Has the phrase “I am a Christian” lost its meaning in today’s world?
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. That is one definition out of many.
Here are some of the words in Wikipedia describing a “Christian”:
The term “Christian” is also used adjectivally to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense “all that is noble, and good, and Christ-like. It is also used as a label to identify people who associate with the cultural aspects of Christianity, irrespective of personal religious beliefs or practices
A wide range of beliefs and practices is found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. There is usually a consensus within a denomination about what defines a Christian, but often little agreement among members of different denominations on a common definition of “Christianity.”
So to be a Christian means many different things to different people. To many in the U.S. being a Christian means that we totally support our country and all that it stands for, or at least what we perceive it stands for. But defining Christianity separate from Jesus Christ can be a damaging thing. For instance, the Klu Klux Klan during the 1930 and even up to today claim to be a Christian organization who believe in the purity of the races. They cite verses from the Bible (mainly the Old Testament) to back up their stand.
A recent poll showed that a good majority of the citizens of this country think that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that God has a special love for us that he doesn’t for other countries. They believe that every war we enter into that God is on our side and against our enemies. The common mantra that a real Christian in the U.S. idolizes four things: God, Guns, Guts, and Country (not particularly in that order).
Of course Jesus had other words about this. He told us that all of God’s children are special to him. He also told us to keep a very fine distinction between God and the sectarian governments of this earth (ie. pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God”s). When Jesus told us to love one another he did not limit that to only citizens of the country where you reside. If we follow Jesus’ words then we mourn the death of that child who dies every three seconds due to starvation or inadequate drinking water somewhere in the world the same as if he/she were a member of our own family. In a sense he is as we are all children of God. That to me is what being a Christian is all about.
So, to wrap this up being a Christian means many different things to different people. I didn’t begin to cover the vast differences between Christian denominations in the world today. Those beliefs are so vastly different to be almost comical if they weren’t so tragic. The term “Christian” as been diluted to such a degree that it is almost without meaning in today’s world. For that reason I don’t necessarily call myself a Christian anymore but instead call myself a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ.