Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ, but it has its roots in the Judaic tradition. The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity. It is divided into two books - the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament deals with the period before the birth of Jesus Christ, originally written in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic. The New Testament deals with the life and teachings of Jesus and the Acts of his Apostles which depict the formative period of Christianity, originally written in Greek andpartly in Aramaic. The first four New Testament books tell the life, death and resurrection of Christ which is known as Gospels.
Christ was born around 4 B.C. in a Jewish family at Bethlehem in Palestine. He lived a short span of 33 years which he healed people and performed miracles. The most remarkable feature of his life according to Christian belief, is that after he was crucified, dead and buried, he rose again on the third day and appeared to his apostles and disciples before ascending into heaven. The followers of Jesus came to be called “Christians”. In A.D. 45, the followers of Jesus met in a Council at Jerusalem. They decided to spread his teaching and evangelize the world.
The Biblical concept of God is rather complex. God is one but has revealed himself in the Bible as three persons - the father, the son and the holy spirit. The incarnation of Jesus as man, according to theBible, is a part of the divine plan for the atonement of the sins of mankind. Christian thought regards man as essentially sinful. Ever since Adam and Eve violated the divine will, the human race has fallen into this sinful state. In general, the religious services of Christians are mainly aimed at worshipping God in spirit and truth, that is worshipping the father through Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Church which has 1.2 billion members — slightly over half of all Christians worldwide — does not view itself as a denomination, but as the original pre-denominational church,a view rejected by other Christians. Protestant denominations account for approximately 37% of Christians worldwide.Together,Catholicism and Protestantism (including Anglicanism, and other denominations sharing historical ties) comprise Western Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents,is the second-largest Christian organization in the world and also considers itself the original pre-denominational church.
Important Holy Places
- Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus
- The River Jordan, site of Christ's baptism
- Cave dwelling of John the Baptist
- Galilee (North Israel/South Lebanon)
- Sea of Galilee
- Jerusalem is believed to be the site of some of Jesus’s teaching
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