I suppose this is a very broad subject with varying opinions. According to Britannica, Confucianism is associated with the following terms & definitions:

( Reference: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Confucianism ) ".... the way of life propagated by Confucius...."

"....substance of learning, the source of values, and the social code...."

".... a worldview, a social ethic, a political ideology, a scholarly tradition, and a way of life."

"..... a philosophy and sometimes as a religion, Confucianism may be understood as an all-encompassing way of thinking....."

Also, according to Britannica, Daoism is associated with the following terms & definitions:

( Reference:  https://www.britannica.com/topic/Daoism ) "Daoism, also spelled Taoism, indigenous religio-philosophical tradition...."

Also, according to Britannica, Buddhism is associated with the following terms & definitions:

( Reference: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism ) "Buddhism, religion and philosophy that developed from the teachings...."

Therefore, I was trying to determine if it would be correct to associate Christianity with some of the aforementioned terms & definitions.

We can definitely associate the term "religion" with Christianity because there are even bible scripture verses that give evidence that Christianity is a religion:

( James 1:26-27 )

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world

Would it correct to say that we could associate Christianity with terms like "way of life", "lifestyle", "philosophy" etc.?  Please feel free to elaborate.


4 Answers 4


No. I think this is one of the great errors promoted by public education, that all the "religions" are the same sort of things and basically interchangeable: they all have a founder, a holy book, a set of funny rules, etc. I guess it makes a nice table in a "social studies" textbook, or a good Powerpoint slide. But it absolutely doesn't capture the sense of what these religions are. If we just consider a few of the major world religions:

  • Hinduism is a polytheistic buffet of traditional religious practices;
  • Buddhism is a sort of discipline (meditation, etc) informed by a spiritual philosophy;
  • Judaism is Israel, a nation and a people with a unique religious tradition;
  • Islam is a political-religious movement that seeks domination of the present world;
  • Christianity is the "church militant", the "body of Christ", sort of an army or a brotherhood that serves the Lord on earth in the mission He gave us.

Yes, I get that these are simplifications, and there are all kinds of exceptions. But by and large, we are talking about different sorts of things. Consider how you would convert to some of these religions. With, say, Buddhism, it's as simple as buying the book(s) and beginning to follow the practices. If you practice Buddhism, you're a Buddhist, right? Converting to Judaism would be entirely different. It'd be sort of like applying for citizenship to a foreign nation. Conversion to Christianity is different from either. It requires a specific act -- baptism -- in which you pledge fidelity to Jesus and are adopted into the family of God.

I think to go any further with this question you'd have to address one specific flavor of Christianity or another, because there are differences in ecclesiology (the study of the nature of the Church) among Protestants and Catholics and others. But I think we almost all agree that there is such a thing as the Church and you become Christian when you join it.

  • 1
    It's my understanding that there are significant groups of Hindus who'd disagree with it being polytheistic, since they believe that the world and everything in it (including the many other gods they worship) are aspects of Brahma.
    – nick012000
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 10:20
  • Great answer: looking at each religion from the center of it's structure then ask ourselves "what kind of a thing is it?". An illustration that the nature of the question itself already taints / predispose the answer. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 0:01

Would it be correct to say that we could associate Christianity with terms like “way of life”, “lifestyle”, “philosophy” etc.?

The short answer is yes.

However the variations in definitions will greatly vary according to denominations and individual perspectives.

Let us start with Christian Philosophy:

Christian philosophy is the set of philosophical ideas initiated by Christians from the 2nd century to the present day.

Christian philosophy emerged with the aim of reconcile science and faith, starting from natural rational explanations with the help of Christian revelation. Several thinkers such as Augustine believed that there was a harmonious relationship between science and faith, others such as Tertullian claimed that there was contradiction and others tried to differentiate them.

There are scholars who question the existence of a Christian philosophy itself. These claim that there is no originality in Christian thought and its concepts and ideas are inherited from Greek philosophy. Thus, Christian philosophy would protect philosophical thought, which would already be definitively elaborated by Greek philosophy.

However, Boehner and Gilson claim that Christian philosophy is not a simple repetition of ancient philosophy, although they owe to Greek science the knowledge developed by Plato, Aristotle and the Neo-Platonists. They even claim that in Christian philosophy, Greek culture survives in organic form.


A Christian philosophy developed from predecessor philosophies. Justin is based on Greek philosophy, an academy in Augustine and Patristics. It is in the tradition of Christian philosophical thought or Judaism, from whom it was inherited from the Old Testament and more fundamentally in the Gospel message, which records or at the center of the message advocated by Christianity.

Scholasticism received influence from both Jewish philosophy and Islamic philosophy. This Christian Europe did not remain exclusively influenced by itself, but it suffered strong influences from other cultures.

As for associating Christianity as a form of lifestyle is actually quite common.

Christian Lifestyle

What’s the purpose of living a Christian lifestyle? Choosing to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life changes our lifestyle dramatically. Friendships, activities, and even health issues receive careful evaluation. While we formulate reasons for the way we live our Christian lives, God’s purpose for our lives never changes.

To remain connected to God through Jesus Christ (John 15:4–8). A life that’s cut off from God withers and dies -- physically as well as spiritually. God desires to reproduce His Son’s life through our fruitfulness.

To remain faithful through persecution and to resist false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:12–17). The apostle Paul expected situations to become worse as worldly pressures increased. Our testimony and knowledge of the Scriptures arm us against any deceivers or deceptive ideals.

To present the Good News to a lost world (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:12) Like an athlete or soldier, we present our best efforts to further the faith. Our transformed lives compel us to share the Gospel’s impact not just for our “today,” but for our eternity.

The Billy Graham Library gives us a set of rules for a Christian ”way of life” in the article: 10 Guidelines for Christian Living

The Bible teaches that the Christian life is one of constant growth. When you were born again, you were born into God’s family. It is God’s purpose that you will grow into fill stature and become mature in Christ. It would be against the law of God and nature if you were to remain a baby and thus become a spiritual dwarf. In 2 Peter 3:18, the Bible says that we are to grow. It implies steady development, constant enlargement, increasing wisdom.

For one to grow properly certain rules must be observed for good spiritual health.

  1. Read your Bible daily. Do not be content to skim through a chapter merely to satisfy your conscience. Hide the Word of God in your heart. It comforts, guides, corrects, encourages – all we need is there.

  2. Learn the secret of prayer. Prayer is communicating. Every prayer that you pray will be answered. Sometimes that answer may be “Yes” and sometimes “No,” and sometimes it is “Wait,” but nevertheless it will be answered.

  3. Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit. We know that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8), and what a comfort that should be to the weakest of us. Stand aside and let Him take over all the choices and decisions of your life.

  4. Attend church regularly. The visible church is Christ’s organization upon earth. Christians need one another, we need to gather together to worship God and nothing can take the place of church attendance.

  5. Be a witnessing Christian. We witness in two ways: by life and by word – and the two, where possible, should go hand in hand.

  6. Let love be the ruling principle of your life. Jesus said to those who followed Him, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). The greatest demonstration of the fact that we are Christians is that we love one another.

  7. Be an obedient Christian. Let Christ have first place in all the choices of your life.

  8. Learn how to meet temptation. Temptation is not sin. It is yielding that is sin. Let Christ through the Holy Spirit do the fighting for you.

  9. Be a wholesome Christian. Our lives and appearance should commend the Gospel and make it attractive to others.

  10. Live above your circumstances. Don’t let your circumstances get you down. Learn to live graciously within them, realizing the Lord Himself is with you.


Would it correct to say that we could associate Christianity with terms like "way of life", "lifestyle", "philosophy" etc.? Please feel free to elaborate.

No, because it completely ignores core (to American evangelical Protestants, at least) Christian doctrines like:

  • Original Sin,
  • the need to be saved from that Sin,
  • Christ's atonement for that Sin, and
  • human justification by faith that Jesus was the Son of God, died for our sins, rose on the third day to defeat sin, and now sits at the right hand of the father.

Yes, because once you put "become saved" you're supposed to live like Jesus, and that means:

  • following a "way of life", which means you
  • follow a certain "lifestyle", and
  • slowly begin to form a certain "philosophy" on life.

On the whole, though: NO, since:

  • (American evangelical Protestant) Christianity is strictly monotheistic, requiring certain basic beliefs, while
  • Buddhism and Taoism are strictly philosophies.
  • 2
    Just because Buddhism and Taoism are primarily philosophical entities, that is not a reason that Christianity does not have basic philosophical principles that are inherently within it.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 14:52
  • 1
    @KenGraham but those philosophies are based (from an American evangelical Protestant) on an externality: being saved through Grace. The lifestyle changes (are supposed to) flow from that, not from "Jesus was a moral teacher".
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 14:57

One thing I would add to this discussion is that one does not need to know every facet of the Christian "philosophy" to become Christian or to enter into a relationship with Jesus. As most Christians will tell you, the person they were when they became Christian is not the same person they are since they learned to walk with Christ.

As strictly a philosophy, Christianity leaves much to be desired because it doesn't conform to the "three-legged stool" approach. Ethics, yes. Ontology, a lot less than you might expect. Epistemology, not so much. Therefore, IMO, Christianity is less a philosophy than a way of life that keeps God central to every decision and every move that a person makes.

The idea that Christianity is built upon a list of rules called the 10 Commandments is another mistake that many make. This is how Christianity is approached in public schools and universities, but it is completely wrong. People assume this is the case because they do not understand the metamorphosis a person experiences when they sincerely ask Jesus to enter their heart, or the slow steady transformation they experience as the Holy Spirit works on them daily. If a Christian behaves ethically, it is because their behavior follows as a consequence of keeping God at the center of every decision, not because they follow a philosophy with ethical standards of behavior.

A Christian does not rely upon a philosophy or a doctrine to keep them in line. As Paul said, he is free from man's laws because he has no need of them. Who can be more free than the person who does not need the law? God is our moral compass, and the Holy Spirit keeps us on the narrow path because the path is righteous, not because a philosophy gives us direction. The law and the prophets are still important to study and understand, as is doctrine, but they are insufficient to reconcile a person with God in and of themselves.

I guess I would say that it is closer to a lifestyle, but that fails to grasp the size or the depth of the lifestyle we are speaking about. Jesus called it the Kingdom of Heaven. It is what all Christians are supposed to try to bring about in their own lives, and in the lives of others right here and right now. It isn't a place we go after we die or a mythical country where God lives, as many seem to think.

So that is how I would describe Christianity. It is (partly) man's attempt to achieve the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, pursuant to instructions left to us by Jesus (God). It is an abject failure in this regard, to be sure, but until everyone learns how to have the faith of a mustard seed, it is the closest thing we have. This makes it much different than just a philosophy.

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