Christianity includes any religion which describes itself as “Christian,” and includes Roman Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon, and several others.
Currently, it is estimated that there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world, ranging from conservative to liberal. Historians view the early Christian movement as being composed of many faith groups which taught widely varying beliefs. Often, multiple Christian congregations would co-exist in a single city and would agree on little.
The Christian religion is built around the story of an itinerant Jewish preacher, Yeshua Ben Joseph, or Yeshua Ben Nazareth. Later, Pauline Christians gave him the name Jesus Christ, which means Messiah, or The Anointed One. Jesus was born in Palestine, approximately 4 to 7 BCE.
The primary elements of Jesus’ messages were: a call for personal repentance, which would lead to the creation of the kingdom of God; the love of God; the love of one’s neighbors and enemies; and the priority of one’s responsibility to God and one’s fellow man.
The Christian Church has held several beliefs throughout its history. Conservative Christians still follow these beliefs today, although liberal Christians often deviate from them. One of the most important beliefs is Creationism- the idea that God created the universe and Adam and Eve.
Christians also believe in The Fall- the concept that Adam and Eve were seduced by Satan into disobeying God’s instructions, which brought original sin into the world, and that sin has been inherited by all of humanity. Almost all Christians agree that everyone has eternal life, whether in Heaven or Hell.
Most Christians also believe in the Bible, although conservative Christians generally believe that the original writings of the Bible were without error, while liberals tend to view the Bible as a collection of writings describing a gradual evolution of religious thought.
Just as there is a wide variety of religions that fall under the category of Christianity, so too is there many different practices and rituals observed in these religions. Some, however, are practiced in nearly all and include: regular attendance at religious services; recognition and celebration of religious holy days; prayer; church hierarchy; tithing (giving a portion of one’s income to the church); and Bible study.
Christianity is currently the largest religious group in the world, with over 33% of the world’s population claiming Christian affiliation. Christianity is practiced in almost every county, with the total number of Christians estimated to be 2.1 billion.