Am I a Christian?

I was raised as a Presbyterian. I was baptized and confirmed as a member of the Presbyterian Church USA. I have taken communion. I have not been back to church since my confirmation except for a few ceremonies and one service that a woman wanted me to attend with her. I do not believe there is a God nor I do think that Jesus is my lord and savior. However, I have not been excommunicated or asked to leave the church. The church that I was confirmed at still sends me mail from time to time . (I am not sure what it says because it goes to my parents house and I always tell them they can just throw it away.) Also, I have never taken any steps to leave the church in any official capacity.

So am I still a Christian since I am still technically a member of the Presbyterian Church USA?

According to this particular source, Christian (n) means:

  1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

I’d say you might fall under definition 2, if you follow the teachings of Christ.

I don’t think your membership in the Presbyterian Church makes a difference either way.


Three of many possible takes on your Q-

If you consider yourself a C’tian, you’re a C’tian. (This seems to be a position widely held here, although I see it as meaning that “C’tian” means anything one wants it to mean.)

No, C’nity is a definite set of beliefs and practices which you do not share.

Yes, you were made a Christian by covenant, but you have fallen away. The “Eternal security” version of this would say that God will eventually lead you back. The “Free will” version would say that God may well leave you to own ways & let you choose never to come back, though He will try to persuade you back unless He knows you to be unpersuadable.

My take- the second, but if you ever really had faith, also a dash of the "Free will’ version of the third.

Never knew there were so few Christians.

As you seem to judge people by the way they look, I’m going to say no. Being Christian isn’t some kind of rating or book definition. Fred Phelps claims to be a Christian. Do you think he is?

Anyone can call or be called Christian in Name only.

Yet what does that matter? I would wonder instead are you christian In the Spirit?

I am

Yes. You are a Christian if you say you are a Christian.

Meaning what ? Killing doctors that perform abortions ? Hating gays ? Feeding the poor ? Voting Republican ? Keeping women “in their place” ? Who gets to define who the “real Christians” are ?

That does it for me. I would say no. Just because your name is on a defunct membership list wouldn’t make me believe that you are still a member. Just because the church hasn’t (yet) tossed you, still wouldn’t make you a believer…

I am a duck-billed platypus and ruler of the Galaxy.

No, you aren’t. Unlike “Christian”, those two things have objective definitions.

I don’t think even Christians can agree on this. For example, in another thread there’s a question on whether LDS are Christian. Many non-LDS Christians do not feel they are, yet LDS definitely do. I’ve heard people in Ireland ask “is he Christian or Protestant?”

But on an even wider scale, the extent of Christianity in its generally acknowledged status as the most popular religion in the world, would fall down against some of the definitions proffered in this thread. There are plenty of non-Western areas where Christianity is practiced in equal measure as idol-based animism by the same worshippers (Yoruba, Obeah). There are plenty of places where people list themselves as Christian on census forms, or are claimed by their parish or diocese, but do not ever attend church, outside weddings and funerals (I’m thinking the UK here). There are still more places where people count themselves Christian but behave exactly as they like, or as dictated to them by their culture, in seemingly counter-Christ-like ways. Which ones of these are Christian?

All of them? Or just the ones you agree with?

I dunno. In general, how many teachings to you have to agree with to be a follower of anybody? 90 percent? At least 50 percent?

Well, religions may be exceptional in this respect. Not many political icons threaten you with eternal damnation if you don’t follow them all.

It’s a private matter, between you, and Christ.

My opinion is irrelevant.


Agreed. Presuming that one means something reasonably close to what a hearer might infer from the use of the name – otherwise it’s pure Humptydumptyism. (“A word means whatever I choose to mean by it.”) Someone who does not adhere to the Nicene Creed, but accepts Jesus and his teachings as a role model for living ethically would be a Christian in my book. Someone who does Workings for the Lord and Lady and believes that the Hebrew God was purely mythical and Jesus a figure of legend without historical referent would not, IMO, be entitled to call himself a Christian.

Welll, presuming we Christians are right, Jesus gets to do that defining. And if we’re wrong, it hardly matters who does it, does it?

However, I’d be inclined to look to His recorded teachings, to the extent we can count them as accurate reflections of what He intended His followers to do, to make those specifications.

You know, things like “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all that is in thee,” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Do unto others as thou woulds have them do unto thee,” “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of hte least of these, you have done it unto me.” These comprise a coherent behavior set that can be shown to be His expectations to the extent that anything can.

On the other hand, “Thou shalt smite the abortionist,” “Thou shalt despise thy gay brother or sister, and call him or her abomination,” “Thou shalt cast thy vote for the man with the elephant,” “Thou shalt not suffer a woman to stand as equal to a man” – these are nowhere found in Scripture, save in the conclusions of some from debatable or context-free passages.

Oh, and Friar Ted? – Be sure to leave no jot or tittle of the Law or the later commandments unfulfilled. I’m sure some of our learned Jewish members will be glad to give you guidance. This includes, “Be thou perfect, even as my Father in Heaven is perfect.” You see, you just sat in judgment over those you believe to be “picking and choosing” from Scripture. By Matthew 7:2, you can expect to be judged on whether you yourself are picking and choosing, a fate you could have avoided by not making that judgment. Have fun with kashruth!

Well, personally, I’d say that you’re a Christian if you believe in the literal divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In regards to the OP, no you’re not a Christian.

“I am a Christian” is an utterly meaningless phrase which allows the listener to infer nothing with any certainty about the person making that declaration.

Huh? I think you have me mixed up with another poster here.