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Assume that I am a layman without knowledge other than science-related ones. How should I do to be a Christian in a correct way?

In more strict words, what are the "correct" steps or algorithm to be a Christian? In more honest words, is assuming God(s) exist(s) the first step? You can also think of how do you persuade me to fear God, etc, etc.

I hope this question will be reopen to let others help me go to the heaven!

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Damien - OK, now I understand better, thanks. I think it is related to other questions but, indeed, not a duplicate. You might also find this proof of God question relevant. –  Wikis Mar 15 '12 at 12:13
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"algorithm to be a christian?" - we got too many programmers on this site, haha –  Greg McNulty Mar 15 '12 at 15:06
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The problem is that though we are already joint heirs with Christ, too many want to implement multiple inheritance with the world. –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 15:20
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Which quickly becomes an unmaintainable mess. Good thing we have an interface to God in Christ. –  Eric Mar 15 '12 at 15:28
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I don't see how this could remotely fit into our guidelines for A. who is a christian, or B what is a constructive question. –  wax eagle Mar 17 '12 at 3:48
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closed as not constructive by Wikis, warren, wax eagle Mar 17 '12 at 3:48

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4 Answers

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Seems to me that the essential element of being a "Christian" is to believe in Christ, that is, to believe that:

  1. You have broken God's laws. (Which implies that you believe that there is a God.)

  2. There is a penalty to be paid for breaking these laws.

  3. Christ has offerred to pay the penalty for you.

  4. Accepting Christ's offer.

What leads you to such belief seems to me to not matter to the end result. That is, whether you believe because of careful study of historical, technical, or whatever evidence; because someone you trust told you so; on the basis of subjective feelings; etc. Just like, if someone offers you a tip on a stock that they say will make a bunch of money, to make that big profit you have to buy the stock, which implies that you believe it will make money or are willing to give it a try. Whether you come to that faith because of careful study of the company's financial reports, because you trust the recommendation of a financial advisor, or because you called the psychic hotline and they told you that W is your lucky letter for today and this company's name starts with a W, or whatever, if you buy the stock, you'll make the profit, and if you don't buy the stock, you won't.

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I recommend a reading of the Gospels, with a particular emphasis on what Jesus asks of his followers. And I say'followers' not 'believers', for reasons which will become clear. –  DJClayworth Mar 20 '12 at 21:23
    
I'm happy to discuss it if you care to spell out what you're driving at. –  Jay Mar 21 '12 at 6:11
    
Any discussion is going to be far too complex for this site. What I suggest is to read the Gospels, take particular note of what Jesus said to those who wanted to follow him, and see if it agrees with the description you just wrote. –  DJClayworth Mar 21 '12 at 13:47
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Well, hmm, if you believe my answer to be inaccurate, why can't you simply tell me in what way it is inaccurate, rather than this vague "you need to read the Gospels"? Maybe if you made a clear statement of your objection I would concede that I have made a mistake. But "I think you're wrong but I refuse to say how or why" doesn't lead to a productive conversation. –  Jay Mar 24 '12 at 18:41
    
Thanks for this algorithm. –  I am who I say I am Sep 9 '12 at 6:42
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Yes, belief in God's existence is the first step. As Hebrews 11:6 says,

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him

Beyond that, the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus already has taken the first steps toward you becoming a Christian.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him ... We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16-20

While the exact process of "conversion" is a matter of some debate, the sign that it has occurred is not - you are to grow in Christ, bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. As Paul says,

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there Galatians 5:24

Just remember, we obey out of love, not out of a need for love. As Jesus said,

If you love me, you will obey what I command John 14:15

This is the way of the Gospel- that God loves us, and we in turn respond in obedience out of love,

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


Or, if you prefer it all one text, consider Titus 3:3-8

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

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No it's not. The Hebrews passage says that faith is necessary to get to the end of your journey. That doesn't mean it has to come first. (And faith is not just "belief in God" anyway). –  DJClayworth Mar 15 '12 at 23:04
    
1. The OP asked if you must believe in Gods existence in order to be a Christian. Not confusing faith with a belief in God, but a existence is a pre-requisite to drawing near to God, which would be a very basic definition of a Christian. –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 23:24
    
2. The verb tense of draw near would be a worthwhile investigation. You are seeing it as the last step of a journey, I'm seeing it as a first. Some exegesis is probably warranted to settle the interpretation, but I think we both agree it is ultimately a requirement at some point in the process. Personally, I'd find it difficult to see someone beginning on a journey, if they ultimately didn't believe the was destination. –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 23:26
    
Sounds like ultimately, we're arguing first or second order violation - and I'll be candid, that was always a distinction without a difference to me :). Not meaning to denegirate, Im just not that concerned with the distinction in re: OPs question. –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 23:28
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I'm quoting the question here: " is assuming God(s) exist(s) the first step?" –  DJClayworth Mar 16 '12 at 0:51
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Every person's journey to God is different. God understands that, and is capable of revealing himself, drawing you to him, in a way that is specific and meaningful for you. He actively wants to do this, and your job is to cooperate if you wish.

You describe yourself as "a person without knowledge other than scientific knowledge". Can I suggest that you start by acquiring some other kinds of knowledge. Read some books about Christianity, especially those looking to explain Christianity to non-Christians. These books are called 'apologetics', and any church or Christian bookshop will have plenty.

Obviously being a Christian involves belief in God. You will need to come to a belief in God at some point in your journey. But don't start by 'assuming' his existence: examine the evidence and decide for yourself. Believing in his existence is also not necessarily the first step. I know people who started their walk with God by living a Christian life to the best of their ability, without necessarily believing in its truth. As the practice seemed to 'work' for them, that increased in them the belief that there must be a reality underlying the teachings.

The other important point is to seek out Christians and talk to them. That will give you a much better idea of what Christianity is like in reality, and whether it is real for those people.

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"people who started their walk...without necessarily believing in its truth" - very interesting, I bet there are a lot more than we know... –  Greg McNulty Mar 15 '12 at 20:00
    
My concern in starting with "living the Christian life" is that for some people it could turn into a Pharisitical works-based religion. Not saying it has be that way, but in my experience, that is a common side effect. The other fear is that people think they need to get cleaned up before you let Jesus washes you. –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 0:57
    
That's a reasonable concern. It's not a path I would recommend, to be honest. –  DJClayworth Mar 16 '12 at 0:59
    
In the end, though I suspect both of us would ultimately say both belief and works are important in a mature Christian. –  Affable Geek Mar 16 '12 at 1:00
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Here is a to-be-saved step-by-step process for ya:

  1. Belief in God (Or rather the acceptance of the possibility that God is real) - Though this doesn't save you. The devil knows God exists.

  2. See God for what he is - Holy, pure, perfect. - For this, you can get to know God and his attributes through reading the bible (try starting with a gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and/or attending a biblical based church.

  3. See your sins for what they are - Evil (use the 10 commandments)

    a. Have you ever lied?

    b. Have you ever said God's name in vain? (blasphemy)

    c. Have you ever stolen from someone, even something minor?

    d. Have you lusted for earthly things? (Idolatry)

    e. Have you lusted for another human being out of sensual pleasure, or had sex outside marriage? (Adultery; see Matt. 5:28)

  4. If you answered yes to any of those in #3 (and that is a short list), then you need to see that you are dead in your sins, and you have separated yourself from God and the kingdom of heaven. God, being perfect, cannot have liars, thieves, fornicators, blasphemers, etc. in heaven. Otherwise he would not be the just God that he is.

  5. Know that God loves you and wants to spend an eternity with you. He has made a plan of salvation so that those who want to turn away from themselves and turn to God can do so. God literally became flesh, in the name of Jesus Christ, and took the punishment of your sin on the cross, so that whoever would repent of their selfish ways and put their faith and trust in God can have eternal life.

One thing that helps me desire God's will over my own is that I don't know what is best for me; not even close. God, being perfect, knows exactly what is best for me and also wants me to have as much joy and pleasure as I can possibly have!

Psalm 16:11 (KJV) - Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

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bubble sort sounds easier.... –  Greg McNulty Mar 15 '12 at 20:01
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Frankly you would have to be a computer to execute this algorithm. –  DJClayworth Mar 15 '12 at 23:02
    
@DJClayworth Not sure what you mean by that? –  Shredder Mar 16 '12 at 1:33
    
I have been programming all day, and I heard algorithm in the question. my brain was in logic mode :) –  Shredder Mar 16 '12 at 1:38
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