I don't like that question and generally I don't answer it. (I don't self-identify as one, but that means little).
Give me your clear-cut definition of what a Christian is and I'll give you a clear-cut answer.
You: Do you believe in Jesus?
Me: Far too general. What do you mean?
- Do I believe Jesus existed historically?
- Do I believe Jesus was a great wisdom teacher?
- Do I believe Jesus was the incarnation of God?
- Do I believe Jesus was the unique incarnation of God?
- Am I part of a congregation?
- Do I regularly attend church every Sunday?
- Do I regularly tithe?
You: All those questions.
- Yes, I believe the heretical rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth existed historically.
- Yes, I believe he was a great wisdom teacher.
- Mu. This question is irrelevant. (You don't have to agree with me.) (See Above and Beyond Christianity: Hidden Worship)
- See above, or theoretically, no. (See "Most High God" Part IV: Incarnate State)
- Absolutely not. (See Repairing the Torn Veil).
Now, having said that, I think these questions are a little lacking. In short, they're asking the wrong questions.
I think one of the most important questions is number 2: Do I believe Jesus was a great wisdom teacher?, because there are 2 important questions that follow it. Far too often I am never asked these questions.
- What do I think his core message was?
The heretical Rabbi, Yeshua of Nazareth, spoke of a strange and elusive concept he called The Kingdom of God. Something that was yet to come, yet strangely present in the Here and Now; within ourselves (Luke 17:21). An unrealized potential.
Yeshua was an exemplar; he was a Revealer rather than a Redeemer. It is religion, religiosity itself, that keep us ignorant, captive, and slaves to Fear, Envy, and Delusion.
What I believe Yeshua truly taught wasn't the advent of new religion (Christianity), but a heightened awareness - a sort of freedom and enlightenment, rather than a salvation. Yeshua's Kingdom of God wasn't a new religion, but the end of all religion. The escape hatch from this Edenic Birdcage; emancipation from the Entrapment of Religiosity itself.
(And, yes I am aware of Lewis' Trilemma. See Lord, Liar, or Lunatic, or even C.S. Lewis and the Jesus Trilemma, by Austin Cline - although I am not interested in the argument of whether Jesus was or wasn't God).
2. Do I try to follow the wisdom of this great teacher?
Well, that's really the question we're here to explore and put into reality, isn't it?
This is the position I hold and where I am on this topic. It matters little to me whether this makes me a "Christian" or not.
- continued on Misconceptions -