Religions of the world
Christianity: The world's largest religion.
|"Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to
Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;
it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an
enterprise." Sam Pascoe 1|
||"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."
-- This is a saying attributed to Francis of Assisi. However, he probably never said it.|
||"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have
power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and
deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses
knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
St. Paul, Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)|
The meanings of "Christianity" and why this web site gives this religion so much attention:
There are many definitions for
this term. Some people regard "Christianity" and their own denomination's name to be synonyms. That is, their faith group is viewed as teaching the only truly legitimate Christian faith. Their group, alone, has the "fullness of truth" while all other groups are in error. In contrast, others view "Christianity" as including the full range of faith groups from the most conservative fundamentalist to the most progressive Christian denomination.
One of the problems with Christianity, and with all other world religions, is that they are fragmented. For example, Christianity includes tens of thousands of individual denominations and faith groups. 2 Estimates range from 20,000 to over 30,000. A main reason for this is that the prime source of Christian beliefs, passages in the Bible, seem to be ambiguous. Sincere, thoughtful, intelligent believers interpret its passages very differently.
A good example of this ambiguity are the meanings assigned to the six "clobber passages" in the Bible. These are passages in the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) and the Christian Scriptures (a.k.a. New Testament) that are often interpreted as discussing same-gender sexual behavior. Some Christians view these passages as condemning all such behavior, while other interpret the same passages as accepting it on a par with opposite-sex sexual behavior.
On this web site, we use the following definition:
"We accept as Christian any individual or group who devoutly, sincerely, thoughtfully, and seriously believe that they follow Yeshua of Nazareth's (a.k.a. Jesus Christ's) teachings as they interpret them to be."
This generates a lot of
angry Emails from some visitors to this site who are insistent on
excluding the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon church),
and/or many other denominations as sub-Christian, quasi-Christian,
non-Christian, anti-Christian, or Pagan.
- We treat Christianity in much greater detail than other religions, simply
because, in 2016, about 68% of U.S. adults identify themselves with that religion. Christians in the U.S. outnumber the next largest organized religions, Judaism and Islam, by
at least 35 to 1. We are not in any way implying
that Christianity is superior or inferior to other religions. It is
simply much more popular in this web site's primary catchment area -- the countries where most of its visitors live.
Why this web site is VERY different from almost all other religious web sites:
There are probably tens of millions of religious web sites on the Internet.
A Google search for "God" returned almost 1.7 billion hits. A search for "Christianity" returned almost 1.4 billion hits.
Most religious web sites describe and promote only a single tradition or faith group within a single religion. It is typically the faith group of the Webmaster or of the agency that sponsors the web site.
This web site differs from almost all other religious web sites in both its goals and content:
- Its main goal is to promote religious tolerance, coexistence, cooperation, dialogue, and understanding.
- We promote people's freedom to hold whatever religious beliefs that they wish, along with their freedom of religious assembly and proselytizing.
- We condemn actions that harm other people and thereby violate the Golden Rule -- including religious actions.
- We try to maintain the web site's content up to date, accurate, and objective.
What we don't do is:
- To promote any one religion as superior all other religions.
- To promote one denomination or faith group over all others within a single religion.
- Promote religion, in general, as superior to secularism.
- Promote secularism, in general, as superior to religion.
- Condemn religious beliefs.
We recommend that you read these items first. Otherwise the remaining information may not make much sense.
About the Bible:
||Christian books in and out of the Bible: Content, stories, organization, origin, versions, inerrancy,
forgeries, copying errors, inspiration, tools, early Gospels and Epistles that were never accepted into the
|Codes in the Bible: Real, imaginary, or a hoax?|
||The Bible, the world and its people: geology; cosmology; prophecy; Wicca/Witchcraft and the Bible;
are some Bible verses hate literature?|
||Themes & topics in the Bible:
A range of Christian interpretations about the Ten Commandments, abortion, anti-semitism, homosexuality,
the role of women, predictions of the end of the world, salvation.... |
|Apparently immoral passages in the Bible: Incitements to genocide, intolerance, oppression, violence, etc. in the Bible.|
||Scapegoating: the transferability of sin: Punishing the innocent for the sins of the guilty|
Objective and subjective standards. What the Bible says vs. what one's interpretation of what the Bible says: An essay by Susan Humphreys
Don't Read the Bible Alone: Study the Bible with a Commentary and with Other Students An essay by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Personalities within Christianity:
||Beliefs, creeds, history, practices,
polls, rituals, ecumenicalism,
joint efforts, schismatic forces, holy days, trends, urban legends, hoaxes, relics, movies.|
|Relations with, and comparisons to, other religions|
One source estimates that there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. We have descriptions of
Denomination, (from the Amish to The Way)
Meta-group, (Roman Catholicism,
Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism......)
Wing, (conservative, mainline and liberal)
Religious family, (Adventist, Baptist, Lutheran, Reform....)
Systems of belief (Arminianism, British Israelism, Calvinism...)
Links to web sites of Christian
denominations, churches, para-church groups, etc:
You can safely order these Christian books from Amazon.com
Links to other inclusive religious web sites:
There are tens of millions of religious web sites on the Internet. A Google search for "God" returned almost 1.7 billion hits. Most describe and promote only a single tradition or faith group within a single religion. It is typically the faith group of the Webmaster or of the agency that sponsors the web site.
Some of the other sites that cover a broad range of faith groups are:
Beliefnet.com discusses topics from all religions re: inspiration, spirituality, faith, news etc.
Churchbud is a free social network dedicated to the entire Christian world.
Patheos.com provides balanced views of religion and spirituality.
One remarkable essay is from John Pavlovitz, a Christian minister with 18 years in the field. He describes himself as a: "a Very Tired Christian." He has written an essay which id directed to "Offended Christians. It starts:
"I’m terribly sorry that your feelings are hurt again. I feel badly about that. None of us likes to be criticized, so I totally get it.
I know I’ve said some pretty hard words to you recently, and maybe I’ve been somewhat less than “cheery” in my delivery, but that happens when you’re tired.
And I am really tired."
We strongly recommend reading that essay. It is at: Dear Offended Christian, From a Very Tired Christian
- There are problems with this quotation:
- It has been variously attributed to Sam Pascoe,
an American scholar and to Richard Halverson, former chaplain to the U.S.
Senate. Pascoe is cited on the Internet as the author more than ten times as often as
- A case can be made that Christianity did not start in
Palestine. According to Acts 11, the followers of Jesus were first called
Christians in Antioch. Also, the Romans imposed the name "Palestine" on the
Holy Land only circa 135 CE, long after most or all of the books of the Christian
Scriptures (New Testament) were written. Finally, the first followers of
Yeshua of Nazareth, led by Jesus' brother James the Just, considered themselves as Jews, as a new tradition within Judaism, not the
followers of a new religion.
- David Barrett et al, "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200,"
Oxford University Press, (2001). Read reviews or order this book safely
from Amazon.com online book store
Copyright © 1998 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Last updated 2015-DEC-12
Author: Bruce A Robinson