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What do Christians believe?

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

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.

Christians believe in the Trinity, Jesus Christ, and the Church

The beliefs that (broadly) Christian denominations share.

Christian History/schism

When did Christianity split into so many parts? Along what lines did it split?

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.

Christian Worship

Christian worship can take many forms, but most denominations have some form of Communion.

Christian Clergy

The clergy of the Christian church consists of ordained ministers.

Christian values lead to oppressive policies and laws

The Christian faith can be used to justify the oppression of minorities.

Christian Miscellaneous beliefs

The core of Christianity, no matter what particular sect or region of the world, dictates the fundamental beliefs of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. They run consistently throughout the teachings of early Christians and the Gospel incorporates them as essential aspects of the Christian faith.

Catholics - points of difference

Catholicism is by far the largest branch of Christianity with an estimated 1.285 billion followers.

What do Catholics believe?

The differentiating views of Catholicism, as it differentiates itself from other forms of Christianity.

Catholic History/schism

The history of the schism that led to the formation of the Catholic church.

Catholic Holy books

The Catholic church's primary text is the Holy Bible, but it also places a huge amount of importance on the Catholic church's traditions.

Catholic Worship

One of the primary practices of Catholics is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which bread and wine are physically transformed into the blood and body of Christ.

The history of how the Catholic clergy has been a large part of Catholicism

The Catholic clergy has been a part of Catholicism since the religion was founded. Priests, cardinals, and the pope are well known symbols that have served the community and God for centuries. They have influenced the Christian world for centuries.

Catholic Politics and attitudes to equality

The Catholic church is traditionally heavily patriarchal and anti-LGBT.

Catholic Miscellaneous beliefs

Some of the differentiating beliefs of the Catholic church.

Eastern Orthodox - points of difference

Eastern Orthodoxy are one of the oldest religions in the world. There are around 270 million people that follow the Orthodox tradition. It’s followers live mainly in the Balkans, the Middle East, and former Soviet countries.

What do Eastern Orthodox Christians believe?

Orthodox Christians believe that they practice the true and original Christian faith.

Eastern Orthodox History/schism

Eastern Orthodoxy originally split from Catholicism in 1054.

Eastern Orthodox Holy books

Orthodoxy focuses on the Bible, but additionally the canons of the Ecumenical Councils.

Eastern Orthodox Worship

Orthodox Christian worship focuses on iconography, Holy Communion, and repeated prayer.

Eastern Orthodox Clergy

Bishops in the Eastern Orthodox church are distinctive by their long beards.

Eastern Orthodox Politics and attitudes to equality

Eastern Orthodoxy has very strict ideals, particularly when it comes to the sanctity of marriage.

Eastern Orthodox Miscellaneous beliefs

Differentiating beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox church.

Protestants - points of difference

There are approximately 1 billion Protestant adherents worldwide or about 37% of all Christians. A Protestant is an adherent of any Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them.

What do Protestants believe?

Protestants believe in a union with God Almighty without the interjection of the middle man, i.e. the priest. While ministers are knowledgeable and blessed enough to help man interpret the Scripture, the relationship between God and man himself is holy and has no space for saints or any other intermediary.

Protestant History/schism

Protestants split from the Catholic church in the 16th century.

Protestant Holy books

Protestants place most of their belief in the Bible, without the reverence for church tradition that Catholicism or Orthodoxy have.

Protestant Worship

Protestant worship varies between denomination, but centres on the Bible.

Protestant Clergy

Women are allowed in the Protestant clergy, and priests can marry.

Politics and attitudes to equality

Protestant churches tend to be more liberal than others.

Protestant Miscellaneous beliefs

Protestants do not believe in purgatory and believe Catholics over-idolise the Virgin Mary.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - points of difference

There are over 16 million Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints – often called the Mormon church.

What do members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe?

The primary beliefs of the LDS church are rooted in Mormonism, and the teachings of its founder, Joseph Smith. With the vast majority of Mormons belonging to the church, they follow the core tenets of the religion but reject some of its fringe components, such as polygamy.

The history of the LDS community and the split away from other denominations

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) split from other denominations of Christianity in the early 1800s. The LDS was founded on the basis as a restoration of the early Christian church.

LDS Holy books

The LDS have four main holy texts: the Christian Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

LDS Worship

The LDS place a large amount of importance on repentance and baptism.

LDS Church Officers

Men in the LDS who meet certain standards are ordained to specific offices.

LDS Politics and attitudes to equality

The LDS believes in the subservience of women to men within the traditional patriarchal system. Women are to be the primary caregivers, dress moderately, and submit to her husband's authority as he is the "head of the family."

A collection of the Latter-day Saints' miscellaneous beliefs

The LDS community has beliefs and traditions that are different from other Christian denominations. Their beliefs apply to spirituality, the afterlife, family, health, and even clothing.

Quakers - points of difference

There are around 210,000 Quakers in the world. Some do and some don’t consider themselves Christian.

What do Quakers believe?

Quakers are very different to other Christian denominations - some argue it is not Christianity at all.

Quakers History/schism

The Quakers were founded in the mid-17th century in Lancashire.

Quakers Holy books

Unlike other denominations, Quakers do not believe any one book is the 'Word of God'.

Quakers Worship

Quakers don't have set worship practices, but believe in incorporating the sacred into every part of their lives.

Quakers Clergy

Quakers do not believe a clergy is necessary to communicate with God.

Quakers Politics and attitudes to equality

Quakers are heavily involved in social and political issues, having firm tolerant pacifist beliefs.

Quakers Miscellaneous beliefs

Quakers do not participate in Christian holidays or have set views on the afterlife.

Being Amish - points of difference

Amish are an American Protestant group with around 200,000 members.

What do the Amish believe?

The Amish are a Christian denomination that subscribes to the teachings of Jacob Ammann. The Amish intentionally live simple lifestyles, which is reflected in their lack of belief in individualism; the way they dress, prepare their meals, and refuse modern technology is based on their belief to serve God without temptation or pride.

Amish History/schism

The Amish church split from the Swiss Anabaptist church in 1693.

Amish Holy books

The Holy Bible is the only religious text the Amish believe in.

Amish Worship

Worship takes place in different households, rather than a church.

Amish Clergy

Amish ministers are not professional; they are chosen from within the community.

Amish politics and attitudes to equality

The Amish have firm beliefs. They are pacifists who reject all forms of violence. They also believe in set gender roles; men are the spiritual leaders at home and in the church, women are the caregivers. Abortion is prohibited under all circumstances and there are strict ideas on what constitutes sin, such as homosexuality.

Amish Miscellaneous beliefs

The Amish practice shunning against members who have transgressed.

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This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Apr 2020 at 19:56 UTC