Most of you who know me know that occasionally I randomly depart from the topic of conversation and say "I wonder where the phrase ______ came from." Or "I wonder what the etymology of _______ is." It's one of my more obvious quirks.
Today the word in question is Christian, because it means something different to basically everyone.
One site I found makes some interesting claims. Apparently, Christian is derived from the same word as cretin, and the word Christian was used before Jesus by Pagan religions. At any rate, if the site has any truth in it, the word Christian never really held any special meaning, which is kind of nice to know, because I hate to see good words go down the drain.
Whatever it entailed originally, "Christian" now means either everything or nothing. Some usages I've heard recently:
2. White, or in particular Anglo-Saxon.
3. Moral, nice person (whatever "moral" now means...)
4. Narrow-minded fundamentalist bigot.
5. Someone who holds some sort of belief about Jesus.
6. Someone who believes Jesus saves, but other things do, too.
7. Someone who believe God is all love and no justice.
8. Someone who believes God is all justice and no love.
10. Ku Klux Klan member.
11. And the list goes on...
Pretty much, as far as I can tell, "Christian" means anything you want it to except, most of the time, "Satanist" (which I'm sure also has several meanings, some of which might be reconcilable to one or more meanings of Christian). Some people might argue that atheists can't be labelled Christian, but with the whole "moral, nice person" thing going, I don't see why not.
Hmm. So much for being a Christian. What a useless term. It's no wonder why so many Jesus followers in other countries and even people of my own generation are distancing themselves from the word. I, myself, am hesitant to call myself a Christian.
I think it's time we came up with a new word. Any ideas?
You've doubtless heard this quote before:
"We're Christians by faith, not by genre." Tim Foreman