What Are Christian Beliefs?
Christianity is the world’s largest religion, claiming between 1 and 2.2 billion believers depending on what count you believe. Anywhere from a quarter to a third of the world’s population identifies as Christian.
Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (real name — Yeshua Ben Yosef or Joshua of Joseph) as laid out in the Bible, a collection of religious texts and teachings.
Though Christianity is a massive religion it is relatively young, having been “founded” by Jesus of Nazareth and his followers only two thousand years ago or so. Compared to the rich tradition of Hinduism (which is at least 6,000 years old) Christianity is just a baby. But by the fourth century CE Christianity was becoming a dominant religion.
Basic Christian Dogma
- God is the father of all and the great creator
- Jesus Christ is God’s son and the savior of the world
- Christ was a miracle worker and was resurrected from the dead
- A belief in Christ as the savior is necessary to avoid hell
Since Christianity was originally a sect of Judaism, Christians share a lot with the Jewish faith. For instance, half of the Bible is made up of texts written by, for, and about Judaism. The ten commandments of Christianity come from Moses, a major figure in Judaism. Jesus was himself Jewish. The main difference between Christians and Jews is that Jews (for the most part) don’t recognize Christ as the savior of mankind.
The Bible is the major sacred text for Christians. Because there are so many denominations of Christianity (from Catholicism to evangelical Baptists) it is difficult to describe the Bible as a unit. Catholics and followers of the Orthodox church still cling to a set of apocryphal texts and include them in their Bibles. These books (such as the Book of Wisdom) are not included in the Bibles produced and read by members of other faiths.
Besides the Bible there are plenty of texts used by Christians in their walk with God. It is very popular for Christians to read books about their faith and some go so far as to spend a little time every day studying with a “devotional” — this is like a guide book to Christianity. There are plenty of other books on Christianity and texts used by Christians to steady their faith, just look around at the huge Christian bookstores popping up all over.
Christianity gets a pretty bad rap as do most other world religions. Sure, there were plenty of wars fought in the name of Christianity (and Christian intolerance) but that is really more of a human problem than a Christian problem. Humans are flawed — this is in fact the reason that we need religion at all.
If you’re interested in learning more about Christianity, check out the Religious Tolerance blog page on the Christian faith here.
This post is part of a series of articles about Religious Beliefs. The other posts in this series are: