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The term " Christian", as originally used in the first two centuries AD, was an insult.

To call somebody a Christian would be much like calling a Trekker a Trekkie, or a girl who likes to follow rock bands a groupie, or somebody who stuck up for African Americans during the 50's and 60's a Nigger Lover.

It was not, in other words, a compliment.

It is only used in the bible three times. In one of them, Paul is presenting his case as to why he is being unjustly jailed to the local magistrate, and basically lays the whole thing out. The response is "do you think you can really turn me into one of these Little Christ Groupies in half an hour?"

In another, the Apostle Peter is writing to a church, telling them that, while he would never use the term "Christian" to refer to himself, he's proud to be called that by others, because in the midst of their hatred for him, it clearly defines in a public manner that what he lives for is what they identify him with.

That said, members of the First Church refered to themselves as being followers of "The Way", i.e., "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." Or, more specifically, following the example of Jesus. But they weren't Jesusites, or what have you...they weren't founding a religion based on a name.

At it's heart, what the message Jesus brought to the world, which so offended Jews and Gentiles alike, was that man had fallen and chosen corruption, and that God was trying rather earnestly to return them to their prior perfect state.

He wanted them to be perfect humans.

If you at all accept what the Bible is saying, or even if you don't, you know that one of its central arguments is that man was created with the specific purpose of having an ongoing relationship with God. God was meant to be central to the life of a human.

Additionally, as described by Jesus, and layed out by example of The Ten Commandments; a good human is loving, humble, compassionate, seeks to understand, and sees all of humanity as his family...whether they like him/her or not.

One will immediately admit that most "good Christians" do not seem to fall into that category at all.

In fact, many constituents of the "Christian" religion, with it's T-shirts and fish stickers and tower on a hill mentality ("if we shine bright enough and stick our noses high enough in the air, they're bound to notice us behind our high walls and be attracted to our cause eventually") utterly fail to ever get very close to the good human definition.

Religion, once again, is not what God had in mind. It's what we've done with it, as humans, because it's always easier to find a list of rules to subscribe to and judge others by, than to accept grace and then apply that lack of rules to others.

When was the last time you heard a Christian tell you about being a perfect human? Not about fire and brimstone, or the issues which are destroying our society, or about how Jesus was so good, which is why we must baptize the world in fire in his name to cleanse it for his holy feet, etc...But being decent, responsible, loving, compassionate people who just want to be living examples of what Christ had in mind here on earth?

Whose actions speak far louder than their many, many words?

Following Christ is not the suit you wear, or the size of your church, or the high tech of your sound system. It's not how many services you attend, or how many officially sponsored service opportunities you're a part of, or how many small groups you participate in. It's not how many sinners you condemn, how many unwashed heathens you save, or how many natives you convince to change over to the missionary position.

All of those things are just more ways to get tied up in things that have everything to do with what we as humans can do for ourselves, and often nothing to do with God.

If Christ is the center of your life, and your life is all about following his way, and being that to those around you, then what you do is fine, because you're following him into it.

And everything else is just the garbage you're cluttering the world up with so that they can't see God...just the bastards his church has become.

I have a question regarding the amount of decency and compassion that was intended for our lives. After having read God's Debris by Scott Adams, a book I don't totally agree with, I am wondering how decent we actually are. In this book, the character that appears to know the origins of the universe brings up the point that if we were all true believers in the Christian view of God, why do we not spend every moment of our brief lives in support of the true principles. There are people that are starving and dying in all of human existence. Many of them are across seas, but a lot also are right here in our own backyards. There can be no doubt that would could sacrifice a greater amount to help these people, yet we don't because we spend money on vacation homes, golf memberships, and other unnecessary luxuries.

I don't claim to be above anyone else, because I know that I would be very hard pressed to give up all the extra comforts I have in life. How compassionate, though, can we all be if we continue living our lives without actively searching for remedies to all the pain of other individuals? I don't think true compassion qualifies as only helping when the rare opportunity falls into your lap.

Now a possible argument to my statements could be, "God doesn't expect us to live as monks or nuns. He wants us to do the best with the opportunities we have." Now I think that would be a fine way of looking at things, but how can we honestly tell ourselves that our leisure activities are more important than eradicating starvation if we were 100% true believers of this view of God?

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