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published: 3/17/04
updated: 5/9/13


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An Overview of Christianity

crown and cross
Crown and cross

Christianity is one of the most influential religions in history. It's the largest religion the world has ever known and it's responsible for the largest institution the world has ever known, the Christian Church. It would be challenging to understand world history, especially the in the West, without knowing about the Christian religion.

Christianity's founder, Jesus Christ, although of humble origins, impacted the world more than kings, presidents, military leaders, and politicians, even though he died in his early thirties. With so much information in the world on Christianity, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, yet this page aims to help people get started with that task. (See Jesus Christ and compare Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.)

The page is intended to serve as a gateway for more in-depth studies through the links provided.



The Facts of Christianity

Date founded:
c. 33 AD

(See Christian history and a timeline of Christianity)
Place founded:
Palestine

(See Christian beliefs and Christian symbols)
Founder:
Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish carpenter

(See more about the life of Jesus and Christology)
Adherents:
2 billion [1] See Religion Statistics
 
US adherents:
159 million in 2001 {2} See Church Attendance by State
UK adherents:
51 million in 1997 {3}
Size rank:
largest world religion (See Christian symbols)
Main location:
Europe
North America
South America
Major sects:

Roman Catholic
, Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism

Compare Christian denominations on comparison charts

Sacred texts:

The Bible, comprised of the Old Testament and New Testament

See famous Bible stories; also see Bible Translations

Original languages:

Aramaic, Greek, Latin

Other beliefs:

Angels
, Devils & Demons, Holy Spirit, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Salvation, Stigmata

Also see Catechisms of the Catholic Church, Biographies of Catholic Popes

The Ten Commandments
, The Apostle Paul
 

Religious professionals:

Priest; bishop; archbishop; patriarch; pope, pastor; minister; preacher; deacon

House of worship:

Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, meeting hall



Type of theism:

Trinitarian Monotheism

Ultimate reality:

One God
(a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

Human nature:

Created good but now born sinful

(See human nature in Christian beliefs)

Purpose of life:

Know, love and serve God (see the Parables of Christ)

How to live:

Have faith in the true God and Christ's resurrection, do good works, participate in sacraments

Afterlife:
Resurrection of body and soul, purgatory (Catholic and Orthodox), and eternal heaven or hell

(See the afterlife in Christian belief)

Symbols:

Cross
, dove, anchor, fish, alpha and omega, chi rho

Christian holidays:

Advent
(Nov. 30 - Dec. 24)

Christmas
(Dec. 25)

Epiphany
(Jan. 6)

Lent
(40-day period prior to Easter)

Good Friday
(last Friday before Easter)

Easter
(date varies)

All Saint's Day
(Nov. 1)

Books of the New Testament :
Gospel of Matthew

Gospel of Mark


Gospel of Luke


Gospel of John


Acts of the Apostles


Romans


1 Corinthians


2 Corinthians


Galatians
Ephesians

Philippians


Colossians


1 Thessalonians


2 Thessalonians


1 Timothy


2 Timothy


Titus


Philemon
Hebrews

James


1 Peter


2 Peter


1 John


2 John


3 John


Jude


Revelation
 
Four Last Things (link goes to article)
1. second coming
2. judgment
3. heaven
4. hell
The Seven Deadly Sins (link goes to article)
1. pride
2. greed
3. lust
4. envy
5. gluttony
6. anger
7. sloth
Seven Ecumenical Councils (link goes to Christian history page)
1. Council of Nicea (325 AD)
2. Council of Constantinople (381)
3. Council of Ephesus (431)
4. Council of Chalcedon (451)
5. Second Council of Constantinople (553)
6. Third Council of Constantinople (681)
7. Second Council of Nicea (787)
Twelve Apostles (link goes to Christian biographies page)
1. James, son of Zebedee
2. John, son of Zebedee
3. Philip
4. Bartholomew
5. Thomas
6. Andrew (Peter's brother)
7. Simon Peter
8. Matthew the tax collector
9. James, son of Alphaeus
10. Simon the Zealot
11. Judas Iscariot
12. Thaddaeus {5}
See also Paul of Tarsus
 
 
Fourteen Stations of the Cross
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. The cross is laid upon him
3. Jesus' first fall
4. Jesus meets Mary
5. Simon of Cyrene bears the cross
6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face
7. Jesus' second fall
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus' third fall
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11. Jesus is crucified
12. Jesus dies
13. Jesus' body is taken down
14. Jesus's body is laid in the tomb
Now on Ebay: All 18 volumes of "The New Catholic Encyclopedia" with free shipping

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Christian denominations

Christian beliefs

Christian history

Christian holidays

Christian biographies

Chrsitian practices

Christian symbols

 



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References
  1. adherents.com
  2. adherents.com
  3. adherents.com
  4. Mark 12:28-31.
  5. Matthew 10:2.