0

I just finished reading the book "Living a Jewish Life," which explains the lifestyle practices that Jewish people generally follow, regardless of their faith or beliefs. It discusses the holidays and the milestones in ones life without any reference to liturgy.

For example, it explains that, in the lead-up to Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), people send cards, resolve conflicts, and reflect on the past year. Then, during the holiday, people eat apples and honey to symbolize the hope for a sweet new year.

I have searched for a similar look at Christianity, without reference to liturgy, but haven't found anything.

Is it possible to describe Christian lifestyle, values, and practices without emphasis on faith? If not, why not?

closed as too broad by curiousdannii, Lee Woofenden, brasshat, Nathaniel Oct 9 '17 at 11:21

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Your question may be a tough one to answer here, since there are so many different Christians, who believe many different things about what sort of lifestyle Christians are supposed to live. That's probably also why it's not easy to find this sort of material about Christianity. – Lee Woofenden Oct 8 '17 at 15:44
1

Globally, no. There's simply far too many Christians across too many cultures to say there's a single Christian lifestyle outside of the major faith based doctrines and holidays.

On smaller scales, yes, there's interesting commonalities in lifestyle decisions. In parts of the USA, for example, a large swath of Christians also share many interests that a large portion of the rest of the population does not. Things like politics, sports, entertainment, pastimes, and secular music conflate heavily as "Christian" things. It should be noted, however, that it is unlikely that the religion affects the culture, or at least, it affects the culture less than the culture affects the religion. In other words, most of these secular values would likely exist without the religion present.

In other parts of the world, a similar phenomenon exists. A good example is the syncretism in Mexican/Latin Catholicism. I've never researched it, but I suspect the phenomenon can be found in Islam as well, and perhaps in Hinduism and Buddhism. The typical sociological understanding is that religion is a part of culture, and reflects that culture. If religion is present, it cannot be divorced from the culture where it resides.

I attribute this difference between Judaism and Christianity to two things: numbers and xenophobia. There are 1.5 billion Christians and only 20 million Jews. You simply can't compare them. Judaism is also marked unique because of its intense and inherent resistance to syncretism, which some describe as xenophobic. Conversely, Christianity has many instances of syncretism throughout the ages. The interesting question is if Judaism could maintain its strict cultural mores if it also had a billion adherents.

  • I normally provide sources and support for my answers, but it's difficult on mobile and I think my points are well enough understood to quickly find any through Google. If anyone requests, give me time, and I'll add some in a day or two. – fredsbend Oct 8 '17 at 16:01
  • 1
    Judaism is plenty syncretistic in some ways, such as adopting the enlightenment's atheism while maintaining Jewish culture. That doesn't seem to happen as much in Christendom - there are very few "Christian atheists". – curiousdannii Oct 8 '17 at 22:34
  • @curiousdannii Certainly, they have their factions that do different things, but relatively, they are hardly syncretistic. Historically, that's been the cause of most of their problems. They mostly refuse to assimilate into the cultures that surround them, which seems to bother a lot of people. – fredsbend Oct 9 '17 at 0:10
2

Given that there are over 2 billion Christians and only 14 million Jews, there is considerably more diversity in Christian lifestyle and practice compared to Jewish lifestyle. That said, the Wikipedia article on Christianity summarizes the commonalities that most Christians practice in their life, which identify them as Christian.

  • Belief in the statements of faith described in one or more creeds. The Apostle's Creed is the most commonly accepted, which includes statements about:
    • The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)
    • Jesus Christ, who died and was resurrected
    • Life after death
  • Reverence for the Bible as the inspired word of God
  • Participation in communal worship, most commonly every week on Sundays (the day of the week that Jesus was resurrected)
  • Participation in sacraments, the two most commonly recognized being baptism and holy communion
  • Celebration of holidays in relation to faith, such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost (some have these as part of a liturgical calendar)
  • Reverence for symbols, such as the cross (Christian aniconism is rare)
  • Prayer, with the Lord's Prayer being archetypical since Jesus gave it as an example of how to pray

There are certain exceptions to these traits (e.g. New England Puritans considered themselves Christian, but did not celebrate Christmas). However, I would say that the vast majority of active Christians would follow these aspects in their lifestyle, thus it can broadly be considered a "Christian" lifestyle.

  • 1
    This is a good answer, but I think you missed the point of the question. The question asks: "Is it possible to describe Christian lifestyle, values, and practices without emphasis on faith?" The question lists examples of things many Jews, if not most, do that has little to do with the faith, like resolve conflicts and eat apples. – fredsbend Oct 9 '17 at 0:18
0

Is it possible to describe Christian lifestyle, values, and practices without emphasis on faith? If not, why not?

No, because our Lord Jesus Christ said (John 15, 5-6):

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

and saint Paul the Apostle explained (Romans 4, 1-8; 5, 1-2)

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? «Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.» Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: «Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.»

... Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

  • 3
    I think you've missed the point of the question. – fredsbend Oct 8 '17 at 18:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.