John McQuiston II, writing at Building Faith asks if there are any required beliefs to be a Christian?
It is commonly, and mistakenly, assumed that Christianity consists of a uniform set of fundamental beliefs. Although many assert that a person is a Christian only if he or she believes certain propositions, the particular propositions that one “must” believe have changed over the centuries and continue to change today. Christians – and there are two billion of them today – have always believed many different and often contradictory things.
Some Christians insist that the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin is absolutely essential to being a Christian, while others consider that belief irrelevant and misguided. Some Christians assert that one cannot be saved without being baptized, others do not. There are conflicts over the meaning of the Trinity, the authority of the church, whether there is a heaven or a hell, whether there is an afterlife. There are great differences over the meaning of “accepting Jesus” and “being saved.” The Book of Acts, the letters of Paul, Peter, John, and Jude chronicled differences among the earliest followers of Jesus. The two-thousand-year history of Christianity is replete with disputes over beliefs.
There have been many efforts to establish agreement among Christians concerning beliefs. It seems that we humans have a strong urge to seek uniformity of belief. Perhaps it is because we feel more secure when others believe as we do, ans we are troubled by those who challenge our beliefs. The need for other people to believe as one believes, and the fear of those whose beliefs differ, are powerful impulses. They have led to the redrawing of boundaries of communities and nations, to murder, and to religious wars.
Read it all here.
What do you think? How far does one have to agree with a set of beliefs to be Christian? Or should we not define what it means to be Christian at all?
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