In Christianity, it is believed that God is the eternal and supreme being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe in a monotheistic conception of God, which is both transcendent (totally independent of the material universe and remote from it) and imminent (involved in the material universe). Christian teachings on the transcendence, immanence and participation of God in the world and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe (rejection of pantheism), but accept that the divine nature of God was hypostatically united with human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in a unique event known as the Incarnation. Christianity is the most practiced religion in the world, with more than 2 billion followers.
The Christian faith focuses on beliefs about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although it began with a small group of followers, many historians consider the spread and adoption of Christianity around the world to be one of the most successful spiritual missions in human history. Most historians believe that Jesus was a real person who was born between 2 and. C.
Much of what scholars know about Jesus comes from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. According to the text, Jesus was born to a young Jewish virgin named Mary in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Christians believe that conception was a supernatural event, in which God impregnated Mary through the Holy Spirit. Very little is known about Jesus' childhood.
The Scriptures reveal that he grew up in Nazareth, that he and his family fled the persecution of King Herod and moved to Egypt, and that his “earthly father,” Joseph, was a carpenter. Jesus was raised as a Jew and, according to most scholars, his goal was to reform Judaism, not to create a new religion. When he was around 30 years old, Jesus began his public ministry after being baptized in the Jordan River by the prophet known as John the Baptist. For about three years, Jesus traveled with 12 appointed disciples (also known as the 12 Apostles), teaching large groups of people and performing what witnesses described as miracles.
Some of the best-known miraculous events include resurrecting a dead man named Lazarus from the grave, walking on water and healing the blind. Jesus used parables, short stories with hidden messages in his teachings. In one of Jesus' most famous speeches, which became known as the Sermon on the Mount, he summarized many of his moral instructions for his followers. Many scholars believe that Jesus died between A.D.
30, D. AND 33 A, D. According to the Bible, Jesus was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. The Roman governor Pontius Pilate issued the order to kill Jesus after being pressured by Jewish leaders who alleged that Jesus was guilty of a variety of crimes, including blasphemy.
Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers in Jerusalem, and his body was placed in a tomb. According to the scriptures, three days after his crucifixion, the body of Jesus was missing. In the days after Jesus died, some people reported their sightings and encounters with him. The authors of the Bible say that the resurrected Jesus ascended to Heaven.
The Old Testament, which is also recognized by followers of Judaism, describes the history of the Jewish people, describes the specific laws to follow, details the lives of many prophets, and predicts the coming of the Messiah. The Acts of the Apostles is a New Testament book that recounts the ministry of the apostles after the death of Jesus. The author of Acts is the same author as one of the Gospels; in fact, it is the “second part” of the Gospels, which occurred after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The last book of the New Testament, Revelation, describes a vision and prophecies that will occur at the end of the world, as well as metaphors for describing the state of the world.
According to the Bible, the first church was organized 50 days after the death of Jesus, on the day of Pentecost, when it was said that the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of Jesus. Most of the first Christians were Jewish converts, and the church was centered in Jerusalem. Soon after the church was created, many Gentiles (non-Jews) embraced Christianity. The first Christians considered it to be their call to spread and teach the Gospel.
One of the most important missionaries was the apostle Paul, a former persecutor of Christians. Paul's conversion to Christianity after having a supernatural encounter with Jesus is described in Acts of the Apostles. Paul preached the gospel and established churches throughout the Roman Empire, Europe and Africa. The first Christians were persecuted for their faith by Jewish and Roman leaders.
In 64 A, D. Many were brutally tortured and killed during this time. Under Emperor Domitian, Christianity was illegal. If a person confessed to being a Christian, they were executed.
Starting from 303 A, D. This became known as the Great Persecution. When the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, religious tolerance changed in the Roman Empire. During this time, there were several groups of Christians with different ideas about how to interpret the Scriptures and the role of the church.
In 313 A.D.,. Later, he tried to unify Christianity and solve the problems that divided the church by establishing the Nicene Creed. Many scholars believe that Constantine's conversion was a turning point in Christian history. Catholics expressed deep devotion to the Virgin Mary, recognized the seven sacraments and honored relics and holy places.
When the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD. In 1054 AD, D. AND 1230 AD, D. In these battles, Christians fought against the Islamic rulers and their Muslim soldiers to claim the holy land in the city of Jerusalem.
Christians managed to occupy Jerusalem during some of the Crusades, but were eventually defeated. After the Crusades, the power and wealth of the Catholic Church increased. In 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther published 95 theses, a text that criticized certain acts of the Pope and protested against some of the practices and priorities of the Roman Catholic Church. Later, Luther publicly said that the Bible did not give the Pope the exclusive right to read and interpret the Scriptures.
Luther's ideas drove the Reformation, a movement that aimed to reform the Catholic Church. As a result, Protestantism was created and, eventually, different denominations of Christianity began to form. The Catholic branch is governed by the Pope and Catholic bishops from around the world. The Orthodox (or Eastern Orthodox) are divided into independent units, each governed by a Holy Synod; there is no central government structure similar to that of the Pope.
There are numerous denominations within Protestant Christianity, many of which differ in their interpretation of the Bible and in their understanding of the church. Although the many sects of Christianity have different views, defend separate traditions, and worship in different ways, the core of their faith is centered on the life and teachings of Jesus. Subscribe to receive fascinating stories that connect the past with the present. The Renaissance was a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “revival” that followed the Middle Ages.
The Renaissance, generally described as something that took place between the 14th and 17th centuries, promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy,. read more The Bible is the sacred scripture of the Christian religion, which seeks to tell the story of the Earth from its earliest creation to the spread of Christianity in the first century AD, D. Both the Old and New Testaments have undergone changes over the centuries,. read more The Protestant Reformation was the religious, political, intellectual and cultural agitation of the 16th century that divided Catholic Europe, establishing the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era.
In the north and center of Europe, the reformers. Read more Mary Magdalene was one of the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the Bible, she traveled with him, witnessed his crucifixion and was one of the first people to learn of his resurrection. Throughout the centuries, everyone from the leaders and scholars of.
Read more Born in Eisleben, Germany, in the 14th century, Luther became one of the most important figures in Western history. Luther spent his early years in relative anonymity as a monk and scholar. But in 1517, Luther wrote a document in which he attacked the corrupt practice of the Catholic Church. Read more For centuries, billions of people have read the Bible.
Scholars have spent their lives studying it, while rabbis, ministers and priests have focused on interpreting, teaching and preaching from its pages. As a sacred text for two of the world's major religions, Judaism and. Read more Judaism is the world's oldest monotheistic religion, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Followers of Judaism believe in a single God who revealed himself through ancient prophets.
The history of Judaism is essential to understanding the Jewish faith, which has a rich legal heritage,. Read more. Before going into the 7 fundamental beliefs of Christianity, let's look at one of the most famous creeds used throughout the history of the church, the Apostles' Creed. Christians believe that there is only one God, whom they call Father, as Jesus Christ taught them.
They recognize Jesus as the Son of God and believe that God functions as a Trinity. Previous studies by the Pew Research Center have shown that the proportion of Americans who believe in God with absolute certainty has declined in recent years, while the proportion who say they have doubts about the existence of God—or who don't believe in God at all—has increased. A new Pew Research Center survey in more than 4,700 U.S. UU.
Adults discover that a third of Americans say they don't believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe that there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A scant majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God “as described in the Bible”. And one in ten doesn't believe in any higher power or spiritual force. In the United States,.
In fact, almost three-quarters of religious “nones” (72%) believe in some kind of higher power, even if not in God, as described in the Bible. The survey questions that mention the Bible don't specify any particular verse or translation, leaving each respondent to understand. But other survey questions make it clear that Americans who claim to believe in God “as described in the Bible,” generally imagine an all-powerful, omniscient, and loving deity who determines most or all of what happens in their lives. Conversely, people who claim to believe in a “higher power or spiritual force” —but not in God as described in the Bible—are much less likely to believe in a deity who is omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, and active in human affairs.
Overall, about half of Americans (48%) say that God or another higher power directly determines what happens in their lives all or most of the time. An additional 18% say that God or some other higher power determines what happens to them “only part of the time.”. Nearly eight out of ten United States,. Adults think that God or a higher power has protected them, and two-thirds say they have been rewarded by the Almighty.
By comparison, some fewer see God as critical and punitive. Six out of ten Americans say that God or a higher power will judge all people for what they have done, and four out of ten say they have been punished by God or by the spiritual force that they believe is at work in the universe. In addition, the survey reveals that three-quarters of American adults say they are trying to talk to God (or another higher power in the universe), and approximately three out of ten Americans,. Adults say that God (or a higher power) responds.
The survey also asked separately about prayer rates. People who pray regularly are especially likely to say that they talk to God and that God speaks to them. However, the survey shows that praying and talking to God are not fully interchangeable. For example, four out of ten people (39%) who say they rarely or never pray, yet report that they talk to God.
Those who answered “yes” (80% of all respondents) received a follow-up question asking them to clarify whether they believed in “God” as described in the Bible or if they “don't believe in God as described in the Bible, but do believe that there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe.”. The majority of people in this group—in fact, a small majority of all Americans (56%) —say they believe in God as described in the Bible. Those who answered the first question saying they don't believe in God (19% of all respondents) also received a follow-up question. They were asked to clarify if “they don't believe in God as described in the Bible, but they do believe that there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe or, on the contrary, “they don't believe that there is ANY higher power or spiritual force in the universe.”.
Of this group, approximately half (10 per cent of the United States,. (Adults) say they don't believe in any higher power or spiritual force of any kind. In total, a third of those surveyed ultimately say that even though they don't believe in the God of the Bible, they do believe in a higher power or spiritual force of some kind, including 23% who initially said they believed in God and 9% who initially said they didn't believe in God. Why, then, is this an opportune time to conduct a new survey that explores American beliefs about God? These trends raise a variety of questions.
When Americans say they don't believe in God, what exactly do they reject? Is it just the number of Americans who believe in God that is changing, or are the underlying beliefs and concepts of God changing as well? How many Americans today view God as an all-powerful being who continually intercedes in their lives, distributing punishments or rewards? And how many believe in some other type of spiritual force (one that, for example, may be less critical or less active in human affairs)? The current survey includes many new questions designed to begin to address these issues. However, one thing the new survey cannot do is provide a direct indication of how beliefs about God have changed in recent years. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, the wording of many questions in the new survey is different from the wording of the questions in previous Pew Research Center surveys.
Second, the way the new survey (online) was administered differs from the way the previous Pew Research Center surveys were conducted (phone). For both reasons, it is not possible to make direct comparisons with previous surveys to measure changes over time. However, the new survey can help illuminate how Americans conceive of God at this particular time and also establish a basis for future studies that can go further to establish how and why beliefs about God are changing over time. When asked additional questions about what they believe to be God or another higher power in the universe, those who believe in God, as described in the Bible, and those who believe in another type of higher power or spiritual force express substantially different points of view.
In short, those who believe in the God of the Bible tend to perceive a more powerful, knowledgeable, benevolent, and active deity. For example, almost all adults who claim to believe in the God of the Bible say that they think that God loves all people regardless of their faults, and that God has protected them. More than nine out of ten people who believe in the biblical God imagine a deity who knows everything that is happening in the world, and almost nine out of ten say that God has rewarded them and that he has the power to direct or change everything that happens in the world. Far fewer people who believe in some other higher power or spiritual force (but not in the God of the Bible) attribute these attributes and actions to that higher power.
Even so, even among this group, half or more say they believe that another higher power in the universe loves all people (69%), is omniscient (53%), has protected them (68%) and rewarded them (53%). Belief in God, as described in the Bible, is most pronounced among the United States. Overall, eight out of ten self-identified Christians say they believe in the God of the Bible, while one in five doesn't believe in the biblical description of God, but do believe in some kind of higher power. Very few self-identified Christians (only 1%) say they don't believe in any higher power at all.
When asked about a variety of possible attributes or characteristics of God, U.S. Christians, in general, paint a portrait that reflects common Christian teachings about God. For example, 93% of Christians believe that God (or another higher power in the universe) loves all people, regardless of their faults. Nearly nine out of ten (87%) say that God knows everything that is happening in the world.
And approximately eight out of ten (78%) believe that God has the power to direct or change everything that happens in the world. Christians believe that God possesses these three attributes: that deity is loving, omniscient, and omnipotent. However, the survey finds significant differences in the way various Christian subgroups perceive God. For example, while nine out of ten people from historically black (92%) and evangelical (91%) Protestant and evangelical traditions say they believe in God as described in the Bible, a smaller majority of Protestants and mainstream Catholics claim to have faith in the biblical God1, a sizeable minority of Catholics (28%) and mainstream Protestants (26%) say they believe in a higher power or a spiritual force, but not in God as described in the Bible.
Similarly, while approximately nine out of ten followers of the historically black Protestant tradition (91%) and evangelicals (87%) believe that God is all loving, omniscient, and all-powerful, only six out of ten top Catholics and Protestants say that God possesses all three attributes. Evangelicals and those who belong to the historically black Protestant tradition are also more likely than members of other major United States,. Christian traditions say that God has protected, rewarded and punished them personally. But in all subgroups, Christians are much more likely to say that God has protected and rewarded them than that God has punished them.
See chapter 2 for more information. About a quarter of religious “nones” (27%) say they don't believe in any kind of higher power. But there are big differences based on how, exactly, the members of this group describe their religious identity. None of the respondents who describe themselves as atheists believe in God as described in the Bible.
However, approximately one in five believes in some other type of higher power or spiritual force in the universe (18%). Approximately eight out of ten self-described atheists (81%) say they don't believe in any kind of higher power. Self-described agnostics look very different from atheists in this matter. While very few agnostics (3%) say they believe in God as described in the Bible, a clear majority (62%) say they believe in some other type of spiritual force.
Only three out of ten say that there is no higher power in the universe. Respondents who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” are even more likely to express their belief in a deity; nine out of ten take this position, reflecting the U.S. stance. While most people in this “nothing in particular” group believe in a spiritual force other than the biblical God (60%), a sizeable minority (28%) say they do believe in God as described in the Bible.
The survey also shows that, compared to older adults, those under 50 generally view God as less powerful and less involved in earthly affairs than older Americans. However, at the same time, young adults are somewhat more likely than their elders to say that they believe they have been personally punished by God or by a higher power in the universe. Adults with a secondary education or lower, two-thirds say they believe in God as described in the Bible. Far fewer adults who have obtained any form of college education say they believe in God as described in the Bible (53%).
And among college graduates, less than half (45%) say they believe in the biblical God. The data also shows that, compared to those with lower educational levels, college graduates are less likely to believe that God (or another higher power in the universe) is active and involved in the world and in their personal lives. For example, while approximately half of college graduates (54%) say they have been rewarded by God, two-thirds of those with some form of college education (68%) and three-quarters of those with secondary education or less (75%) say the same thing. And only a third of college graduates say that God determines all or most of what happens in their lives, far below the proportion of people who say this among people with less education.
Republicans and Democrats have very different notions about God. Among Republicans and those who lean towards the Republican Party, seven out of ten say they believe in God as described in the Bible. Democrats and those who lean toward Democrats, on the other hand, are much less likely to believe in God as described in the Bible (45%), and are more likely than Republicans to believe in another type of higher power (39% versus. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say they don't believe in any higher power or spiritual force in the universe (14% versus.
In addition, while 85% of Republicans believe that God loves all people, eight out of ten believe that God knows everything and seven out of ten believe that God is all-powerful; Democrats are less likely to express each of these views. Two-thirds of Republicans say they believe God possesses these three attributes, compared to about half of Democrats (49%). Republicans are also more likely than Democrats to say that God has protected, rewarded, or punished them (see chapter. In stark contrast to non-white Democrats, only a third of white Democrats say they believe in God as described in the Bible, while 21% don't believe in any kind of higher power.
And only one in three white Democrats say they believe that God (or other higher power in the universe) is omniscient, all-powerful, and loving. About the Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan data center that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends that shape the world. Conducts public opinion surveys, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical research in social sciences. The Pew Research Center does not adopt political positions.
It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Seven out of ten adults not affiliated with religion believe in some kind of higher power, including 17% who say they believe in God as described in the Bible and 53% who believe in some other form of higher power or spiritual force in the universe. Excerpts from Answers to Difficult Questions Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith Josh McDowell and Don Stewart. Compared to Christians, Jews and people with no religious affiliation are much more likely to say that they don't believe in God or any higher power of any kind.
The Christian Church believes in a baptism in the Christian church, whether as a baby or as an adult, as an external sign of an internal commitment to the teachings of Jesus. While the real nature of this life is unknown, Christians believe that many spiritual experiences in this life help give them an idea of what eternal life will be like. Even so, the vast majority of both groups believe in a deity (89% among Jews, 72% among religious “nones”), including 56% of Jews and 53% of people not affiliated with religion who say they don't believe in the God of the Bible, but do believe in some other higher power of spiritual strength in the universe. .