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Born again

Born again is a common term in contemporary religious dialogue, referring to a transcending personal experience—or the experience of being spiritually reborn as a "new" human being. In psychological terms, being "born-again" is perhaps analogous to a perceptual state of hyper-salience; where one experiences a extreme and jarring change of perceptions, causing a re-awakened and renewed sense and understanding of oneself and their relationship to the world/universe.

Table of contents
1 Christian concepts
2 General Usage
3 See also
4 External Links

Christian concepts

To be born again in Christianity is synonymous with spiritual rebirth and, in many denominational traditions, salvation. A large number of American Christians call themselves born-again Christians, including US President George W. Bush, and former presidential candidate Al Gore. They claim that being born again is essential for salvation. The term is used somewhat differently in different Christian traditions.

The Christian use of the term is derived from the third chapter of the Gospel of John, where Nicodemus asks Jesus what he must do to be saved:

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God."
Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again."
Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit."

-John 3:1-5 (New Revised Standard Version)

Note that some translators consider "born from above" to be a better translation than "born again"

Most Christian denominations would agree that a true Christian must be born again, based on the above passage, and thus that those who are true Christians are in fact born again, whether they describe themselves as such or not. The Roman Catholic church, for example, considers that "Baptism is ... the sacrament by which we are born again of water and the Holy Ghost" [1]. However the term is most frequently used by Evangelical Protestants, where it is often associated with an intense conversion experience and an encounter of the individual with the power of God. Some would deny that those without such an experience are true Christians, based again on the above passage. It is common to find that Christians who describe themselves as born again consider those who do not to be counterfeit.

The idea of born again carries with it the theological idea that a Christian is a new creation, given a fresh start by the action of God, freed from a sinful past life and able to begin a new life in relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Born Again is also the title of a book by Charles W. Colson, which describes his experience of becoming a born again Christian.

General Usage

Self-described born again Christians are often the most enthusiastic, devoted and outspoken, and hence the phrase has come to be used to describe any dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of a cause - e.g. born-again Conservative, born-again sports fan, born-again skeptic etc..

See also

External Links