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Of the world’s population of 7.8 billion, Christianity is the most widely practised religion in the world, with more than 2 billion followers. Next in popularity are 1.5 billion followers of Islam and 900 million Hindu. There are many beliefs that Christians have in common. There are however, not unsurprisingly, also many differences in the more than 21,000 Christian denominations.

Beliefs held in common by Christians Show more Show less

While Christianity started with a small group of adherents, many historians regard the spread and adoption of Christianity throughout the world as one of the most successful spiritual missions in human history.
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The Holy Bible is a sacred book which contains the Word of God

The Holy Book of Christianity is the Bible. It is comprised of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians believe that the Old Testament is a shadow of Christ's coming. The New Testament records Christ's teachings, the establishment of the Church, and prophecies about the future.

Context

All over the world, Christians view The Holy Bible as an integral part of their faith and the means through which the teachings of the Lord are imparted onto His followers - in America alone, a 2014 study found that about 35% of the adult population reads the Holy Scripture at least once a week and views this as an important practice for their faith.[1] An issue for scholarly and religious debate is the extent to which the Holy Bible should be taken as the literal word of God or as a largely man-made book with the aim of teaching society morals through grand tales of supernatural and omnipotent powers.

The Argument

The primary sacred text of Christianity is the Bible, and Biblical scripture is the foundation for all Christian beliefs. Different denominations also pay additional attention to tradition. Tradition is the consensual belief of the Church that began to be developed in the second and third centuries. Theology is based upon Scripture, and tradition refers to a traditional way of interpreting scripture.[2] Today, many Christians still believe the Bible is sacred and that the community of believers need to continuously engage with it so as to honour the Word of the Risen Lord. On the 1st of January 2020, Pope Francis passed a special papal decree declaring the 26th of January 2020 the "Sunday of the Word of God" - an invitation to Catholics and believers all over to study and share the Holy Bible and deepen their appreciation of the Scriptures. [3] The interpretation of the Holy Bible as the literal and direct word of God and Jesus is historically important because it had, and continues to have, significant influence over how individuals chose to live their lives and form communities. Christians believe the Bible is sacred because it is a method through which Jesus speaks to everyone. In order to live a life of faith and devotion and gain entry to the Heavens and eternal life, Christians believe one ought to abide by the Word and treat the Sacred Scripture and the sacraments as inseparable.

Counter arguments

Selina O'Grady, author of And Man Created God,[4] cites that the science seems to point towards the Bible being a literary work. She argues that the Bible was, at best, inspired by the life of Jesus who was an ordinary man and did not actually live a life of celibacy. Jesus' followers, in particular, Paul, embellished Jesus's life story post-mortem in a cult-like fashion, and that is how the celibate, miracle-performing Jesus the world has come to know was born. Therefore, the Bible is not God's direct words, and Scripture is not sacred. [5] Additionally, studies show a year-on-year decline in the number of people who believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. In 2017 this stood at only 24%, a record low. [6]

Proponents

Framing

The Scripture is integral to living a life of faith

Premises

The Holy Bible is the literal Word of God There cannot be any disjunct between the Word and a Christian lifestyle.

Rejecting the premises

No empirical way to prove that God exists, and consequently that the Holy Bible is HIs literal Word.

References

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/14/5-facts-on-how-americans-view-the-bible-and-other-religious-texts/
  2. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/religion/analysing-major-sources-of-theology-religion-essay.php
  3. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2020/01/pope-sets-special-day-to-honor-study-share-the-bible/
  4. https://books.google.co.za/books/about/And_Man_Created_God.html?id=JWA2rkq2P9IC&redir_esc=y
  5. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/when-a-sacred-text-is-not-so-much-the-word-of-god-as-the-word-of-man-8163653.html
  6. https://news.gallup.com/poll/210704/record-few-americans-believe-bible-literal-word-god.aspx

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 18:24 UTC

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