What I want know is why Anne Rice said she was committed to Christ, but not a Christian. Doesn't the first entail the second, by definition?
It would be, if "Christians" (as she's using the term, i.e., American right-wing fundamentalists) were genuinely "committed to Christ." I think this is the issue she's disputing. The passages you cite ("if you love me, you'll follow my commands," etc.) can be wielded just as effectively against the fundamentalists, especially when it comes to every single thing Jesus ever had to say about money.
Of course, Anne Rice isn't exactly giving all her
money to the poor and living as a wandering ascetic either...
Although I doubt she is committed to Christ, if she does not want to follow what he said.
The problem here is that no one,
with the possible exception of a relative handful of nuns, monks, and hermit mystics comes close to consistently following the words attributed to Jesus in the canonical Gospels. In other words, the right wing fundamentalists have no better claim to the mantle of Real, True Christian than Rice does.
Perhaps she is trying to subscribe to a more fashionable, faux "Christianity" where one claims to be into Jesus, but not all the rules. One would have to do a considerable amount of Bible cherry-picking to do that, or just stop looking at the Bible altogether, because as I pointed out earlier, Jesus claimed in the text that he wants those who love him to follow what he says (and that the law still stands).
Doesn't this apply just as well to the televangelists and Jesus-on-their-sleeve Republicans who flaunt their enormous wealth and take the side of the rich against the poor, advocating economic and international policies that are based on the Satanic Bible
, rather than the Christian one? Consider the following, from the "Nine Satanic Statements:"1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
Got my Hummer? Check! Earth First! We'll strip-mine the other planets later!4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
Out of work? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, you lazy hippie! Fortify the borders to keep the damn Mexicans out! Cut Social Security, and if that means Grandma has to eat cat food, well, guess she should have saved for retirement, amirite? *Burns incense to the Free Markettm
*5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
See: Pentagon budget, the.6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
Hey, hippie! Didn't I just tell you to get a job?7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
Why do you think we need to fire teachers so we can afford to build more prisons and Predator drones?
I'm no theist, but having a better understanding than the average Christian about Christianity has always irritated me.
It's been said lots of times, that actually reading
the Bible is one of the main routes to atheism.
Most christians I knew growing up were liberal peaceniks who believed the bible was simply a book full of stories. Metaphors for various things. Sort of like a book of poems, perhaps.
Except for the part about the things Jesus did, and/or how they need to believe in him, right? I think that is just cherry-picking.
Yes, it is. The problem, IMO, for your argument that Rice is not an RTC because she rejects fundamentalism is that it's cherry picking all the way down. Jesus:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on Earth--Fundy:
La la la la laaaaaaa, I can't HEAAARRRRRR YOUUUUUUU!
"The Bible" itself is cherry picking. Proto-Catholic prelates selected a few out of a large body of Epistles, Gospels, Apocalypses, and doctrinal documents like the Didache to form their "New Testament" canon, while more or less following the lead of Jewish rabbinical councils who did the same thing for the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament. All while ignoring the rabbinical interpretations and commentaries on the Torah and the halakha (sp?), their interpretive rulings on how the Law should be applied. Though they claim the Hebrew Scriptures as (in whatever sense) "God's Word," all Christians cherry-pick their way around it so they can wear cotton-polyester blend fabrics, eat cheeseburgers and shrimp wrapped in bacon, and not have to stone their daughter to death for not being a virgin on her wedding night.
Protestants came along over a thousand years after "the Bible" and decided to pitch the Magisterium of the Catholic Church overboard, while setting out to turn the book it created by its authority into a paper Pope. In rejecting the ecclesiastical authority of the "Apostolic Succession" churches (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox), the Protestants saw off the limb they're sitting on.
Are they any less christian than the fundamentalist bible-thumper who believes the world is only 6000 years old and that the bible, every last contradictory word of it, is literally true?
By the Bible's standards, they would be (my bolding below):
"I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word." Psalm 138:2
This is not necessarily talking about a book. Do a BibleGateway search for "Word of God"
and you will see that it often refers to mystical revelations and prophetic utterances that are heard, rather than read. See also "Word of the Lord"
Even fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, etc. will regularly claim to have received a "word of knowledge" from Yahweh directly. Thus it would be possible in principle for someone to reject "the Bible" in whole or in part
while still claiming to be "committed to Christ." A Course in Miracles
also purports to be the teachings of "Christ," and it has the virtue of being more expansive and coherent
than the fragmentary "teachings of Jesus" found in the canonical Gospels.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16
This passage doesn't say what fundies think it says. Observe:
"The Chronicles of Narnia is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." See how the sentence still makes sense? 2 Timothy 3:16 does not say that Scripture is useful for science or history or cosmology or training in mathematics. The things it is asserted to be useful for can be done just as well by allegory and fable (e.g. Aesop's Fables).
Furthermore, there was no such thing as "the Bible" when that passage was written. The idea of "New Testament Scripture" had not arisen in the Christian communities yet. The author could only have been referring to the Hebrew Scriptures. And, if we look at the way New Testament authors use and interpret passages from the Hebrew Scriptures (e.g. examples of "prophecies" Jesus "fulfilled," Paul's midrash of the Sara/Hagar story
as an allegory of the Heavenly Jerusalem vs. the Earthly Jerusalem), it is abundantly clear that nothing resembling Chicago Statement-style "grammatical-historical method" literalism ever passed through their minds. Biblical authors simply did not approach Scripture as if it were a scientific or historical treatise the way modern fundamentalists try to, when they're not cherry-picking for all they're worth.
I see where you are coming from, and of course people can feel free to define themselves as whatever. It's just that these people who claim to love Jesus sometimes ignore his own (fictional) words, which are supposed to be important:
"If you love me, you will obey what I command." John 14:15
When they claim to love Jesus and they do not obey his commands, and his statement that the law stands, then by (fictional) Jesus' (meaning the Biblical authors') own logic, they do not love him. This is not something I am pulling out of thin air; that is what their mythological savior teaches.
Again, this applies with equal force against the fundamentalists Anne Rice and others like her oppose. Right-wing fundamentalists do not have a legitimate claim to being the Real, True Christians. Nobody does.