Yeah, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how that works if the central definition of being a Christian is believing in Christ. Of course you can start all manner of arguments among the believers by trying to nail down a definition of what a Christian is. It can be endlessly amusing if you’re bored.
Rice apparently made the announcement on her Facebook page:
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
As I said [above], I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
[…] My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
I stumbled across this over at Alan Colmes’ Liberaland and, while I’m not an Anne Rice fan by any stretch of the imagination, thought it was interesting in terms of another thread we have going here on SEB titled: A Christian asks; “I’m the bad guy? How did that happen?” Clearly she feels that associating with Christianity makes her look bad and so she’s decided to quit the religion itself while keeping the faith in the mythical deity at its heart. I tried to do a couple of Google searches to see if there’s a growing trend of people who believe in Christ but don’t consider themselves to be Christian, but I wasn’t able to find anything with the search terms I tried.
According to her Wikipedia entry Rice was raised as a Roman Catholic and she left the church when she was 18 only to return to the fold after the death of her husband, who was apparently a passionate atheist. However she disagreed with the Church on a number of issues including gay marriage, abortion, birth control, and priestly celibacy and allowing women to become priests. One might assume that the cognitive dissonance involved in being Roman Catholic while at the same time holding these beliefs that run counter to Church teachings may have played a rolled in her decision to declare herself an un-Christian.
I am particularly intrigued by her statement that she refuses “to be anti-secular humanism” as secular humanism is, by definition, nonreligious espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience. How you can be a secular humanist believer in Christ is beyond me, but apparently she considers herself to be just that.
I tried doing a Google search to see if there’s a trend of people believing in Christ but refusing to call themselves Christian, but I was unable to come up with anything based on the search terms I tried. Based on the number of commenters on Rice’s FB page who expressed similar feelings, however, I’d suspect that it is indeed a growing trend. One person even said: “I think we should start a non-Christians for Christ group.”
It’ll be interesting to see where she goes next with this. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she once again ends up as an atheist. Some people cycle back and forth throughout their lives as they struggle to figure out what they believe.