Christianity is the world's largest religion, followed by an estimated two billion people. It is one of three "Abrahamic" faiths, monotheistic religions whose origins are from Judaism. Christianity differs from the other two Abrahamic faiths- Judaism and Islam- by it's adherents' belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, a Palestinian Jew who lived from 4BC to 29AD, teachings that can be found in the accounts written by some of Jesus' followers and collected in the New Testament of the Bible.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion: it's followers believe that there is one God, the God of the Old Testament. Most Christians believe God made himself into a man, Jesus, who was then sent to Earth to save humanity from it's sins. A few branches of Christianity however, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, believe that Jesus is not God himself but that Jesus is God's son. The branch of Catholicism, among others, believe in what is called the "Holy Trinity", which states that God consists of three persons in one: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
The Creation of Earth, Man, and Sin
Christianity believes in the creation myth presented in the book of Genesis, found in the Old Testament of the Bible. This belief states that God created "the heavens and the earth". After the world was created God then created the first man, a perfect man called Adam, from dust. Adam soon became lonely and so God took a rib from Adam, which was used to create the first woman, Eve. Adam and Eve procreated and all humans come from them. According to the Bible, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree except one or they would be punish. Satan the Devil came and convinced Eve, who convinced Adam, to eat from the tree. Sin was thus invited into the world and it exists to this day.
The Ten Commandments
Generations after Adam and Eve lived a prophet named Moses. Moses was given ten commandments and many Christians follow these commandments even today. They are found in the book of Exodus chapter 20, verses 2-17:
1. Do not worship any other Gods.
2. Do not make any idols.
3. Do not misuse the name of God.
4. Observe the Sabbath (Seventh Day of the week; set apart as holy).
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. Do not kill.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not speak lies about people.
10. Do not envy what other people have.
The Old Testament is filled with prophesies of the coming of the Messiah. Christians believe the prophesies were fulfilled by the birth of Jesus. According to the Bible God sent his Holy Spirit to the Earth and Jesus, the son of God, was born of a virgin mother named Mary through a divine birth. Mary- along with her husband Joseph, raised Jesus as a Jew. Jesus believed that he was the Messiah, sent to Earth to fulfill Biblical prophesies and to create new covenant between God and humans. Not much is known about Jesus' childhood through his twenties, but the Bible states that at the age of 30 Jesus became baptized. The first four books of the Bible's New Testament- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- cover Jesus' life from then as told by four of Jesus' twelve disciples.
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and it is said that a dove descended from the heavens upon Jesus' baptism and the voice of God stated God was pleased with his son. John spread the news of this and Jesus gained followers, twelve disciples in particular. The Messiah of the Old Testament had come.
Jesus preached throughout the area, as told by the New Testament. Jesus' message was one of love and forgiveness. He often spoke in parables to get his message across. Jesus never wrote his own messages; they were recorded by his disciples. Some of the most famous messages by Jesus in the Bible are:
Love: The Greatest Commandment
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:36-39)
Love Your EnemyBut I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
PrayerOne day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." 2He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:1-4)
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10)
The Kingdom of God"Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'". (Mark 1:14-15)
Paul the disciple says this about Jesus' message to the world: ". . . Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:50-53)