agnosticism, and the combination of atheism with agnosticism which may be so named is not an uncommon one."[1]
"If a man has failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist... if he goes farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist - an agnostic-atheist - an atheist because an agnostic... while, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other..."[2]

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Well, it all depends on your mind, if you believe in a being capable of creating the earth in 6 days (resting on the 7th remember :P), being able to create mass swarms of locusts, giving people the power to part water, etc. That's your opinion. And you are entitled to it. But trying to convert others, or like that bizarre American family which protest at soldiers funerals because they think what the American soldiers are doing is satanic, is a step to far. But at least there are very few of them....

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Christina's comment though cited "hypocrisy" or failure to adhere to her expectations of what "real Christian" entailed as the metric for her lowered estimate. That is where I believe the estimate becomes meaningless.

MY expectations?? Actually, that would be the Bible's expectations. =/ I'm not God you know.

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>Atheists hold a religious believe (meaning a believe without any scientific evidence to back it up) in the non-existence of god(s). I keep my options open, there may be something out there that fits the definition of a god but I lack the faith to believe in it/him/her. Show me that scientific evidence though and I'll reconsider, something an atheist would not do.

Im an atheist and I don't have a religious opposition of god, not anymore than I oppose Santa Clause or the Boogie Monster. Atheism is not a state of absolutism or a religious-like stance, but more a commitment to logic and science.

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But there can't be a 'real' Christian, that's like asking for someone that is perfect, no one is perfect, like there are no 'real' Christians, because each country has a slightly different way that they do things. Therefore there would be a true, proper, real Christian which each country would have to diplomatically argue over, to who was this 'real' Christian.

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MY expectations?? Actually, that would be the Bible's expectations. =/ I'm not God you know.

As you well know, disagreements over the expectations of the Bible abound and it's interpretation is hugely fragmented. Very few Christian denominations can wholly agree on the should and should not of it's entirety. That is exactly my point. You mentioned a few things that you viewed as "not really Christian" and labeled anyone who did them as hypocrites. Therefore, your estimate was based on your expectations. If you wish to claim they are the expectations of the bible, fine, but don't expect to pass that off as universally agreed upon amongst all Christians.

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But there can't be a 'real' Christian, that's like asking for someone that is perfect, no one is perfect, like there are no 'real' Christians, because each country has a slightly different way that they do things. Therefore there would be a true, proper, real Christian which each country would have to diplomatically argue over, to who was this 'real' Christian.

The Bible talks about what a real Christian is.

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As you well know, disagreements over the expectations of the Bible abound and it's interpretation is hugely fragmented. Very few Christian denominations can wholly agree on the should and should not of it's entirety. That is exactly my point. You mentioned a few things that you viewed as "not really Christian" and labeled anyone who did them as hypocrites. Therefore, your estimate was based on your expectations. If you wish to claim they are the expectations of the bible, fine, but don't expect to pass that off as universally agreed upon amongst all Christians.

How? It's clearly written!

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How? It's clearly written!

Clearly written as in specifying "the bar, strip clubs, parties, etc"? Many adjectives might describe the bible, but "clear" isn't one of them. If clarity was so apparent there would be a single denomination "Christian" as opposed to the over 300 listed in Wikipedia (yes, not an exhaustive research source by any means, but they do list 300 and state that they haven't even listed them all)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

From the same entry above

Between denominations, theologians and comparative religionists, there are considerable disagreements about which groups can be properly called Christian. These disagreements rise primarily from doctrinal differences between groups. For the purpose of simplicity, this list is intended to reflect the self-understanding of each denomination. Explanations about different opinions concerning their status as Christian denominations can be found at their respective articles.

It would seem that a few people are missing that clarity.

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But as to 50% of the US being Christian, I think that's pretty correct.

Hmm.. I'm just wondering what you base this off. What evidence made you pick 50%? Just random?

No, I'm not an atheist. Atheists hold a religious believe (meaning a believe without any scientific evidence to back it up) in the non-existence of god(s). I keep my options open, there may be something out there that fits the definition of a god but I lack the faith to believe in it/him/her. Show me that scientific evidence though and I'll reconsider, something an atheist would not do.

Now that's just not true at all. Atheism is the lack of believe. We do not adhere to our believes without evidence, as the christians do. We simply believe that through logic and science, it is impossible for a god to exist. Unlike the agnostics who are on the fence trying to decide for themselves, atheists do NOT believe in a god, but do NOT stick to this believe without reason. There are plenty of reasons as to why I do not believe a god exists (we have talked about most of them). And actually Jwenting, most atheists (including myself) are very open minded individuals.. if there was evidence that a god existed then I would quickly admit that I was wrong.

>Atheists hold a religious believe (meaning a believe without any scientific evidence to back it up) in the non-existence of god(s). I keep my options open, there may be something out there that fits the definition of a god but I lack the faith to believe in it/him/her. Show me that scientific evidence though and I'll reconsider, something an atheist would not do.

Im an atheist and I don't have a religious opposition of god, not anymore than I oppose Santa Clause or the Boogie Monster. Atheism is not a state of absolutism or a religious-like stance, but more a commitment to logic and science.

Exactly.

Christina, your opinion of "Christian" may be entirely different from other people. You cannot judge people based on your believes.. if others consider themselves to be christians, then as far as statistics are concerned, they are christian. There is nothing that can actually judge whether or not someone is truly christian. There are tons of different bibles and christian sects.. In fact, some people may not believe that you are truly christian. There are some who believe only catholicism is true christianity as it was the first christian faith.

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Exactly.

Christina, your opinion of "Christian" may be entirely different from other people. You cannot judge people based on your believes.. if others consider themselves to be christians, then as far as statistics are concerned, they are christian. There is nothing that can actually judge whether or not someone is truly christian. There are tons of different bibles and christian sects.. In fact, some people may not believe that you are truly christian. There are some who believe only catholicism is true christianity as it was the first christian faith.

For the last time, it's not my beliefs. It's written clear as day in the Bible what a Christian truly is!

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For the last time, it's not my beliefs. It's written clear as day in the Bible what a Christian truly is!

Addressed in my post just prior to Josh's, previous page.

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For the last time, it's not my beliefs. It's written clear as day in the Bible what a Christian truly is!

Yes, it's your opinion what a 'true' christian is. There is nothing out there that can rate christians. And who are you to judge anyway? I thought only god could judge people ;)

If I am wrong, then please post evidence of what a true christian is. Remember, this will have to be something that ALL christian sects believe. Good luck.

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I know... but no one's listening.

Listening to what? Your assertion that it is clearly written without any inclusion of that really clear part?

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Can we agree to disagree.
You can't prove that a God exists.
We can't prove the beginning of the universe.

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Yes, it's your opinion what a 'true' christian is. There is nothing out there that can rate christians. And who are you to judge anyway? I thought only god could judge people ;)

If I am wrong, then please post evidence of what a true christian is. Remember, this will have to be something that ALL christian sects believe. Good luck.

Listening to what? Your assertion that it is clearly written without any inclusion of that really clear part?

Okay, this is rather long but I just retrieved a bible study we did at my church a while back on this subject.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a Christian as “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teaching of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point in understanding what a Christian is, like many secular definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian.

The word Christian is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. It literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or an “adherent or follower of Christ,” which is very similar to the way Webster’s Dictionary defines it.

Unfortunately over time, the word "Christian" has lost a great deal of it significance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values instead of a true born again follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who don’t believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a "Christian" nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. As one evangelist once said, “Going to church doesn’t make one a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes one an automobile.” Being a member of a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church cannot make you a Christian.

The Bible teaches us that the good works we do cannot make us acceptable to God. Titus 3:5 tells us that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” So, a Christian is someone who has been born-again by God (John 3:3; John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23) and has put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” A true Christian is someone who has repented of his or her sin and put faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. Their trust is not in following a religion or a set of moral codes, or a list of do’s and don’ts.

A true Christian is a person who has put his or her faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ and fact that He died on the cross as payment for sins and rose again on the third day to obtain victory over death and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. John 1:12 tells us: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Christ. The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:10).


Humans are never perfect, so even I can't call myself a "True Christian..." but I am a Christian because I am the definition of that word. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

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>>this will have to be something that ALL christian sects believe
1. Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, raised from the dead and ascended into heaven.

2. The goodhood consists of three members: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost (AKA the trienity of the goodhood).

3. The only way to get to heaven is thru Jesus Christ.

4. We are all sinners and require God's forgiveness to get to heaven.

Those I think are the basic principals of Christianity that all denominations will agree with. From there beliefs diverse significantly, for example I don't believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. The earth is certainly much older than the 6,000 years many Christians believe it to be. And the earth was not created in 6 earth days but 6 of God's days, which could be millions of earth years.

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Okay, this is rather long but I just retrieved a bible study we did at my church a while back on this subject.
<snip so quote doesn't fill so much space>

A true Christian is a person who has put his or her faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ and fact that He died on the cross as payment for sins and rose again on the third day to obtain victory over death and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. John 1:12 tells us: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given new life in Christ. The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God’s Word (1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:10).


Humans are never perfect, so even I can't call myself a "True Christian..." but I am a Christian because I am the definition of that word. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

I looked pretty hard in all that but failed to find the part about going to bars and parties being a disqualifier. If I missed it, feel free to bold the relevant section.

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