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A Brief History Of Christianity

The majority of Christians believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Israel, the son of Jewish parents, Mary and Joseph, a carpenter, who had travelled from Nazareth to pay their annual taxes. Mary gave birth, so the story goes, on the 25th December in a stables and Christian countries mark that as the beginning of their calendar, in a similar manner that Buddhists and Muslims mark the birth of their spiritual leaders as the beginning of their calendars.

However, not very much is really known about Jesus and nothing is known about him from his own hand. The nearest we can get to him are books or gospels written some time after his death by alleged disciples. He was almost certainly not born in the year one, or dot as it should have been, but four years earlier.

There is little to nothing known about him for the first thirty years of his life and then when he was thirty-two he was baptized by John the Baptist. Being Jewish himself, John the Baptist was continually on the look out for the Messiah and he saw Jesus as that Messiah.

Jesus was unlike other ministers of the time in that he worked chiefly among the poor, although it is very doubtful that he came from a deprived family himself. He was after all from the House of David, the ruling royal family of the day and age.

Within a couple of years of ministering to the poor and calling himself the son of God, he was arrested by the Roman and Jewish ruling class and, as most Christians believe, crucified. After three days he rose from the dead and after forty days his spirit went up into Heaven to sit at the right hand of his father, God.

Christians see their Bible as an extension of Judaism rather than a denial or a breaking away from it. It is to be expected that the first followers of Jesus were ostracized by traditional Jewish leaders as a break-away sect and in many ways that is what Christianity still is to this day, although it now has more followers than Judaism.

The Christian Bible is in two sections, the Old Testament, which correlates to the Jewish Bible or Masorah and the New Testament, which relates to the time after Jesus' birth which is not included in the Masorah.

The most important part of the New Testament by far is the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each of these gospels shows Jesus, his life and his teachings from the personal standpoint of the author, all of them having been one of Jesus' apostles.

The basis of Christian belief is: 1] that Jesus was the embodiment of God on Earth; 2] atonement - ie that Jesus' death atoned for the sins of all mankind in eternity, so we can all go to Heaven; 3] that the one God has three aspects: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

After that it gets a bit difficult.


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