Christianity is a religion founded by Jesus Christ, who was born in Nazareth, Israel, in the 1st century AD. During 30-33 AD, Jesus was teaching, doing miracles, was crucified, and resurrected on the 3rd day after his death (Wilkinson, & Teague 45). These events marked the beginning of the new religion. Although Christianity has divided into certain denominations over the years, all confessions agree on the existence of the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and the teachings of the Credo. Today, this religion is the largest in the world with about two billion followers.
Christianity is a definite system of religious beliefs and practices, which Jesus Christ and his followers taught. During the 1st century AD, Jesus preached only on the territory of the then Israel and Palestine, during the reign of a Roman Emperor. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, several chosen men from his followers began to spread the religion to different corners of the world (William 78).
In accordance to the generally accepted data, these chosen followers, began their apostolic mission on the fiftieth day after Christ’s resurrection, or so-called Pentecost. On this day, God the Father sent Holy Spirit to the Apostles. Christians from all over the world regard this day as the beginning of the church of Christ. The religion consists of different branches and sub branches. The main three are Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The branches have numerous divisions. For a long period, most adherents lived in Europe and America; however, today, Christian communities can be found on all continents of the world. The sacred text of Christianity is the Holy Bible, inclusive of the Hebrew Scriptures (known also as the Old Testament) and the New Testament (Wilkinson, & Teague 45).
When the Roman Empire had expanded its boundaries, new lands and countries were joined. The peoples, who were conquered, brought with them their Gods and beliefs, which were either added to traditional religion of Rome, or wiped away from the face of the earth. Christianity was among these new religions. During 64 AD, the large fire that had been burning uncontrollably for weeks started in Rome. During this period, citizens were treating Christians with extreme contempt and hatred. The Romans were angry with Christians, as the last claimed that they would go to Heaven and that all non-believers were evil and should change their wrong ways. Christians also refused to worship the empire and obey to the emperor. As this was against the law, they were tortured, and their Holy Scriptures were burnt. Empire Bero blamed Christians for the fire of Rome, and thus, began to persecute them.
The Christians have experienced oppression for a very long period, and they often received blames for any problems that arose in their cities and societies. Many Christian leaders were crucified. In order to avoid persecution, the Christian followers were made to worship God in the underground churches and places of meeting. However, the future of Christianity was assured when Constantine, before a crucial battle in 312 AD, said that he had a dream in which he was asked to paint the Christian symbol on the shields of his soldiers. Later, in 337, he decided to allow the peoples in the empire to worship their gods freely, including Christianity (MacCulloch 123).
After the long period of persecution, three hundred years after the death and resurrection of the Messiah, in 380 AD, Christianity was proclaimed the official religion of the Roman Empire. In the first centuries, Christianity has been shaped by philosophers and theologists, or so-called Fathers of the Church, like Augustine of Hippo, Gregory the Great, and many others.
Even though, there always were several subdivisions of Christianity, they had formed a unity for the next 600 years. In 1054, a great conflict that involved the Eastern and Western churches occurred; these events caused the Great Schism. As a result, Eastern Orthodox Church refused to obey to the Pope, and separated to form an independent unit. The other significant event in the history of the Christian community occurred in 1517. During this period, Martin Luther, a German priest, taught justification by faith and indisputable authority of the Holy Bible. He claimed that the original teaching of Christ contradicted the existed practices of the churches, such as indulgences. The protestant reformation that followed had made several churches separate from the papal authority. The essential beliefs that resulted from the protestant reformation were eventually summarized into the five solas, written in Latin. The five Latin phrases translated into English were; “by Grace alone, by Scripture alone, by Christ alone, by Glory to God alone, and by Faith alone” (MacCulloch 128).
The organization of the Roman Empire helped the growth of the Christian ideas in several ways. The Roman’s excellent roads ensured easy and accessible locomotion around the empire. Secondly, common languages in the Empire, Latin and Greek, aided in spreading the Christian ideas; thirdly, the Roman army soldiers’ bases were situated outside their home country. Thus, as not to call the loyalty of the army men into question, they had most of their units based in Briton. This helped to spread the Christian doctrine to the most distant corners of the Empire.
The old Roman temples were rebuilt and rearranged to serve as Christian churches. This lead to the creation of the Holy Roman Empire, which evolved from the Roman Empire and continued in the form of Roman Catholic Church, which had its heart in the Vatican City of Rome. A Holy Roman Emperor, in the person of Pope, heads it.
There were many transitory and exceptional things in early Christianity. To the world, its presentation was not in full-growth. It developed in accordance with the forces and tendencies that its first founder preached. During the Apostolic times, supreme authorities, faith and morals were taught by the twelve representatives of Christ. These representatives received an order to preach and interpret the Gospel of Christ to all peoples an all corners of the world. The Apostles (the first followers of Jesus Christ), were not Christians until they recognized and became aware through their faith, that Christ was their only God and redeemer (Wilkinson, & Teague 48).
Traditional Christian beliefs included the existence of one true God. He exists as one being in the Holy Trinity, as Father, Son, and Spirit. It also included the belief that Jesus is the divine Messiah, who came to the world to save and redeem it. During the mortal life of Jesus on earth, he lived as a devout Jew. He observed the injunctions of the law and insisted doing the same by all his followers. In all his teachings, he spoke about how one should get to the kingdom of God. He insisted not only on the rule of righteousness in an individual’s heart, but also in the church, which he promised to build. He confined His teachings on the church to his immediate followers and left it to them (Pelikan, & Jaroslav 240).
Jesus reproached the Jews for failing to read their scripts in the right way. On the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the eleven Apostles, they began to preach a quite new religion. This new religion differed from traditional Judaism and beliefs of scribes and Pharisee significantly. The new believers followed their founder and obeyed to God, the loving father.
Within the Christian religion, Christians believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, about whom the prophecies in the Old Testament wrote. The son of the true God, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, whose name was Mary. He came into the world so that He could save humanity from sins and give them an opportunity to obtain eternal life (Pelikan, & Jaroslav 238).
Christians believe that Baptism is a mandatory step towards being a child of God. One had to pass other sacraments, such as Confirmation and the Eucharist, in order to be staunch in the religion. Baptism is an essential sacrament that Jesus ordained. The Eucharist, also known as the Holy Communion, the sacrament of the Altar or the Lord's Supper is re-enacted in accordance with the instructions of Jesus, as a way of his remembrance by his followers. Confirmation is the sealing of the covenant, made during Baptism.
The main beliefs in Christianity are that by faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, people get their redemption from the evil, and death. This is achieved through both physical and spiritual redemption of sins. Christians also believe that Jesus was the Messiah that the Jews have been anticipating. They believed that Jesus reigned on the right hand of the Father with the same authority and power. Until His second return, the followers of Christ have the obligation of preaching the word and gathering more disciples.
Some Christians, particularly those in the West, refer to the Holy Scriptures as the word of God. Others, especially those in the East believe that Jesus alone is the Word of God. They see the Scriptures as an authoritative book that God inspired and which was written by a man. Because of these different views, most Christians often disagree on how accurate the Bible is and how to interpret it.
In conclusion, Christianity is a religion of love. The manifestations are visible in the decision of Jesus to come to earth and become a human, to save his people from sin. The heart of religion is in the heart of the founder, Jesus Christ.