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Fri, Nov. 15

Letter: Definition of Christianity


Recent Courier letters highlighting a schism in Christianity prompt a discussion of what it means to be a Christian in the era of Trump.

Christians should be defined as those who practice the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the Gospels, which include love, compassion, tolerance, sharing, forgiveness and inclusion. These do not seem to be the principles currently guiding many evangelicals and the religious right. They have migrated out of the Gospels into the Old Testament, replacing a loving God with an angry God, forgiveness with punishment, compassion and tolerance with bigotry, sharing with plutocracy, and inclusion with exclusion.

Jesus didn’t accept the Old Testament as sacrosanct, repudiating multiple tenets. He never mentioned homosexuality and was very clear that everyone was welcome in his ministry.

The Gospels define Christianity. The rest of the Bible, at the direction of Constantine, was assembled not by God, but by debate and majority vote of 300 bishops 325 years after Jesus’ death at the Council of Nicaea. The Old Testament with its Jewish history and mythology, and the remainder of the New Testament contain many important lessons and doctrines, but should not be used as justification to circumvent the teachings of Jesus.

Leonardo da Vinci, a one-man renaissance helping lift humanity out of the Dark Ages of crusades and Inquisition, was gay. Can a Tennessee pastor and an Alabama mayor who call for genocide of LGBTQ people be called Christians? I think Jesus would say no.

Roger Fairfield Prescott

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