My Ongoing Arguments with Christianity and Myself

Post-Christian Identity

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Just ran across the “Post-Christian” entry on Wikipedia. The article uses “post-Christian” to mean the decline of Christianity in Europe. I think “post-Christendom” would be a better term for that, but I suppose that if you’re a post-Christian European, the need for two separate terms would be lost to you. It would be like an American calling himself post-British.

Here, though, I’ll be using “post-Christian” to refer to an individual’s identity. I’m not ready to settle on a definition, but I imagine this identity taking three possible shapes. The first kind of post-Christian looks like a a person who is no longer Christian but isn’t anything else yet. I suppose that when this sort of post-Christian moved on to some other religious tradition, or lack thereof, they’d no longer be a post-Christian.

The second kind of post-Christian might have a new religious identity as well as a post-Christian identity. They might now be Buddhist, but because they started out as a Christian, they’re a post-Christian Buddhist. It’s a matter of tracking where someone started and where they end up.

A third kind of person is post-Christian because, while they no longer consider themselves to be Christian, they still use Christianity’s symbols, stories, and spiritual vocabulary as a key frame of reference. They might disagree with Christianity about what sin and salvation mean, for example, but they still think talking about sin and salvation is important, even key. (Whereas the post-Christian Buddhist will have moved on to a completely different, and Buddhist, frame of reference.)

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