Cultural Christian

Cultural Christian

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A cultural Christian is a secular
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 or irreligious
Irreligion is defined as an absence of religion or an indifference towards religion. Sometimes it may also be defined more narrowly as hostility towards religion. When characterized as hostility to religion, it includes antitheism, anticlericalism and antireligion. When characterized as...

 individual who still significantly identifies with Christian culture. The term is used, for example, by atheist Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 in reference to himself. Likewise, non-believing sex advice columnist Dan Savage
Dan Savage
Daniel Keenan "Dan" Savage is an American author, media pundit, journalist and newspaper editor. Savage writes the internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love. Its tone is frank in its discussion of sexuality, often humorous, and hostile to social conservatives, as in...

 has described himself as a "Catholic — in a cultural sense, not an eat-the-wafer, say-the-rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

, burn-down-the-women's-health-center sense." Deist
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

s of the 18th and early 19th centuries, such as Napoleon and various Founding Fathers of the United States
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

, similarly considered themselves part of Christian culture, despite their doubts about the divinity of Jesus.

In Evangelical Christianity

Those belonging to charismatic movement
Charismatic movement
The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

s use the term to describe individuals whose spiritual understanding or practice they see as underdeveloped, superficial, or lacking obvious fervor.

The term "cultural Christian" (also "nominal Christian") is a term used in Christian fundamentalism and the Christian Charismatic Movement
Charismatic movement
The term charismatic movement is used in varying senses to describe 20th century developments in various Christian denominations. It describes an ongoing international, cross-denominational/non-denominational Christian movement in which individual, historically mainstream congregations adopt...

, for Christians who are not "born again" (i.e. who have not experienced a personal religious conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

The term was coined in the 1970s, and popularized in the 1980s and 1990s.
Contrasting terms are "biblical Christian", "committed Christian",
"converted Christian" or "believing Christian".

A related concept is that of a "nominal" Christian, whom the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, abbreviated LCWE, is an Evangelical Christian movement that grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization and promotes active worldwide evangelism. LCWE is also known as The Lausanne Movement...

 defines as "a person who has not responded in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord." The LCWE notes that such a one "may be a practising or non-practising church member. He may give intellectual assent to basic Christian doctrines and claim to be a Christian. He may be faithful in attending liturgical rites and worship services, and be an active member involved in church affairs." The LCWE also suggests that nominal Christianity "is to be found wherever the church is more than one generation old."

Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk suggest that "nominalism" is a major issue. They assert that "many traditionally Christian populations know nothing of a personal faith, true repentance and a trust in the finished work of Christ for their salvation," and estimate that 1.2 billion people are "nominal and non-practising 'Christians'."

American Reformed
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 theologian Douglas Wilson
Douglas Wilson (theologian)
Douglas James Wilson is a conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker...

 disagrees with the category of "nominal Christian" and argues that all who are baptized
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 enter into a covenant
Covenant Theology
Covenant theology is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible...

 with God, and are obliged to serve him. There is, therefore, "no such thing as a merely nominal Christian any more than we can find a man who is a nominal husband." There are, however, "wicked and faithless Christians."

See also

  • Apatheism
    Apatheism , also known as pragmatic atheism or as practical atheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or lack of belief in a deity. Apatheism describes the manner of acting towards a belief or lack of a belief in a deity; so applies to both theism and atheism...

  • Backslide
    Backsliding is a term used within Christianity to describe a process by which an individual who has converted to Christianity reverts to pre-conversion habits and/or lapses or falls into sin, when a person turns from God to pursue their own desire...

  • Cafeteria Christianity
    Cafeteria Christianity
    "Cafeteria Christianity" is a derogatory term used by some Christians, and others, to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not.-First use in print:...

  • Christian atheism
  • Cultural Catholic
    Cultural Catholic
    "Cafeteria Catholicism" is a pejorative term applied to Catholics who dissent from Roman Catholic doctrinal or moral teaching. Some examples would be Catholics who dissent from Church teaching in regards to abortion, birth control, divorce, premarital sex, masturbation, or the moral status of...

  • Cultural Judaism
    Cultural Judaism
    Cultural Judaism, often confused with Secular Judaism, is a stream of Judaism that encourages individual thought and understanding in Judaism. Its relation to Judaism is through the history, culture, civilization, ethical values and shared experiences of the Jewish people...

  • Cultural Mormon
  • Cultural Muslim
    Cultural Muslim
    Cultural Muslims are religiously unobservant, agnostic or atheist individuals who still identify with the Muslim culture due to family background, personal experiences, or the social and cultural environment in which they grew up....

  • Emerging church
    Emerging Church
    The emerging church is a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, post-evangelical, anabaptist, adventist, liberal, post-liberal, reformed, charismatic,...

  • Lapsed Catholic
    Lapsed Catholic
    A lapsed Catholic is a person who has ceased practicing the Catholic faith, in the sense of attending Mass. Such a person may still identify as a Catholic.-"Lapsed Catholic" and "ex-Catholic":...

  • Moralistic therapeutic deism
    Moralistic therapeutic deism
    Moralistic therapeutic deism is a term introduced in the book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton. The term is used to describe what they consider to be the common religious beliefs among American youth...

  • Post-theism
    Post-theism is a variant of nontheism that proposes to have not so much rejected theism as rendered it obsolete, that God belongs to a stage of human development now past. Within nontheism, post-theism can be contrasted with antitheism...

  • Postchristianity
    Postchristianity is the decline of Christianity, particularly in Europe and Australia, in the 20th century, considered in terms of postmodernism...

  • Postmodern Reformation
    Postmodern Reformation
    The Postmodern Reformation is a movement presently taking place throughout Western culture in which Christianity is experiencing a dramatic cultural shift away from institutionally centralized Christian practice closely related to primary Christendom values which have undergirded Roman Catholic,...

  • Rice Christian
    Rice Christian
    Rice Christian is a term used, usually pejoratively, to describe someone who has formally declared himself/herself a Christian for material benefits rather than for religious reasons....

  • Secular Judaism
  • Secularism
    Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

  • Sunday Christian
    Sunday Christian
    A Sunday Christian or Sunday morning Christian is a derisive term used to refer to someone who typically attends Christian church services on Sundays while not strictly adhering to the doctrines or rules of the religion....

  • Transtheistic
    Transtheistic is a term coined by philosopher Paul Tillich or Indologist Heinrich Zimmer, referring to a system of thought or religious philosophy which is neither theistic, nor atheistic....

  • Western culture
    Western culture
    Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...