Major Religions & Spiritual Beliefs
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Although Christians generally characterize themselves as monotheistic, the one God is most commonly, but not universally, thought to exist in three persons (Gr. Hypostasis), called the Trinity. Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews as prophesied in the Old Testament.
Christianity encompasses numerous religious traditions that widely vary by culture, as well as thousands of diverse beliefs and sects; over the past two millennia, Christianity has been grouped into three main branches: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Collectively, it is the world's largest single religion, with over two billion followers.
The term Christ is derived from the Greek noun "Khristós" which means "anointed one," and is a translation of the Hebrew word Moshiach (Hebrew). Christian means "belonging to Christ."
A Quick Overview:
The central belief of Christianity is that by faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, individuals are saved from death - both spiritual and physical - by redemption from their sins (i.e. faults, misdeeds, disobedience, rebellion against God). Through God's grace, by faith and repentance, men and women are reconciled to God through forgiveness and by sanctification or theosis to return to their place with God in Heaven.
Crucial beliefs in Christian teaching are Jesus' incarnation, atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead to redeem humankind from sin and death; and the belief that the New Testament is a part of the Bible. Many Christians today (and traditionally even more) also hold to supersessionism. Supersessionism is the belief that the Jews' chosenness found its ultimate fulfillment through the message of Jesus: Jews who remain non-Christian are no longer considered to be chosen, since they reject Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. This position has been softened or even completely abrogated by some churches where Jews are recognized to have a special status due to their covenant with God, so that this continues to be an area of on-going dispute among Christians.
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