What does it mean to call yourself a Christian? Some philosophical reflections on the Christian identity

  • Peter Jonkers Tilburg University


In my discussion of Brümmer’s article on the Identity of the Christian Tradition I argue that it is necessary to complement an external approach of this question, which tries to lay down the essential characteristics of the Christian tradition, with an internal one, which interprets the Christian identity as the result of a personal identification with a given tradition through a process of re-interpretation. In order to show the new insights that such an internal approach can yield I comment on Brümmer’s analysis of three important paradigms concerning the identity of the Christian tradition. This results in an idea of the Christian identity as a dynamic unity of a given tradition and its constant re-interpretations, which enable people to identify themselves with this tradition. Only this approach is able to explain the way in which many people experience nowadays their religious identity, viz. as belonging without believing.