Christianity 2.0: Secular Christianity

How might Christianity evolve to become a better global citizen?

I remember, years ago, being startled by the idea that “Jewish” could be an ambiguous term.  It might mean an ethnic identity, or a cultural one, or a religious one.  In other words, someone could be a Jewish atheist, identifying with Judaism culturally but not religiously.  Indeed, Israeli Jews are predominantly secular.

Christian belief within America has changed, going through Great Awakenings and spawning new flavors of Christianity such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh-Day Adventist church, and the Christian Science church.  At the turn of the early twentieth century, during the Golden Age of Freethought and decades after Darwin’s The Origin of Species, observers saw Christianity on the wane.  But Christianity rebounded, with Pentecostal and other new charismatic churches.  Today, Christianity continues to change, lately becoming more polarized within America while Europe becomes more secular.

If Christianity will continue to evolve, might it follow the example of Judaism, creating secular Christianity as a viable position?

Consider what this might be like.  A secular Christian—I could be a candidate, for example—might go to church for the beautiful or traditional or inspiring music.  The church building might be a draw, whether it were awe-inspiring or quaint.  Sermons about finding the right path or avoiding the shallow temptations in life or even Bible stories might be edifying.  Services could mark the important events in life such as births, marriages, and deaths.  Whether the secular Christian went weekly or only a few times a year, the community of good people, eager to help others, would be welcoming.  It might give focus to good works, providing opportunities for volunteering and direction for charitable giving.

But—and here’s the interesting bit—this secular Christian would reject the supernatural origin of Christianity, would be open about it, and would be accepted within the church community.

Of course, keeping the good parts of Christianity and discarding the supernatural beliefs wouldn’t solve all the world’s problems.  There would still be human folly.

But perhaps there would be a little bit less.

Related articles:

  • Moment magazine has is “Elephant in the Room” contest for the best answer to the question, What does it mean to be Jewish without belief in God?
  • Kimberly Winston, “Atheist Jews: Judaism Without God,” Huffington Post, 9/23/11.

13 thoughts on “Christianity 2.0: Secular Christianity

  1. “But—and here’s the interesting bit—this secular Christian would reject the supernatural origin of Christianity, would be open about it, and would be accepted within the church community.”

    There’s already a church community like that:
    http://www.nontheistfriends.org/
    “Nontheistfriends.org presents the work of Friends (Quakers) who are more concerned with the natural than the supernatural. Some of us understand “God” as a symbol of human values and some of us avoid the concept while accepting it as significant to others. We differ greatly in our religious experience and in the meaning we give religious terms.”

    Even you would be welcome, Bob!

    avalon

  2. AS I have said, from the quote I used in another comment section of Bob’s blog. “There is nothing new under the sun’. What Bob calls the “secular Christian” ( which is an oxymoron) the bible calls false believers. And theologians call those who have a false faith. Not a true “Saving faith” which is a gift from God. The churches are full of these false beleives, they go to church for all the reasons Bob mentioned and many other. So nothing new Bob. In fact the Bible talks much of this..It tell us the “Wide is the gate that leads to destruction ( false churches and false belivers) But narrow is the Gate that leads to righetousness. ( Saving faith) Also… “Many are called anf few are chosen”. Salvation is from God , not man.. And God knows His elect and will call them throughout History.. And when God calls His last elect person to salvation then Jesus will return and seperate the Believers and unbelievers.. The believers will be with God for eternity and the lost will be judged and trown in the lake of fire with the Devil for eternal punishment..
    So Bob God’s true church will never change..Jesus will continue to build His Church and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

    • Yes, the churches are full of unbelievers, but they’re hidden.

      Rather than throw Christianity in the garbage, perhaps we can salvage the good things about it (community, good works, discussion of morals, etc.) and drop the faith thing. Then the unbelievers who embrace the good parts of Christianity can come out of the closet.

  3. Sorry Bob Christianity will never be thrown in the garbage..Chrsit will continue to build His church till He comes again..

    Sorry Bob the “faith” thing can not be dropped either. Faith is a gift God gives SUPERNATURALLY to His elect. True believers can never loose their faith. And unbelievers will never have faith to believe unless God grants it to them.

  4. Random Function

    God does not want everyone saved. Only those He give the Son ( John 6:37) and only those the Son wills to reveal the Father to Luke 10 and Matt 11

    • To BobC,

      I’m not an exegete, but the verse appears to contradict flatly your statement that only some people are God’s elect and that others have been forever cursed.

      Traditional theologians distinguished between antecedent will and consequent will. Antecedently, before people’s choices, God wants everyone to be saved. But some people do rebel against God. So God, consequently, does not want everyone to be saved, but only those who accept him.

  5. No! Orthodox Theologians talk of God’s revealed will, Which is revealed in the OT and the NT. Which unregenerate men reject every day. Then there is God’s Decreed will. ( also called His secret will or His Sovereign will). This will of God can never be thwarted by man. As we see in the Crucification of Jesus..We have Pilate, Hearod, the Jewish leaders, and the Romans, all involved for their own reasons , in the death of Christ. Yet they did only what God predestined them to do. Acts 4.
    If God wants everyone saved why does He have mercy on whom He wills and harden who He wills? Why Did God raise pharoah to show His power? Why does God the potter make on pot for honor and one for a vessel of wrath?

    • To BobC,

      Wow… your theology is pretty frightening. Your god is a cruel tyrant who acts out of whims. Not unlike the islamic god. How can you convince Bob the atheist with THAT?

  6. Random
    All I did was qoute Romans 9.. I left out where God says Jacob I loved and Esau I hated…
    And we do not “CONVINCE” people into Christianity.. I just preach the Gospel, the Good news that Jesus is a perfect savior to those who repent and believe..If God grants that person repentence that person will be saved. I can not convince anyone salvation is of the Lord!

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