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Consider a person who adheres to the scientific philosophy that the laws of nature are the same in all places and all times, and can be determined through experimentation rather than, for example, by divine revelation.

Can this person who adheres to such a philosophy ever become a Christian? As in a follower of the teachings of Jesus of Nazereth? e.g. be good to your neighbours, turn the other cheek, don't murder, etc.

If not what can you call a person who follows Christian philosophy and morals (as oppose to say Islamic philosophy) but does not believe in the possibility of the supernatural. The teachings may be so ingrained in them that they see these morals as self evident. Even though they don't base their behaviour on a desire to live on in an afterlife.

(As an example, in the Jewish tradition there is no heaven as such, and yet Jews have a strict moral code.)

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    Wouldn't God at least be above nature (super natural)? – Sola Gratia Nov 10 '19 at 22:11
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    Jesus, who links His authority solely in God who sent Him? Or a different one? – Sola Gratia Nov 10 '19 at 22:14
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it demonstrates a lack of research. God himself is above nature and thus supernatural. – Ken Graham Nov 10 '19 at 22:29
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    For the scholarly purposes of this site, a Christian is anyone who self-identifies as a Christian. People who call themselves Christians have many different definitions for what it means to be Christian, so you will need to specify who's (as in, which denomination's) definition you would like to learn about. – 4castle Nov 10 '19 at 22:32
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    There are a small number of people who claim to follow Christian principles without actually believing in anything supernatural, including the existence of God. (There are more who engage in Christian practice for cultural reasons without believing in Christian doctrine, including the existence of God). Discussion of whether these people can really call themselves 'Christian' is forbidden on this site, which is why your question is closed. – DJClayworth Nov 11 '19 at 16:07
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Yes! It is written, “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.” (Revelation 14:6, NIV)

That people includes many scientists who believe as you describe. Now Jesus described what becoming a Christian means:

After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15, HCSB)

Repenting means to change your mind, to agree with God about certain things that you did not believe before, both to agree that your behavior and morals are imperfect and need to change, as well as form new ideas about God.

Jesus promised his disciples that after he rose from the dead, he would send the Holy Spirit. This happened in the Book of Acts. A prominent emphasis in Acts is the baptism by the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus told Nicodemus, to become a Christian, you must be born from above, aka born again. That is what the church taught and teaches still.

Jesus said that every blasphemy will be forgiven - even blasphemy against his name - but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. (See Matthew 12:31-32.)

Therefore, the proof of necessary repentance is God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is supernatural. Thus the scientist who does not believe in the supernatural can become a Christian, but in the process, they will as a consequence of God’s activity in their life repent of their unbelief and acknowledge what God has done.

In other words, dry things can become wet if you pour water on them. Unspiritual people can become Spiritual if the Spirit is poured on them.

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, HCSB)

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  • Interesting. So you're saying that to become a Christian, you in effect have to come to a belief in the supernatural. – zooby Nov 11 '19 at 4:58
  • There is a difference between disbelief in the supra natural and being metaphysically skeptical. There are psychological and phenomenological approaches to religion that minimize metaphysical commitments. See James, varieties of religious experience for psychology. See process theology for a metaphysical skeptical take on religion. Are these approaches consistent with orthodox Christianity? Probably not. But why worry about how some person/group is going to label you? – Rob Nov 11 '19 at 13:43
  • @zooby - No, what I am saying is that having become a Christian, you will come to a belief in the supernatural (if you did not already have such a belief). The cause and effect are the reverse of what you say. Once you invite God in, he truly enters into you and performs a radical transformation of your thought processes, desires, goals, etc. This is called conversion, and it is more than superficial (if it is genuine). – Paul Chernoch Nov 11 '19 at 14:15

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