Even though I have given up Christianity, I still believe in some of the teachings of Jesus and have told my believer friends that I’m a better Christian than them at times. Do any of you still keep part of the old faith with you?
Helping the less fortunate. Nothing wrong with that. There are some good values that are taught in all religions. Sometimes the only way to get people to follow a good idea and to do the right thing is to tell them that god says so. Treating people the way you want to be treated can be found in a lot of different teachings including religion.
Not on purpose, but, as a function of my upbringing, some of my ethical principles are formulated in biblical language. There are only a couple like this. The one that comes to mind most regularly is "Judge not, lest ye be judged." (Matthew 7:1 - no, I didn't remember that, I just looked it up). Of course, this is the command that seems to be most often conspicuously ignored by American Christians, but I learned it well as a Christian and carried it with me out of the faith - not because I was afraid of being judged (certainly not as an atheist and not much as a Christian), but because it is obviously ethically right. It is simply not appropriate to pass judgment on others (whether there's an invisible man in the clouds or not). The other one that sometimes crops up in my mind in that language would be: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31). I can't think of any others that are left over like that, but there's probably a couple more.
absolutely. My Granny was devout, and I went to mass with her, long before any scandals. She was a long time Democrat and always helped at the Polls and would never judge anyone for any of the things evangelicals do even though it was against Doctrine. I have one uncle who is gay, and several cousins who had kids pre-marriage/no marriage.
I have an idea, and no way to prove it, which very well may be wrong. But here goes.
Jesus of Nazareth experienced a sudden spiritual awakening at about the age of 30. He went out and tried to convey the contents of that awakening to others. He was greatly mis-understood. He was executed about one year later. His teachings were much more like the teachings of the Buddha (also a product of a sudden spiritual awakening) than the teachings of Christianity, or what was reported in the bible.
Like I said, I have no way to prove this and it may very well be dead wrong, but I can see hints of a great wisdom in what he supposedly said. But mostly just hints.
I'm not clear if you're talking here about belief or just behaviour. Assuming the former, in my mind you can't cherry pick. As long as you say you're a Christian, they have the right to impose their preconceptions of that label onto you, including believing in the God of the bible. So, make up your mind...
By only choosing some concepts and not others, you are essentially placing yourself in the position of judge and jury of the bible, its authors, and its God, because by default, you're saying you know better. It's a concept a lot of people don't realize they are doing. Swallow it all and take it all for face value, or don't.
BUT - if you're just referring to behaviour and personal conduct, being loving and empathetic doesn't need a label for aforementioned reasons.
I don't know how you could have given up on Christianity if you still believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I'm curious as to how your believer friends react to your telling them you're a "better Christian" than they are.
Myself I've never had any faith to begin with.
I would rather word it that I know that I am a better person than many of them; I don't need to think of it in terms of Christianity or the teachings of Jesus. Sure, there were some good ones that are attributed to this person (who may not have actually existed); but, this character also believed in a Hell and had some other not so good teachings. The Bible is a good source to learn about the evolution of ideas about a god and human behavior; but there are good teachings in a lot of writings that don't have that other, not so good, baggage. You are good without God/Jesus so there is no need to invoke them or to feel that the writings about them set the standard for morality.
Do yourself a favor and try to cut the parallels between the figure of Jesus and good philosophy. There is a lot of good philosophy in the bible. I was raised christian and I still find myself having great difficulty acting the way I think since I got so used to acting to fit in while thinking differently.
By your use of the phrase 'good christian', you likely are better than they are, however you are associating 'good christian' with being a rational and good natured person. If you read that book, you understand that it is a hodgepodge of insanity, record and story, translated from dead languages and lacking all of its original colloquialism, and gives no real description of christian values, those are given by the church, by the family, who focus on certain parts of that book.
I believe in the "golden rule", which is expressed in many forms but with the same meaning and intent in virtually every religion. Howevr, strangely I did nto learn the golden rule in a religious context, but in grade school.
I do think there are a lot of truths in the doctrines of most religions, but the dogmas tend to prevent people from actually living th etachings of their religion no matter which religion it is. There is also a lot of myths and nonsense in the doctrines of virtually every religion as well, so I think tryign to extract truths out of religious texts can be difficult for most people.