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Most of us are familiar with the bell curve. [ I believe it is named after our friend and willohroots blog poster The Eclectic Christian, but I am not serious about that.] The curve is a way of showing graphically that the largest number of a given group is in the middle but out on the ends there are extremes, but in lesser number. With my Psych background, I am most familiar with IQ plotted in this manner. Intelligence Quota, or as measured, how successful one is at taking an IQ test, can be shown in a population as most in the middle being an average, and some with genius on the right side, and a roughly corresponding number of the less intelligent on the left.
Let us say a bell shaped curve was drawn not to show intelligence in the population, but to show Christian beliefs. Say we got some data from the Barna group. Barna is the Christian Gallop. Here is an example of a recent poll.
I am not about to address the findings of that survey, that is a different post, today I am asking, because I wish I knew, How far out from center can you get and still be a Christian?
Are the 7% of born again Christians who believe in a God who is not all powerful, all knowing , are they really Christian? Are the 38% who believed Jesus was a sinner really ‘saved’? The 53 % who work to earn salvation?
Let us look at this behaviorally. How far out can you get not only in your beliefs but in your practices. This one is chewing me up today. Are the men crawling around on all fours barking, claiming the Holy Spirit is involved in this asinine behavior Christians? Are the people who pantomime drinking and then fall around as drunk Christians? Are people who ‘Toke on the Ghost and then act stoned Christians? I really don’t know, but it sure makes me wonder. A perfectly nice fellow here in town, invited me to his church, where , he explained, you can plunge your head into a basin of holy water and come up speaking in the tongues of angels. I missed that in my bible, and have no desire to do such a thing. Where do each of us fall on the graph?
Lets look at people who hold up signs that say “God hates America” are they too far out on one side or the other to be called Christian? What about women preachers who marry Gay ,Lesbian, Transsexual, Trans gender Couples? Are they on opposite sides of the bell? How far out are they?
What would be measured? Adherence to doctrine? Toleration for others? number of baptisms? Love?
They way the bell curve is viewed by many in the Christian blogosphere, is the X marks the spot. X of course, is where they are at. They define themselves as the pivot of the Faith. To the left, not saved, to the right, in danger of Hellfire. It is obvious to them that they are right, Saved, justified, logical, and to be emulated. Maybe they are right. They can’t all be right as they are certain that the other guys are all wrong, so who is in the center of the curve? Does being in the center of the curve make you correct, or just popular?
I have no metrics to plot my faith, no measuring stick other than Scripture, which is the same gauge that the others, some of whom I consider real wackos, say they use. I am no longer sure the group called Christian would plot out in a bell shape. There are times I feel far out numbered by the kooks, hard-hearts, blasphemers, apostates and swindlers. If I am the x on the graph, these guys are so far out in left and right extremes that I can’t see them.
I do not think X marks the spot, I think the spot is marked with a cross.
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