Blogging is Essential to Being a Christian

That is a conclusion that someone could possible draw from a recent Pew Research Center poll on Christianity in the United States:

The survey shows a clear link between what people see as essential to their faith and their self-reported day-to-day behavior. Simply put, those who believe that behaving in a particular way or performing certain actions are key elements of their faith are much more likely to say they actually perform those actions on a regular basis.

For example, among Christians who say that working to help the poor is essential to what being Christian means to them, about six-in-ten say they donated time, money or goods to help the poor in the past week. By comparison, fewer Christians who do not see helping the poor as central to their religious identity say they worked to help the poor during the previous week (42%).

The same pattern is seen in the survey’s questions about interpersonal interactions, health and social consciousness. Relatively few Christians see living a healthy lifestyle, buying from companies that pay fair wages or protecting the environment as key elements of their faith. But those who do see these things as essential to what it means to be a Christian are more likely than others to say they live a healthy lifestyle (by exercising, for example), consider how a company treats its employees and the environment when making purchasing decisions, or attempt to recycle or reduce waste as much as possible.

Is this circularity (which rivals the motives of credibility) merely a problem of Protestant subjectivity? I don’t think so:

Three-quarters of Catholics say they look to their own conscience “a great deal” for guidance on difficult moral questions. Far fewer Catholics say they look a great deal to the Catholic Church’s teachings (21%), the Bible (15%) or the pope (11%) for guidance on difficult moral questions.

Perhaps most discouraging is how poorly Sabbath observance fares, a weekly activity that winds up ordering all the days so that ceasing from work is possible:

To help explore this question, the survey asked U.S. adults whether each of a series of 16 beliefs and behaviors is “essential,” “important but not essential,” or “not important” to what their religion means to them, personally.

Among Christians, believing in God tops the list, with fully 86% saying belief in God is “essential” to their Christian identity. In addition, roughly seven-in-ten Christians say being grateful for what they have (71%), forgiving those who have wronged them (69%) and always being honest (67%) are essential to being Christian. Far fewer say that attending religious services (35%), dressing modestly (26%), working to protect the environment (22%) or resting on the Sabbath (18%) are essential to what being Christian means to them, personally.

Hearing the Word of God read and preached in the public assembly of the saints? Forget about it.

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11 thoughts on “Blogging is Essential to Being a Christian

  1. To me, the most significant piece of data here is the 14% of “Christians” who don’t see belief in God as essential to their identity as Christians.

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  2. @Greg that jumped out to me too. I’d like to meet one of these “Christians” who don’t see believe in God essential to Christianity. I mean outside of mainline seminaries who would ever think such a thing? I take this more to be a sign of how seriously respondents took the poll. Assume at least a 14% error – and if some of those who weren’t taking the poll seriously said yes here, then perhaps it could mean as high as a 25% error. In other words, it tells us nothing.

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  3. And I thought I was being funny. Turns out I wasn’t:

    The man who plants [a sound, faithful church] must be willing to do work that doesn’t make for interesting tweets. He must be a man who cultivates his relationship with Jesus, his wife, and children each and every day. He has to be willing to spend hours glued to his chair with his head in the Bible so he can faithfully teach it to others. This man will dedicate significant time each week to purposeful conversation with other Christians, helping them to understand how to follow Jesus.

    The task of the Christian blogger is different but the same. He, too, needs to do a lot of living that will never turn into tweets or blog posts. She, too, must first cultivate relationships with her Savior and her family. He, too, must be constantly learning and growing through the Word. She, too, must put aside desires for other visions of success in favor of the simple joy of helping others understand how to follow Jesus. And what a joy that is! And what a blessing that blogs make it possible.

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  4. Blogging is Essential to Being a Christian

    First of all, maybe if blogging were made essential (about biblical matters) more people might become Christian and become ‘more’ Christian [iron sharpens iron] !

    Secondly, if it were made essential, we could more regularly, routinely praise God for His magnificent patience with us, because every post, routinely, regularly, always, would remind us of His incredible PATIENCE with us….
    such as in this case of this poll ..where we’re reminded that we love to self-justify, self-righteous-ize; self- pick-and-choice-ize, self direct ourselves to our all-about me-ness (47% of highly religious ‘help’ in their congregation); rely on consciences, but ones that are detached from/uninformed by God’s word; and we are sure that though we know the Lord hates lies, in our case, He just winks when we ‘fib’

    sheesh

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  5. … can’t help but wonder how broadly Chailles really means the “plod on” encouragement to be.

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  6. WenatcheeTheHatchet says: … can’t help but wonder how broadly Chailles really means the “plod on” encouragement to be.

    WTH, I believe his post answer that: “dedicated to purposeful conversation with other Christians”; to “serve the church and the cause of the church”; “desiring to glorify God”; “edifying and encouraging”; “helping them to understand how to follow Jesus”
    he doesn’t mention, but of course assumed – “never against the truth but only for the truth.” 2 Cor 13:8

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  7. I can agree with that, Ali, it’s just that it’s been interesting in the last week to read a diatribe against the mommy blog by someone who has described blogging as having become what companies refer to as “influencer marketing”. I guess I’d have to say I am ambivalent about blogging being “just” a kind of advertising.

    I blog, perhaps, slightly more than average and it’s let me write about music and animation and other things that I wish were discussed in more detail in academic/journalistic contexts that I haven’t seen. I can see blogging as a supplement to perceived shortfalls in journalism or scholarship and even as a kind of advertising by extension, it’s just that some pages seem to reflect the work of individuals working in this way (here, a few other blogs I don’t feel obliged to name) while the neo-Calvinist scene seems more … I dunno … like mommy blogs … that the sales pitch for the book table in cyberspace has taken over and that I feel kind of weird about.

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  8. WenatcheeTheHatchet says: even as a kind of advertising by extension

    impossible not to be so – there’s always some kind of ‘advertising’ ; also impossible- not having personal opinion about the way of another’s. Each one is responsible -to his own master he stands or falls and nothing is hidden from Him.
    (Not that we aren’t supposed to help each other in our family with ‘blind spots’.) so, btw, appreciate your part to expose certain things; and yet be careful, God loves every one of His children and He is only/alsways in the redemptive discipline business concerning each.

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