Funk500 wrote:Now what got me thinking is.. I'd say my value system is pretty similar to that of Christianity.. but is that due to Christianity having such a huge influence on our society that it shaped our thinking beyond religion to such an extent that a person can follow the basic tenets and not be a Christian/Muslim or whatever?
One of the phrases used in a lot of social science literature these days is "post-Christian world." It's basically meant to describe a society where Christianity no longer plays a major role in the day to day lives of its people, and yet the culture is still strongly influenced by Christian morals and mores.
When all of Europe was Catholic, everyone was required to observe religious holy days, be it a feast or fast, celebration or period of mourning and reflection. That is no longer true, and yet secular nation-states and corporations still give time off for holy days (from where the word "holiday" comes from) like Easter and Christmas. Calvinists no longer rule over Protestant territories with armed militias, but some countries and regions don't sell liquor on Sundays. Our Christian roots are deep and not easily disturbed.
I was raised Methodist. My mother read the Bible to my sister and me, even after we were old enough to read it ourselves (though we did that too). Methodists don't take all parts of the Bible literally, and considerably more emphasis was placed on the New Testament than the Old. The Bible, and more generally the Christian religion, is not all about God slaying sinners and stoning adulterers.
I've lost the faith, but I do think I learned good moral values in church. And it wasn't just about sitting in a pew and listening to the preacher. Like many churches, we participated in Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization that builds houses for the poor, at no profit, all over the world. I grumbled like the other kids, but I can remember the feeling of satisfaction as the house we built slowly started to take shape. Meeting the family at the end was a deeply emotional experience.
Being a Christian is really about putting the teachings of Jesus into practice. Jesus told us to feed, clothe, and house the poor. He told us to show kindness to strangers, to forgive and love our enemies, to visit those in prison, to love and pray to God, to share our experiences with others and spread his teachings. Jesus asked us to do a great deal more than "common sense" tells us we should do.