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A more detailed introduction to Christianity

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Why essays in this section are important to read:

bulletMany Christians are familiar with the beliefs and teachings of their own denomination, but have never been exposed to the amazing diversity of beliefs within Christianity.
bulletMany Christians have never been taught how their own denomination's beliefs changed down through the centuries.
bulletMany non-Christians also are unaware of the current range of beliefs and practices among Christians.
bulletMany people are unaware of the methods by which various denominations extracted their very different beliefs and practices out of a single book -- the Bible.

Problems involved in writing about Christianity:

Many Christians believe that a Christian is a follower of Jesus or that a Christian is exactly who the Bible defines to be Christian. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on precisely what Jesus' teachings were, and exactly how the Bible defines Christians. Estimates of the percentage of American adults who are Christian varies from about 80% to less than 1% depending upon which faith group's definition that one uses.

There are on the order of 1,500 different Christian faith groups in North America which promote many different and conflicting beliefs. Further, many groups believe that they alone are the "true" Christian church and that all of the others are in error. Consider, for example, belief in Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ). There are Christian groups that consider him purely divine, others consider him as 100% human and 100% divine; still others consider him as purely human -- the greatest of all of the prophets.

And so, while the followers of any given Christian faith group are certain that they are Christian, some have doubts about hundreds of other denominations and sects.

On this site, we use the same definition as is used by public opinion pollsters and government census bureaus. We define as Christian any person or group who sincerely, devoutly, seriously believe that they are Christian. This makes some of our visitors very angry, and is responsible for more negative Emails than any other topic.

Please read these essays first:

Otherwise the remaining information may not make much sense.

bullet A brief description of events, circa 4 BCE until now
bulletCurrent status; an example of diversity of beliefs; this web site's section on Christianity
bulletWho is a Christian?
bulletDivisions among Protestant denominations (Some people look upon Christianity as a series of religions, and view Protestant Christianity as composed of at least two separate religions.) 

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These are also important essays:

bulletDifferences between Roman Catholicism and conservative Protestantism
bulletInterpreting the Bible:
bulletFour main methods by which Christians interpret the Bible
bulletExamples of passages interpreted by using different methods

Last updated 2013-MAY-27

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