Christians disagree over everything

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Christianity comprises many denominations that feature a wide variety of interpretations and ideas. There is also significant disagreement within denominations. In short, Christians disagree over everything. This includes all of the basic points of dogma and theology. This disagreement is often masked by Christians using similar jargon and terminology. However, the meaning of the terms significantly varies between believers. Since there is no agreement in their beliefs, Christianity is not a single distinct religion but is more accurately described as a family of related religious beliefs.

Some Christians accept this argument is largely but not completely true:

"Christians disagree about almost everything. And when we disagree, we usually start a new church. [1]"
"Christians disagree over everything from baptism…to communion, to speaking in tongues, to worship, to The Shack. [2]"

The idea that Christians disagree over all points of dogma is not generally accepted in Christianity.

The belief that everyone has a different interpretation of religion automatically implies that Christianity is a family of beliefs. Such views are sometimes discussed within the context of postmodern Christianity and deconstruction.

Contents

Areas of disagreement

While all areas of Christianity are subject to disagreement, it is particularly notable in core areas of dogma and practice:

Counter arguments

Significance of Jesus

Most Christians claim that Jesus is of special significance and this is a unifying belief within Christianity.

"Since all Christians believe God has made everlasting life available through His Son, Jesus Christ, and since obtaining everlasting life is the most important thing anyone can do in this life, it makes sense to check out Christianity even if Christians disagree about some other points of Scripture. [3]"

However, the significance of Jesus is widely debated within Christianity. His divinity, role and effect of his actions, teachings and resurrection have different interpretations in the various denominations. If people consider salvation to be the primary significance of Jesus, very many Christians disagree as to what salvation entails or how one goes about receiving it. Jesus's role in the Trinity has been particularly controversial throughout history. While Christians accept many commonly repeated statements, such as "Jesus died for your sins", "Jesus was the son of God" or "Jesus loves you" it is invalid to claim general agreement on statement if people disagree as to the meaning of the statement.

"One example of disagreements and debates where apparently sincere and biblical Christians have different views is our understanding of how Jesus’ death deals with the problem of sin. Is the Cross primarily the place where a righteous Judge is satisfied by blood sacrifice? Or is it the place where God defeated Satan? Or is it the place where we die in Christ to rise in newness of life, incorporated into Christ? [4]"

Simply claiming "a man called Jesus is significant" is not itself a religious statement.

Statements that claim all Christians believe in a certain point of dogma are often either a hasty generalization or ignore that people interpret religious terminology differently.

Jesus was resurrected

Arguably the unifying belief in Christianity is that Jesus was resurrected. The literal bodily resurrection is widely held as official Christian dogma in the modern church. However, not all Christians - arguably including Paul the Apostle - accept the resurrection was of the body. Many believe that Jesus was instead resurrected spiritually. [5]

"According to Paul, the resurrection transformed Jesus into the Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world. Christ's resurrected body was not a resuscitated physical body, but a new body of a spiritual/celestial nature: the animal body comes first and then the spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:46 Bible-icon.png). Paul never says that the earthly body becomes immortal. [6]"

Christians cannot agree if the resurrection was bodily or spiritual (or the significance in either case).

Monotheism

Christians generally consider themselves to be monotheists. However, there are significant polytheistic beliefs in most Christian denominations.

All Christians believe in the divine

This arguably is true, however it also implies that Christianity is best described as a family of religions.

Deconstruction is invalid

Deconstructionism interprets the Bible on the basis that there is no single objective meaning. Many Christians reject this method of interpretation. [7] However, that does not stop those believers from professing to be Christians and still having a different interpretation. One cannot ignore those believers as not being "true Christians" without committing the no true Scotsman fallacy.

Agreement about "mere" Christianity

"We are far from perfect as individuals, nevertheless a clear definition exists of what a Christian is [...][8]"

C.S. Lewis claimed that he had distilled a common set of beliefs of Christians in his book Mere Christianity and these did not amount to a "vague or bloodless" world view. However, many denominations would disagree with even this version of Christianity.

All Christians accept the Bible

"[...] the same argument can be made about various manifestations of Christendom, true Christians at least have the bible as a last authority.[8]"

Not all Christian denomination accept the Bible as the final authority. The Catholic and Orthodox Church relies as much on sacred tradition (in contrast to sola scriptura). Referring to "true" Christians commits the no true Scotsman fallacy. Also, there are a myriad of Bibles; which one is the true authority? Not all Christians consider all sections of the Bible to have equal weight. There are also a multitude of interpretations, so the Bible is not a single, unifying authority.

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. [7]
  8. 8.0 8.1 [8]

See also

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