Christian vs Protestant

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Christian vs Protestant

Post by anitsch » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:48 pm

Hello,

I am a teacher in Texas. There is a peculiar phrasing my students tend to use that drives me nuts. They will use Christian instead of Protestant. They say "I'm not Christian, I'm Catholic" . Which doesn't make sense to many people. I'm curious where else is this used? I keep telling them that if they say that to someone from another state, they won't understand what they mean.

Thanks,
Andrea
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:29 pm

Is this usage widespread in TX, or is it restricted to a particular region / demographic / age cohort in the state?
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by anitsch » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:42 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:Is this usage widespread in TX, or is it restricted to a particular region /demographic / age cohort in the state?
This isn't new terminology. I remember kids using the term Christian interchangeably with protestant when I was a kid and it confused me then. I don't know how widespread it is, but I've asked people from other states (mostly northern states) and they have never heard of it. I've heard whites, African Americans and Hispanics use the terms interchangeably. If I HAD to make a guess, I would say that it is more common among lower income groups, but certainly not exclusive.

Thanks!
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by BonnieL » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:17 am

I used to be Protestant, but am now Catholic. Generally I've noticed that the question comes from Protestants: Are you Christian or Catholic? I tell them both. :)

Your question makes me wonder when Protestants starting saying they were Christian instead of identifying by sect. I recall saying (back in the '60s) I was Baptist rather than Christian. And that's in the Northwest.
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by tony h » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:39 am

My experience, in England, is that Christian is used for all Christians except for Catholics.

Catholics are sneaky agents of Spain seeking an opportunity to blow up parliament and usurp the crown
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by BonnieL » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:53 pm

tony h wrote:My experience, in England, is that Christian is used for all Christians except for Catholics.

Catholics are sneaky agents of Spain seeking an opportunity to blow up parliament and usurp the crown
Guy Fawkes didn't do us any favors. :(
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Phil White » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:19 am

BonnieL wrote:Guy Fawkes didn't do us any favors. :(
Ultimately, he didn't do us any either, although he had a good try.
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by tony h » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:14 pm

Phil White wrote:
BonnieL wrote:Guy Fawkes didn't do us any favors. :(
Ultimately, he didn't do us any either, although he had a good try.
He did give us the excuse for the most fun day in the year.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Phil White » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:19 pm

My dog does not share your enthusiasm...
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Phil White » Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:33 pm

On a more relevant note, this thing has been drifting in and out of my mind for the past few days. I've never picked up on it in the UK.

My guess is that it comes from the "born-again Christians". My experience is that those who count themselves as "born again" are keen to distance themselves from those who "merely" identify their religion as one of the established Christian churches. Among the evangelical churches, only those who have made a conscious commitment to the personal saviour are "real" Christians. I could certainly see people of such persuasion being keen to make some kind of distinction in this way. It is, however, odd to see it the other way round: "I'm not Christian, I'm Catholic", although that could equally be an attempt to distance oneself from the evangelical movement.

Beyond that, I am biting my lip...
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by anitsch » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Phil White wrote:
My guess is that it comes from the "born-again Christians".
That makes some sense, since the Born-Again Movement has been stronger in the southern United States. I'd like to know where the isogloss line is, mostly out of curiosity.

Thanks for the input,

Andrea

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
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Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by tony h » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:33 pm

anitsch wrote: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
These days they send a text to say when they are coming, with a phone number so that you can re-book if it is inconvenient.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Phil White » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:02 pm

tony h wrote:These days they send a text to say when they are coming, with a phone number so that you can re-book if it is inconvenient.
And an automated call asking you to rate their service after they have called.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Christian vs Protestant

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:15 am

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your torture experience? Was it:
1) A bit too much for comfort
2) Just about OK
3) Neither pleasant nor unpleasant
4) Quite enjoyable
5) Surprisingly entertaining?
  • What additional features would have improved our service? Please tick all that apply:
1) [ ] Red-hot pokers
2) [ ] Iron maiden
3) [ ] The rack
4) [ ] Breaking on the wheel
5) [ ] Exorcism with amputation of fingers and slaughter of first-born?
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End of topic.
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