Searching for a Christian in Oak Park

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By John Hubbuch

Like the Magi in search of the savior, I have been searching for a Christian in Oak Park this Christmas season. To be sure, there are lots of Oak Parkers who, when asked, will tell you they are Christian, but then there were lots of false prophets and self-identified messiahs back in biblical times.

Self-identification is fraught with problems. A person can call himself a democrat and support a dictatorship. A "historian" can deny the Holocaust, and a "scientist" can deny global warming and evolution. So in my search for an Oak Park Christian, rather than rely on self-identification, I sought a more arguably objective standard — the Apostle's Creed.

The Apostle's Creed is like a mission statement for Christianity. It sets out specific things you have to believe in order to be a Christian. Mind you, I'm not arguing whether the tenets are true or not — you just have to believe them.

The creed is simple:

1) I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

2) And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,

3) who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,

4) suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell.

5) The third day he rose from the dead.

6) He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

7) From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

8) I believe in the Holy Ghost;

9) I believe in the holy catholic (universal) church: the communion of saints,

10) the forgiveness of sins,

11) the resurrection of the body, and

12) life everlasting.

It should be noted that there are lots of things not included in this list of "must-believes." They include Adam and Eve, Jews in the Wilderness, Samson, David and Goliath, the wedding feast at Cana, the loaves and fishes, and the Last Supper. And many, many more.

My Christian friends tell me that these are all just stories and need not be taken literally. Fair enough. But I assume that the 12 beliefs set out in the Apostle's Creed are the real deal, and to be a Christian, you must believe them or you're not a Christian. They are more than just stories. They are what separate Christians from Muslims or Buddhists or even Shriners.

Most of my "Christian" friends seem to me to not be real "Apostle's Creed Christians." They are humanists, mystics, seekers, Good Samaritans, pantheists, spiritualists — lots of different things.

They're just not Christians because they don't really believe certain tenets of the Apostle's Creed. In particular, they don't really believe in the Holy Ghost, the Resurrection, the Ascension and, to a certain extent, life everlasting.

It is obviously quite presumptuous of me to tell anyone who is a Christian and who is not. Whatever it takes to to get you through the night. My study was prompted because I couldn't figure out how my friends could call themselves Christian when they did not truly believe what I thought were the central beliefs of Christianity.

Maybe I've got this all wrong. Maybe it doesn't make any difference. Maybe you can believe whatever you believe just as long as you believe you are a Christian. Fair enough.

Merry Christmas. The Son of God is born in Bethlehem. Whether you believe it or not.

Reader Comments

18 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Nellie Schultz from Oak Park  

Posted: January 1st, 2012 3:24 PM

John, There's an envelope coming your way via KT that documents the existence of more than 40 Oak Parkers who stand for the tenets of the Apostle's Creed. Happy New Year. "Wise Men still seek Him" and His?

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2011 2:12 PM

Why is John searching for a Christian?Anywhere?

John Lennon  

Posted: December 19th, 2011 10:35 AM

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 18th, 2011 9:51 PM

Bell, and I respect yours. You're correct also in that there are many examples in Jesus' life that would be characterized as very liberal today. Conversly, there are also many that would get him labled as a right wing extremist. That's what makes Him a fascinating, sometimes frightening subject. I guess that's also why he's the Son of God! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours, my brother. And to all, a Good Night!

Bell  

Posted: December 17th, 2011 6:40 PM

Luke, I'll respect your position of the subject. I take it from comment that you are a Christian. We had an interesting debate at work recently regarding the teachings of Jesus Christ. I felt that by today's standards he would considered a "bleeding heart liberal".

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 17th, 2011 5:48 PM

Bell, I'm not dismissing anything. I'm highly skeptical because climate change has become both big business and a religion with all the expected human flaws. You have your "overwhelming majority of respected scientitist", but then dismiss without a thought any contrary evidence regardless of their credentials. You dismiss Forbes because it doesn't conform to your template. You're a fundamentalist environmentalist, which is your right. I'll take the Apostle's Creed, thank you.

Bell  

Posted: December 17th, 2011 10:51 AM

Forbes is not a credible source for accurate reporting.

Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate  

Posted: December 17th, 2011 10:35 AM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climategate-2-0-new-e-mails-rock-the-global-warming-debate/

Bell  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 10:26 PM

Luke, you are willing to dismiss the evidence presented by a overwhelming majority of respected scientists who believe that climate change poses a deadly threat. Is that based solely upon the notion that they are associated with Gore and others? But shouldn't you apply an equal objection to scientists employed by the world's worst polluters? That would appear to compromise both sides on the issue and leaves us asking you to offer an unbiased source that will support your position.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Partk  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 5:09 PM

Luke, you failed to mention the global ice age predicted for the world during the 1970's never materialized and Dr. Paul Ehrlich prediction that 65 million Americans would die of starvation before the year 2000. His book was the Population Bomb.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 3:04 PM

What's clear is that in OP you'll likely find more secularists whose religion is Environmentalism. They're as unbending in their belief as a fundamentalist Christian, & both take their "good books" literally. And Bell, many of the experts supporting man made GW are on the payroll of Gore & Soros (speaking of global multi-billion $$ corporations), whose carbon-offset Ponzi scheme is poisoning world markets & farming. I'm a skeptic of all things big, govt & business,not a denier. Keep studying it.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 9:44 AM

I love that this treacly essay is hijacked by run-of- the-mill partisan politics. The self-described aggrieved criticizes a culture of victimization. Christian, Jew, Muslim? It may as well be McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell.

Bell  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 9:02 AM

The tobacco industry was able to present scientific evidence that smoking does not cause lung cancer. Luke says follow the money. Do so and you'll learn that many of the experts denying manmade global warming are on the payrolls of the multi-national corporations responsible for poisoning the environment. Same folks are also calling for the demise of the EPA. The number of Nobel scientists who are calling attention to climate change far outnumber the deniers.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 8:45 AM

LMAO, sorry, dude. It's you who are the mind-numbed robot. Your emotional, personal attack rant is precisely the problem. Being consumed by misinformation may mean you're smart, but it doesn't make you wise. I & my Masters degree are skeptical of manmade global warming, which aligns me with Nobel scientists among other well educated & wise folks. I'm sure there are the same types on the other side, which means this isn't decided & won't be for a long time. Follow the $$ and my doubt grows.

LMAO @ stupidity  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 12:27 AM

Global warming deniers like Luke should understand that to those of us who are actually educated and informed, you appear as primative proto-humans running naked through the woods with feces smeared all over your face. I thought you should all know.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2011 10:48 PM

No, John. I think you've got it right. That's it in a nutshell, and the rest is just details. But you almost screwed the pooch before this piece got going. You had to throw in the gratuitous global warming reference. Sorry, real scientists can and do deny man made global warming. The climate and our impact on it, if any, is and should be a topic of ongoing analysis. It isn't the same as the Holocaust, which was a specific historical event. All good with the rest. Merry Christmas to you!

Gloria Engstrom from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2011 8:44 AM

If you are looking for a Christian in Oak Park, please count me among those who believe the tenets of the Apostle's Creed.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 13th, 2011 11:24 PM

Hell, John, why didn't you just send all of us a Christmas Card.

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