The Christian religion
Religions of the world
|“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 often 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. Many 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, is viewed has having the “fullness of truth” while all other groups are in error to some degree.
The result is that is that many large religions are heavily fragmented. For example, Christianity includes tens of thousands of individual denominations and faith groups. 2 Estimates range from 20,000 to over 30,000.
This can lead to conflict. One recent example started in Northern Ireland during the late 1960’s. 3 It involved extensive clashes between Protestants and Catholics which tragically caused over 3,500 deaths.
In contrast, others view “Christianity” as including the full range of faith groups from the most conservative fundamentalist to the most progressive Christian denominations.
A main cause of this division is that that many passages passages in the Bible, seem to be ambiguous. Sincere, thoughtful, intelligent believers have interpreted 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 having nothing to say about same-sex sexual activity,
- On this web site, we use the following definition for Christianity:
“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 even Pagan.
- We treat Christianity in much greater detail than other religions, simply because about 68% of U.S. adults identify themselves with that religion, and the majority of visitors to this web site come from the U.S. 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 many million religious web sites among the 200 mIllion to 644 million active web sites on the Internet. (Sources differ)
On 2019-MAY-24, Google search for “God” returned over 3.5 billion hits. A search for “Christianity” returned about 287 million hits.
Most religious web sites describe and promote only a single denomination, 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 discriminate against and harm other people and thereby violate the Golden Rule — including those actions based on religious beliefs.
- 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, except where they harm others.
About the Bible:
Accessing verses and passages from the Bible:
- Bible Gateway.com displays Bible verses and passages as translated in many versions of the Bible. See: https://www.biblegateway.com/
- BibleVerses.com “… is optimized for screen readers and braille displays, tailored to individuals with low vision, color blindness, and any other sight impairment.” See: http://www.bibleverses.com/
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 Bible…..
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. Passages that are immoral by today’s ethical standards.
What creature is not in the Bible?
Scapegoating: the transferability of sin: Punishing the innocent for the sins of the guilty
Don’t Read the Bible Alone: Study the Bible with a Commentary and with Other Student An essay by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
Who is/was the “advocate” mentioned in John 16:5-11?
Personalities within Christianity:
Beliefs, creeds, history, practices, heresies, public opinion polls, rituals, ecumenicalism, joint efforts, schismatic forces, holy days, trends, urban legends, hoaxes, relics, movies
Relations with, and comparisons to, other religions
Why are so many U.S. Millennials abandoning Christianity?
Some recent events:
- The expansion of Christianity throughout the world:
One source estimates that there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. We have descriptions of
Christian faith groups can be sorted by:
Denominations, (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…)
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 is 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 Halverson.
- 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
- “Timeline of the Northern Ireland Troubles and peace process,” Wikipedia, as on 2019-FEB-07, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
- Originated at GospelMap.com
Site navigation: ]]> ]]>
Copyright © 1998 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated 2019-MAY-24
Author: Bruce A Robinson