Unit 5 // Christianity (Origins of Christianity (It's accepted that…
Unit 5 // Christianity
Origins of Christianity
It's accepted that Christianity was founded by Jesus approximately 2,000 years ago
Jesus was a Jewish teacher who lived in Roman-occupied Palestine, born probably about 5 B.C. according to modern scholars
Many Jewish ideas and teachings play an integral role in Christian beliefs, but modern Christianity is very different from modern-day Judaism
In Christian tradition, Jesus was immaculately conceived (father by god, son of the Virgin Mary)
Because his father is god and his mother human, he's considered both human and deity
His human father was Joseph who married Mary and raised her child as his own, brought Jesus up to be a carpenter like him
God called him to live his ministry, after he lived in poverty for 30 years
During his ministry, Jesus performed miracles, healed the sick, helped the downtrodden, delivered his messages as a prophet on morality, prayer, compassion, hypocrisy, and god
Jesus was then arrested by Jewish leaders who were threatened by his ideas and criticism of their faith and traditions, and he was tried and executed by crucifixion
Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead 3 days after, appeared to Mary Magdalene and his eleven apostles, and then he rose to heaven, defeating the physical death state
After his execution, his followers spread his ministry in a movement spread by apostles who had interacted with him while he was alive (incl. Peter), and those who didn't join until after his physical death (incl. Paul).
Paul of Taurus
- Was originally a Jew hostile to the Christian movement, but he soon converted and started converting Gentiles (non-Jews). He asked that they abide by the Ten Commandments and moral codes, but not to the Jewish tradition of dietary restrictions and other cultural things. This changed Christianity into less of a Jewish sect and into a religious movement with both Jewish and non-Jewish factions
Christianity soon spread throughout the Roman empire, despite persecutions that continued by the Jewish Pharisees and the Roman government. But this ended suddenly when Roman Emperor Constantine the Great embraced the Christian faith, and it was made the official religion of the Empire. Soon, non-adherents were persecuted.
Even though the Western Roman Empire fell and the European Civilization declined, Christianity thrived and spread through Europe. European explorers and colonists began traveling across the planet and took Christianity with them during the Renaissance. That's why Christianity is the predominant religion of the Americas and Oceania, as well as Europe. There is also a significant Christian population in Asia and Africa, too.
As many as two billion people identify as Christianity
A lot of diversity in the beliefs due to how dispersed the believers are; but a few things they agree on/all believe are:
The Divinity of Christ
Most Christians believe that Christ was divine in nature, although there is some disagreement about the nature of this divinity. In the Trinity Model, Jesus (the Son) exists as a component of the godhead, along with the creator the Father and the Holy Spirit/Holy God. It's also generally accepted that Jesus was both godlike and human and was subjected to human emotions and feelings. Nearly all Christians revere all Jesus' teachings as the word of God delivered to the world's people
The Universality of Christ
While Judaism stresses the relationship between God and his people, Christianity stresses the relationship between God and all of mankind. They believe people haven't been chosen by God but that they chose God
Original Sin and Forgiveness
Christianity teaches that human beings are innately sinful, but can be forgiven by God, and they must be so that they can be redeemed, as they otherwise wouldn't be
Faith vs. Deeds
They don't believe that an amount of good deeds can get you redeemed, only faith. It's the biggest difference between Christianity and Judaism. Whereas Jews identify themselves through their shared customs and less by their shared beliefs, Christians do the opposite and place a big emphasis on faith.
Nature of the Soul
Christians believe that the soul exists as something distinct from the body. Some believe that all souls continue to exist after the death of the body and that a soul can be brought to eternal peace by following Jesus' teachings. Others believe that only souls that are saved by Christ are immortal and that others cease to exist when their bodies die or are sentenced to purgatory. In purgatory, it's believed that a soul can continue its spiritual growth and quest for redemption.
The Christian Bible
Different interpretations of the bible. Some believe it's the direct word of god and that it's the literal truth, while others see it as divinely-inspired, written by humans, and infallible
Some see it as infallible on spiritual matters but question the scientific and historical accuracy
All believe it has a pivotal role in their religion. It defines what it means to be a Christian for many
The New Testament
The most authoritative of writing for Christians. It has the
of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which relay the life and teachings of Jesus. The book of
is the continuation of Luke's gospel and tells about the early church during the decades following Jesus' death. The rest of the New Testament consists of letters written by Paul and his followers during the time that Paul was organizing his church
The Old Testament
The Jewish bible is the Old Testament to Christians. Many of their moral beliefs and mythologies are from the OT, but the NT is of higher authority.
Major Divisions of Christianity
The world's many varied Christian traditions can be divided into three large divisions:
Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism
The theological differences amongst the three groups are hard to define, since they're set apart largely by historical differences
Historically, the Christian faith as practiced by the Roman Empire during the early medieval period was largely a unified movement. But in 1054, the Great Schism happened and the Western Church broke off to form the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Church became the Orthodox Church. Presently, the Roman Catholic Church is centered in Rome, and the Eastern Orthodox Churches are divided up with leadership of national patriarchs, but they consider themselves to be unified theologically
churches broke off from the RCC during the
in the 15th and 16th centuries. Unlike the RCC and EOC, the Protestant churches don't have a central governing body and don't have much to do with each other. However, they have theological similarities because they separated from the RCC for the same reasons of corruption and lack of moral restraint in church leadership, and the right of common people to interact with God through prayer and scripture readings. Martin Luther and John Calvin led this reform in the Catholic Church.
The Christian Bible
Although the Protestant churches have a lot of variances and differences, there are a few qualities nearly all Protestant religions have in common
They allow their priests to marry
They conduct their ministry in the language of those being ministered to
Common people are allowed to and encouraged to read the Holy Scripture
Christian Customs and Practice
Christians meet at churches, most often on Sundays. Some exceptions. Seventh-Day Adventists meet on Saturdays. Many Christians congregate more than once a week, plus meet on holy days that don't fall on Sunday. Most consist of some combination of sermons, scripture readings, music, and prayer.
During Communion, ceremonial bread and wine is consumed in remembrance of the death of Jesus' body and the spilling of his blood. Some Christians perform Communion weekly, and some only occasionally
Integral ritual in Christian practice. Baptism is a ceremony in which sins are washed away with water. Some Christians baptize during infancy, while others wait until the individual is old enough to choose baptism for themselves.
Rites of Passage
Rituals, weddings, funerals are all performed in churches to commemorate major events in life.
Festivals - Easter Sunday
Commemorates Jesus' victory over death, is viewed as the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. Nearly all Christians observe Easter. To many, the week before is sacred because it represents Jesus' final days and journey into Jerusalem, blah blah. For some, Easter marks the end of a 40-day fast known as
. Other holidays are observed, depending on the denomination. Christmas celebrates Jesus' birth, is an important holiday in many Western cultures
Christianity in Art, Architecture, and Culture
Christianity is found in many places in Western artistic expression
Most common and recognizable of Christian symbols is the cross or crucifix
A major feature of Christian art is the use of figures. Like images of Jesus and other biblical figures. Many other monotheistic religions forbid this practice.
Churches range a lot. But most center around a meeting area with one or more altars.
Some congregations lack their own buildings and meet in public areas or outdoors.