Christianity

Brief Summary

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The summary includes:

  1. Jesus Christ- God without sin
  2. Representative material: The Bible.
  3. God- the unique concept of Trinity; Evil & Hell
  4. Main influence throughout history (including Brief history of the Christian Church)
  5. Symbols: the cross, the dove, the fish.

 

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the Bible’s New Testament writings. Adherents of the Christian faith are known as Christians.

The 3 largest groups in the world of Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the various churches of Protestantism. Christianity began in the 1st century. As of the early 21st century, Christianity has approximately 2.2 billion adherents, representing about a quarter to a third of the world’s population, currently being the world’s largest religion.

Representative material for this worldview: The Bible.
Christians say the Bible is the ultimate reference for Christians.

 

Jesus Christ- God without sin.
Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, God having become human, to be the Savior of humanity. Christianity affirms that the Creator God of the universe sent his only son not just to demonstrate what perfect morality means and how man should live on earth but firstly to save humanity from sin and eternal separation from Himself.

It is to be noted that the teachings and life of Jesus are universally acknowledged, even by skeptics or Christians opponents, to be beyond criticism. According to Christian texts, Jesus looked at his fiercest opponents and said “which of you convinces me of any sin?”, a challenge that Christians say could not have been made by any other religious leader, founder or prophet, since Jesus alone stands without moral blemish.
Jesus absolute claim was that He is the way, the truth and the life.

Jesus’s life
According to the Bible, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. After Jesus was conceived, Mary married a carpenter named Joseph. Jesus trained as a carpenter under his father, Joseph. He did not marry or have children. At about the age of 30 (circa 26 AD), after being baptized by John the Baptist, he started his public ministry.

Jesus then spent from one to three years teaching and working miracles among his disciples and before large crowds. His recorded miracles include turning water to wine, walking on water, healing the sick, multiplying a small meal to feed a crowd, casting out demons, and even raising a man from the dead.

Throughout his teachings Jesus rebuked the hypocrisy of some Jewish leaders and taught the importance of love and kindness, even to one’s enemies.

While Jesus’ teachings were fundamentally Jewish, they departed significantly from the Jewish law of his day. Perhaps most astonishing of all for his time, was that he taught on his own authority. Whereas Jewish prophets had always prefaced their messages with “thus saith the Lord,” Jesus said things like, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’

Jesus’ popularity grew quickly, but so did opposition from local leaders. Roman rulers were uncomfortable with the common perception that he was the Messiah who would liberate the Jews from Roman rule, while Jewish leaders were disquieted by Jesus’ shocking interpretations of Jewish law, his power with the people, and his own claim to divinity.

He was sentenced to death after being on trial for the only charge that he claimed to be God. Jesus was brutally beaten and executed by crucifixion at Golgotha.

Through the Bible, Christianity states that after 3 days, Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to several of his disciples before leaving the Earth and ascending to heaven.

The belief that Jesus’ resurrection makes it possible for people to have peace with God in this life and meet a favorable end in the next was a major source of the incredible courage shown by the early Christian martyrs, as historians attest.

Read the argumentation (known as the CS Lewis’s trilemma) Why Jesus was the most controversial person on Earth, here

 

God- the unique concept of Trinity
The concept of Trinity is unique to Christianity and it means that the one God comprises 3 distinct, eternally co-existing Persons: the Father, the Son- Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. For a more detailed view of the concept of Trinity from a Christian perspective, click here

Evil
In Christian belief, angels were created good but were given free will just as humans are. Some of them rebelled against God, became demons and were excluded from heaven. The leader of the rebellious angels is Satan, who has become humanity’s main adversary as well as God’s opponent.

Christianity unequivocally teaches that angels and demons are real beings, not just symbolic creatures of literature and myth and also that demons attack humans. It teaches that Christ came to deliver humans from Satan’s evil rule. It also teaches that Satan currently rules the Earth because of generations of people who have rejected God’s ways and teachings since the beginning of the world. Satan is not leading the world in full view but manipulates it, he does not fight directly with human beings, his subversive work being to convince humans to think and act like himself. Christianity states that Satan is the ultimate source behind every false cult and world religion. He does anything and everything in his power to oppose God and those who follow God. Christianity affirms also that the permission granted to Satan and his demons to tempt humans away from their Creator will only last for a while more until the end of the world as we know it and the second coming of Christ.

 

Hell
According to the Bible, hell is just as real as heaven. The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the unbelieving/unforgiven are sent after death.  Despite this concept lack of popularity, Christianity says that every human has the responsibility to understand that hell is the direct and certain consequence of rejecting Jesus- God’s unique and ultimate plan of salvation for the human soul. According to Christianity the regrets of the people who reject Jesus gift of salvation, at the moment when they die and realize what their choice really means for their eternal soul, are simply beyond words.

 

Main influence throughout history:
The history of Christianity is a major part of the history of Western civilization. Christianity has had an all-pervasive influence on society at large—calendar, art, language, science, politics, government, law, family life, as well as the very way people think have all been deeply influenced by Christianity for nearly two millennia.

Read an argumentation on the positive influence of Christianity throughout history, both from a Christian and atheist perspective, here

Brief history of the Christian Church, here

(Sources: Wikipedia, Dinesh D’Souza “What’s So Great About Christianity”, Max Weber’s “The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism”,  http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/history/jesus.htm)

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