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(RNS) Vague Jews and "mushy Christians" have a lot in common. Survey after survey finds many people who don't know or care about doctrine or practice still proudly claim a religious brand identity.

12 Comments

  1. What I find funny is the reaschers viewed the nones relationship to doctorine, not their faith or expression of their faith. Doctorine is a fence to define us from them. Maybe the nones are seeing that only creates strife and mistrust. Maybe the none care more about people than doctrine.

  2. Hope for the future herein!

    When humanity accepts the fundamental tenet that most religions and religious traditions have been constructed for the same purposes all around the globe and that, perhaps, none have it right we’ll begin to get along better.

    Hope and prayer…..that we evolve out societal beliefs without the “mine is better than yours” tragic sort of faith.

    DJ

  3. Eh, I’m not too thrilled with the way this was covered. Yes, it’s certainly true that Mainline Protestants are becoming more theologically liberal, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t understand doctrine. It means we’re redefining our doctrine, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to do, and it’s a thing that tends to happen over time in any given religious tradition. So it’s not that we’re Christians in name only, it’s that we’re exploring new ways to be Christians in a postmodern, scientifically informed age.

    Note that the article cites a lot of research from Lifeway, which is an Evangelical group. Of course if you ask conservative evangelicals whether or not mainlines are real Christians, they’re going to say no, as in Thom Rainer calling us “mushy Christians”. That just doesn’t work as an umbrella statement. It applies to some folks and in some places, but it’s like this: we can no longer deny that Neo-Darwinian evolution is a real thing, nor with the discovery of carbon dating can we cling to the notion that the earth is only around 7,000 years old. Nor can we, when we acknowledge the cultural/historical dimension of religious experience simply condemn good people to hell, simply because they happened to be born into a time and/or place where Christianity was not the cultural norm, or perhaps even present at all. Especially in this pluralistic age, when people of other faiths are no longer some foreign “other” but are our next door neighbors, it becomes difficult to do that. In short, we’re Christians. We follow Jesus, we base our faith on the Bible (though not a literalistic reading of it), but we’re also educated and progressive. The refusal to cling to doctrines that can not be defended against scientific and cultural/historical research does not lessen our faith, or our identity.

  4. Count this 62 year old among the Nominals.Unlike those cited I have an orthodox Reformed view of Christianity. I study the Bible as always and incorporate some Reformed author into my daily experience. Jesus as Savior is foremost in my mind and heart daily.
    But I and my wife have grown tired of the leadership of most churches. The lifetime Elders who don’t have strong Reformed doctrinal underpinnings, those with poor managerial skills, the cliques that exclude and a laity that attends on Sunday but isn’t there mentally and that doesn’t show up on other days especially those that are work days.
    Especially distasteful are the extravaganzas rolled out for Christmas Eve designed to impress the once or twice a year nostalgia tourists. We’ve been to some while traveling that were nothing more than fund raising rituals.
    We don’t think this was what Jesus had in mind when He came to call His people together.

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