I’ve become convinced that you can tell a lot about somebody’s religious beliefs if you know what they think about the Council of Nicea in AD 325.
How would you complete this sentence? “The Council of Nicea…”
1. “…was a genuine work of the Holy Spirit, codifying for all time the true apostolic teaching on the person and nature of Christ.”
You are a conservative Catholic or Orthodox Christian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
2. “…was a good thing, and it may even be said that the Holy Spirit was in it, leading the church to affirm Christ’s full divinity and humanity in terms that have stood the test of time. Shame about those anathemas at the end.”
You are a run-of-the-mill conservative Christian. If you’re Protestant, you can probably recite the Four Spiritual Laws. If you’re Catholic or Orthodox, I bet you’ve had some interesting discussions with some of your fellow parishioners.
3. “…contextualized the Christian message for a Greco-Roman audience. In those terms, I have no problems with it, although I do cross my fingers at certain points when (if) I recite the Creed in church.”
You are a centrist or liberal Christian in a mainline denomination. You probably subscribe to The Christian Century and wear a jacket with elbow patches.
4. “…is irrelevant to my faith. It was just some bunch of Catholic bigwigs asserting their authority over plain, Bible-believing Christians like me. Of course I believe in the Trinity, why do you ask?”
You are a fundamentalist Christian. And you need to take a church history course.
5. “…is irrelevant to my faith. It was just some bunch of Catholic bigwigs asserting their authority over plain, Bible-believing Christians like me. Of course I deny the Trinity, why do you ask?”
You are a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or similar. And you need to take a church history course.
6. “…was the final nail in the coffin of the inclusive spirituality of Jesus, replacing theological diversity and egalitarianism with patriarchal regimentation and the silencing of all dissent. Oh, and they wrote the New Testament.”
You are a pagan or Gnostic who appreciates the teachings of Jesus—at least the ones that conform to your religious presuppositions—although you distrust most traditional, institutional forms of Christianity. You need to take a church history course, and you need to quit reading Dan Brown books.
7. “…was the final nail in the coffin of the Judaic faith of Yeshua ha-Mashiach, replacing Torah-observance and traditional Jewish piety with syncretistic pagan mythology. Oh, and they wrote the New Testament.”
You are an Ebionite. You appreciate the teachings of JesusYashuaYehoshuaYeshua—at least the ones that conform to your religious presuppositions—but want nothing to do with Christianity or the New Testament as classically defined. The Greek language probably makes you break out in hives.