"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." -Martin Luther
In our current world, panic, stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration are commonplace. Observing world conditions, many people become jaded and feel as if there is no hope for the future.
What can be done?
Self-help books, inspirational seminars, a satisfying career, or one's faith can aid individuals to forget the woes around them and focus on more meaningful aspects of life now and in the future.
In the very tolerate western world, people are free to practise any religion without judgement. However, it is essential to state that religions with massive followings such as Christianity are not as well received in today's modern era than they were before.
Prominent churches in the UK are nearly deserted now during Sunday mass.
Have people lost hope and trust in religion?
Whether our readers are practising Christians or not, the following article will provide all with a basic understanding of the Christian faith and consider aspects such as where did it begin, how did it grow, what are the fundamental beliefs, and what are some of Christianity's essential figures, symbols, books, and places of worship.
A Brief Description of Christianity
The term Christianity stems from old French but is primarily influenced by the word in ancient Latin, Christus. Christianity is defined as a religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or his beliefs and practices. Therefore, the history or roots of Christianity began with Jesus and his apostles.
Christians base their faith on the fundamental beliefs of Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, and teaching of Jesus Christ; hence, the term Christians.
Christianity stems from the teachings of Jesus while he was on earth. Nevertheless, only after his death in 33 CE did the Christian congregation begin to flourish and grow in number. Jesus' apostles continued the preaching work and primarily taught Jews but also people of various nations the good news from the Ancient Scrolls or Holy Scriptures.
Although the Christian congregation was much persecuted in the beginning by other religious leaders, the teachings based on the words and actions of Jesus while he was on earth quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire and quickly became the state religion.
It is essential to state that the first official Christians were ethnically Jewish, and this fact raised the concern for many in the first century if only those who were of Jewish faith could convert to Christianity.
While the "founder" of Christianity was born in the small town of Bethelem, Jesus' teachings originate from and are the words of God. However, since Jesus spent most of his ministry in and around Jerusalem, it can be said that Christianity stemmed from these regions.
After reading this article, I'm sure you'll be curious about the history of Islam.
Basic Beliefs of Christianity
Like any religion, Christianity has many beliefs that have been brought down through centuries and remain the same today.
While many denominations of Christianity vary in some ways, an overwhelming amount of more than 1.332 billion Christians claim to be Catholic. Therefore, since Catholicism is the most recognised branch of the Christian faith, the following are some of its most characteristic beliefs:
- Bible: the Bible should be read and analysed since it is the inspired, infallible, and authoritative written word of God. The Holy Bible was not written by God personally using a paper and pen, but he inspired over 40 different men to write the words using the holy spirit.
- Jesus Christ: Jesus is the son of God, and his teachings, birth, miracles, bodily resurrection, reign in heaven, and atoning death are written in the holy writings for the benefit of those who strive to imitate Jesus' perfect example. Also, the only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ.
- Water Baptism: all denominations of Christianity believe in water baptism. Catholics have their children baptised to welcome them to the Catholic church and to be cleansed from the original sin with which they were born.
- Trinity: a primary doctrine taught by the Catholic church is the trinity, even though there is no scriptural evidence to back it up. The trinity is the belief that the one God comprises three distinct co-existing persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The previously mentioned beliefs are only a few Christian doctrines that are practised by the majority of followers. It is essential to state that certain denominations such as the Mormon Church or Jehovah's Witnesses do not recognise doctrines such as Saints or the Trinity.
Before concluding this section, it is essential to state that there are many beliefs, doctrines, and dogma that make the Christian faith unique from other world religions such as Islam, Buddhism, or Judaism.
Prominent Figures, Symbols, Holy Books and Places of Worship
Since Christianity is the world's most practised religion, some distinct symbols and traditions may be unique to specific geographic locations. However, public figures, holy books, and places of worship are practically identical from one place to the next.
We will now consider some of Christianity's essential symbols, holy books, public figures, and places of worship.
Christianity has used many logos, markings, identifiers, and distinguishing signs to describe certain events and personages that are of significant importance. The following are the most important symbols of the Christian faith:
- The Cross: the most familiar and widely recognised symbol of Christianity is, without a doubt, the cross. Many historians believe it was the shape and structure upon which Jesus Christ died, although the Bible never mentions any reference to the cross and the Greek word from which it is translated means post or torture stake. The Roman Catholic depictions of the cross reveal the body of Christ still on the symbol. It is believed to emphasis the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus by certain denominations of Christianity.
- Christian Fish: also known as the Jesus fish or Ichthys, the Christian fish is an ancient secret symbol of Christianity. It is believed to have been used by early persecuted Christians as a mysterious symbol of identification because it could be quickly sketched in the dirt. The fish was also used because it is a symbol that frequently appeared in the ministry of Christ.
Similar to other world religions, Christianity boasts a sacred book that is probably the most published in the entire world.
What is it?
If you guessed Bible, you're right! The following is a brief description of the Bible and another holy book used by a Christian denomination:
- Bible: the Holy Bible is divided into two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both parts are divided into individual books such as Genesis, Ruth, Proverbs, Psalms, Jeremiah, Matthew, Acts, Hebrews, and Revelation, to name only a few. The books are divided into chapters and verses. The Bible covers various topics such as the creation of the world, the first sin, God's dealings with the Israelites, prophecies about the coming Messiah, and the beautiful teachings of Jesus.
- Book of Mormon: a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, the Book of Mormon is uniquely used by the Mormons and contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from 2200 BC to AD 421. The first published Book of Mormon appeared in 1830 from the experiences of Joseph Smith.
The Christian faith has had many famous public figures throughout centuries. The following are a few public figures that have left their impact on the world of Christianity for the good and the bad:
- The Pope: also known as the supreme pontiff, the pope is the bishop of Rome and worldwide leader of the Catholic Church. The current pope is Francis from Argentina who was elected in 2013.
- Martin Luther: known as a reformer of the Roman Catholic Church which he thought was corrupted. He is a crucial figure of the Protestant Reformation.
What about public figures, symbols, and holy book of the Hindu people?
Places of Worship
Key buildings where Christians spend time with other individuals who share their faith is an essential part of Christianity. The following are the most common Christian places of worship:
- Basilica: the Roman Catholics meet in spaces known as Basilicas.
- Church: a shared space of worship for Christians of the orthodox, catholic, and protestant faith are churches.
- Kingdom Hall: Jehovah's Witnesses apply this term to any meeting place used for their formal meetings for worship.
Since there are more than 2.2 billion professed Christians in the world today, it comes as no surprise that there are individual variations that change from one denomination to another. The most common denominations of Christianity can be found in the genres of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Protestantism, Restorationism, and other Minor Branches.
Acquiring more knowledge about world religions is an enriching experience that allows for more tolerance and a better understanding of the people around us; who knows you might learn something!
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