Jesus Christ 10 Commandments Gold Bar Crucifix Ingot Easter Angels Birds Prayer

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Seller: notinashyway (17,047) 99.7%, Location: Look at my other Items, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 303229050333 Jesus Crucifixion Ten CommandmentsGold Ingot Have Jesus by your side always with this beautiful keepsake. The front side of this iconic keepsake features the crucifixion of Jesus, and the back side lists the Ten Commandments. If you are a parent or grandparent, sharing this incredible gift with your family is a great way to remind them that Jesus died for us and the meaning of the Ten Commandments. As they carry it in their pocket, they will ask themselves "What Would Jesus Do" when they find themselves in a difficult situation. weighs 1 troy ozcomes in a clear hardened case for safe keepingbeautiful mirror-like finishmakes for a wonderful conversation piece or gift for family, friends, or your fellow churchgoers Dimension 43mm x 30mm x 3mm Weights 1 oz 999/1000 Solid Gold Layered Comes in air-tight acrylic holding case A Beautiful and Magnificent Keepsake Souvenir In Excellent Condition Sorry about the poor quality photos. They dont do the coin justice which looks a lot better in real life II have a more religious Items on Ebay so why not > Check out my other items! Bid with Confidence - Check My Almost 100% Positive Feedback from over 16,400 Satisfied Customers I always combine postage so please check out my other items! 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Thanks for Looking and Best of Luck with the Bidding!!The Countries I Send to Include Afghanistan * Albania * Algeria * American Samoa (US) * Andorra * Angola * Anguilla (GB) * Antigua and Barbuda * Argentina * Armenia * Aruba (NL) * Australia * Austria * Azerbaijan * Bahamas * Bahrain * Bangladesh * Barbados * Belarus * Belgium * Belize * Benin * Bermuda (GB) * Bhutan * Bolivia * Bonaire (NL) * Bosnia and Herzegovina * Botswana * Bouvet Island (NO) * Brazil * British Indian Ocean Territory (GB) * British Virgin Islands (GB) * Brunei * Bulgaria * Burkina Faso * Burundi * Cambodia * Cameroon * Canada * Cape Verde * Cayman Islands (GB) * Central African Republic * Chad * Chile * China * Christmas Island (AU) * Cocos Islands (AU) * Colombia * Comoros * Congo * Democratic Republic of the Congo * Cook Islands (NZ) * Coral Sea Islands Territory (AU) * Costa Rica * Croatia * Cuba * Curaçao (NL) * Cyprus * Czech Republic * Denmark * Djibouti * Dominica * Dominican Republic * East Timor * Ecuador * Egypt * El Salvador * Equatorial Guinea * Eritrea * Estonia * Ethiopia * Falkland Islands (GB) * Faroe Islands (DK) * Fiji Islands * Finland * France * French Guiana (FR) * French Polynesia (FR) * French Southern Lands (FR) * Gabon * Gambia * Georgia * Germany * Ghana * Gibraltar (GB) * Greece * Greenland (DK) * Grenada * Guadeloupe (FR) * Guam (US) * Guatemala * Guernsey (GB) * Guinea * Guinea-Bissau * Guyana * Haiti * Heard and McDonald Islands (AU) * Honduras * Hong Kong (CN) * Hungary * Iceland * India * Indonesia * Iran * Iraq * Ireland * Isle of Man (GB) * Israel * Italy * Ivory Coast * Jamaica * Jan Mayen (NO) * Japan * Jersey (GB) * Jordan * Kazakhstan * Kenya * Kiribati * Kosovo * Kuwait * Kyrgyzstan * Laos * Latvia * Lebanon * Lesotho * Liberia * Libya * Liechtenstein * Lithuania * Luxembourg * Macau (CN) * Macedonia * Madagascar * Malawi * Malaysia * Maldives * Mali * Malta * Marshall Islands * Martinique (FR) * Mauritania * Mauritius * Mayotte (FR) * Mexico * Micronesia * Moldova * Monaco * Mongolia * Montenegro * Montserrat (GB) * Morocco * Mozambique * Myanmar * Namibia * Nauru * Navassa (US) * Nepal * Netherlands * New Caledonia (FR) * New Zealand * Nicaragua * Niger * Nigeria * Niue (NZ) * Norfolk Island (AU) * North Korea * Northern Cyprus * Northern Mariana Islands (US) * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * Palau * Palestinian Authority * Panama * Papua New Guinea * Paraguay * Peru * Philippines * Pitcairn Island (GB) * Poland * Portugal * Puerto Rico (US) * Qatar * Reunion (FR) * Romania * Russia * Rwanda * Saba (NL) * Saint Barthelemy (FR) * Saint Helena (GB) * Saint Kitts and Nevis * Saint Lucia * Saint Martin (FR) * Saint Pierre and Miquelon (FR) * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines * Samoa * San Marino * Sao Tome and Principe * Saudi Arabia * Senegal * Serbia * Seychelles * Sierra Leone * Singapore * Sint Eustatius (NL) * Sint Maarten (NL) * Slovakia * Slovenia * Solomon Islands * Somalia * South Africa * South Georgia (GB) * South Korea * South Sudan * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Suriname * Svalbard (NO) * Swaziland * Sweden * Switzerland * Syria * Taiwan * Tajikistan * Tanzania * Thailand * Togo * Tokelau (NZ) * Tonga * Trinidad and Tobago * Tunisia * Turkey * Turkmenistan * Turks and Caicos Islands (GB) * Tuvalu * U.S. Minor Pacific Islands (US) * U.S. Virgin Islands (US) * Uganda * Ukraine * United Arab Emirates * United Kingdom * United States * Uruguay * Uzbekistan * Vanuatu * Vatican City * Venezuela * Vietnam * Wallis and Futuna (FR) * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe Christianity JesusChrist [hide] Jesus in Christianity Virgin birth Crucifixion Resurrection appearances BibleFoundations [hide] Old Testament New Testament Gospel Canon Books Church Creed New Covenant Theology [hide] God Trinity Father Son Holy Spirit Apologetics Baptism Christology History of theology Mission Salvation HistoryTradition [hide] Mary Apostolic Age Apostles Jewish Christian Peter Paul Ante-Nicene Period Church Fathers Constantine Councils Augustine East–West Schism Crusades Aquinas Luther Reformation DenominationsGroups [hide] Western Catholic Western Orthodox Eastern Eastern Orthodox Oriental Orthodox Eastern Catholic Old Ritualists Assyrian Church of the East Protestant Adventist Anabaptist Anglican Baptist Calvinist Evangelical Holiness Lutheran Methodist Pentecostal Restorationist Latter Day Saints Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus' Name Pentecostalism Related topics [hide] Art Criticism Ecumenism Liturgy Music Other religions Prayer Sermon Symbolism Terrorism Christian cross Christianity portal vte Christianity[note 1] is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament.[2] It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.[3] Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their followers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon also attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, and the establishment of Christianity as a distinct religion. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state church of the Roman Empire (380). The early history of Christianity is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church", the united communion of the "orthodox" Christian churches before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology,[4] while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the bishop of Rome. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world via missionary work.[5][6][7] Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion), Protestantism (920 million), the Eastern Orthodox Church (260 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (86 million), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism).[8] Their theology and professions of faith, in addition to the Bible (scripture), generally hold in common that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into the grave and rose from the dead to grant eternal life to those who believe in him for the forgiveness of their sins. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with the Jewish Old Testament as the gospel's respected background. Christianity and Christian ethics played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization,[9][10][11][12][13] particularly around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Despite a decline in adherence in the West,[14] Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian.[15] Christianity is growing rapidly in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents.[16] Etymology In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers".[citation needed] Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (της οδου), probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord."[17][note 2] According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch.[23] The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.[1] Beliefs While Christians worldwide share basic convictions, there are also differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based.[24] Creeds An Eastern Christian icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 Main articles: Creed § Christian creeds, and List of Christian creeds Wikisource has original text related to this article: Apostles' Creed Wikisource has original text related to this article: Nicene Creed Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. The Apostles' Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Western Rite Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome.[25] Its main points include:[citation needed] Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful. The Nicene Creed was formulated, largely in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively,[26][27] and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.[28] The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451,[29] though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches,[30] taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably": one divine and one human, and that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are nevertheless also perfectly united into one person.[31] The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance."[32] Most Christians (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant alike) accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the creeds mentioned above.[33] Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another."[34]:111 Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, and the Churches of Christ.[35][36]:14–15[37]:123 Jesus Various depictions of Jesus Main articles: Jesus, Jesus in Christianity, and Christ (title) See also: Incarnation (Christianity) and Jesus in comparative mythology The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[38] While there have been many theological disputes over the nature of Jesus over the earliest centuries of Christian history, generally, Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate and "true God and true man" (or both fully divine and fully human). Jesus, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin. As fully God, he rose to life again. According to the New Testament, he rose from the dead,[39] ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father,[40] and will ultimately return[Acts 1:9–11] to fulfill the rest of the Messianic prophecy, including the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the final establishment of the Kingdom of God. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus' childhood is recorded in the canonical gospels, although infancy gospels were popular in antiquity. In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, is well documented in the gospels contained within the New Testament, because that part of his life is believed to be most important. The biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and deeds. Death and resurrection Main articles: Crucifixion of Jesus and Resurrection of Jesus See also: Overview of resurrection appearances in the Gospels and Paul (table) Crucifixion, representing the death of Jesus on the Cross, painting by Diego Velázquez, c. 1632 Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history.[41] Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based.[42] According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified, died a physical death, was buried within a tomb, and rose from the dead three days later.[Jn. 19:30–31] [Mk. 16:1] [16:6] The New Testament mentions several resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once",[1Cor 15:6] before Jesus' ascension to heaven. Jesus' death and resurrection are commemorated by Christians in all worship services, with special emphasis during Holy Week, which includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The death and resurrection of Jesus are usually considered the most important events in Christian theology, partly because they demonstrate that Jesus has power over life and death and therefore has the authority and power to give people eternal life.[43] Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions.[44] Some modern scholars use the belief of Jesus' followers in the resurrection as a point of departure for establishing the continuity of the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church.[45] Some liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection,[46][47] seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues.[48] Paul the Apostle, an early Christian convert and missionary, wrote, "If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless."[1Cor 15:14] [49] Salvation Main article: Salvation (Christianity) Paul the Apostle, like Jews and Roman pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life.[50] For Paul, the necessary sacrifice was the death of Jesus: Gentiles who are "Christ's" are, like Israel, descendants of Abraham and "heirs according to the promise".[Gal. 3:29] [51] The God who raised Jesus from the dead would also give new life to the "mortal bodies" of Gentile Christians, who had become with Israel, the "children of God", and were therefore no longer "in the flesh".[Rom. 8:9,11,16] [50] Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be saved from a universal condition of sin and death than the question of how both Jews and Gentiles can be in God's family. According to Eastern Orthodox theology, based upon their understanding of the atonement as put forward by Irenaeus' recapitulation theory, Jesus' death is a ransom. This restores the relation with God, who is loving and reaches out to humanity, and offers the possibility of theosis c.q. divinization, becoming the kind of humans God wants humanity to be. According to Catholic doctrine, Jesus' death satisfies the wrath of God, aroused by the offense to God's honour caused by human's sinfulness. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation does not occur without faithfulness on the part of Christians; converts must live in accordance with principles of love and ordinarily must be baptized.[52][53] In Protestant theology, Jesus' death is regarded as a substitionary penalty carried by Jesus, for the debt that has to be paid by humankind when it broke God's moral law. Martin Luther taught that baptism was necessary for salvation, but modern Lutherans and other Protestants tend to teach that salvation is a gift that comes to an individual by God's grace, sometimes defined as "unmerited favor", even apart from baptism. Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals' salvation is pre-ordained by God. Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are completely incapable of self-redemption, but that sanctifying grace is irresistible.[54] In contrast Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus.[55] Trinity Main article: Trinity The Trinity is the belief that God is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.[56] Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God[57] comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons: the Father, the Son (incarnate in Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Together, these three persons are sometimes called the Godhead,[58][59][60] although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead.[61] In the words of the Athanasian Creed, an early statement of Christian belief, "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God".[62] They are distinct from another: the Father has no source, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Though distinct, the three persons cannot be divided from one another in being or in operation. While some Christians also believe that God appeared as the Father in the Old Testament, it is agreed that he appeared as the Son in the New Testament, and will still continue to manifest as the Holy Spirit in the present. But still, God still existed as three persons in each of these times.[63] However, traditionally there is a belief that it was the Son who appeared in the Old Testament because, for example, when the Trinity is depicted in art, the Son typically has the distinctive appearance, a cruciform halo identifying Christ, and in depictions of the Garden of Eden, this looks forward to an Incarnation yet to occur. In some Early Christian sarcophagi the Logos is distinguished with a beard, "which allows him to appear ancient, even pre-existent."[64] The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. From earlier than the times of the Nicene Creed (325) Christianity advocated[65] the triune mystery-nature of God as a normative profession of faith. According to Roger E. Olson and Christopher Hall, through prayer, meditation, study and practice, the Christian community concluded "that God must exist as both a unity and trinity", codifying this in ecumenical council at the end of the 4th century.[66][67] According to this doctrine, God is not divided in the sense that each person has a third of the whole; rather, each person is considered to be fully God (see Perichoresis). The distinction lies in their relations, the Father being unbegotten; the Son being begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and (in Western Christian theology) from the Son. Regardless of this apparent difference, the three "persons" are each eternal and omnipotent. Other Christian religions including Unitarian Universalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism, do not share those views on the Trinity. The Greek word trias[68][note 3] is first seen in this sense in the works of Theophilus of Antioch; his text reads: "of the Trinity, of God, and of His Word, and of His Wisdom".[72] The term may have been in use before this time; its Latin equivalent,[note 3] trinitas,[70] appears afterwards with an explicit reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in Tertullian.[73][74] In the following century, the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen.[75] Trinitarians Main article: Trinitarianism Trinitarianism denotes Christians who believe in the concept of the Trinity. Almost all Christian denominations and churches hold Trinitarian beliefs. Although the words "Trinity" and "Triune" do not appear in the Bible, theologians, beginning in the 3rd century, developed the term and concept to facilitate comprehension of the New Testament teachings of God as being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since that time, Christian theologians have been careful to emphasize that Trinity does not imply that there are three gods (the antitrinitarian heresy of Tritheism), nor that each hypostasis of the Trinity is one-third of an infinite God (partialism), nor that the Son and the Holy Spirit are beings created by and subordinate to the Father (Arianism). Rather, the Trinity is defined as one God in three Persons.[76] Nontrinitarianism Main article: Nontrinitarianism Nontrinitarianism (or antitrinitarianism) refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Various nontrinitarian views, such as adoptionism or modalism, existed in early Christianity, leading to the disputes about Christology.[77] Nontrinitarianism later appeared again in the Gnosticism of the Cathars between the 11th and 13th centuries, among groups with Unitarian theology in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century,[78] in the 18th-century Enlightenment, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century. Eschatology Main article: Christian eschatology The 7th-century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat. Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as the state religion, in AD 301.[79] The end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world, broadly speaking, is Christian eschatology; the study of the destiny of humans as it is revealed in the Bible. The major issues in Christian eschatology are the Tribulation, death and the afterlife, the Rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus, Resurrection of the Dead, Heaven and Hell, Millennialism, the Last Judgment, the end of the world, and the New Heavens and New Earth. Christians believe that the second coming of Christ will occur at the end of time, after a period of severe persecution (the Great Tribulation). All who have died will be resurrected bodily from the dead for the Last Judgment. Jesus will fully establish the Kingdom of God in fulfillment of scriptural prophecies.[80][81] Death and afterlife Most Christians believe that human beings experience divine judgment and are rewarded either with eternal life or eternal damnation. This includes the general judgement at the resurrection of the dead as well as the belief (held by Catholics,[82][83] Orthodox[84][85] and most Protestants) in a judgment particular to the individual soul upon physical death. In Catholicism, those who die in a state of grace, i.e., without any mortal sin separating them from God, but are still imperfectly purified from the effects of sin, undergo purification through the intermediate state of purgatory to achieve the holiness necessary for entrance into God's presence.[86] Those who have attained this goal are called saints (Latin sanctus, "holy").[87] Some Christian groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, hold to mortalism, the belief that the human soul is not naturally immortal, and is unconscious during the intermediate state between bodily death and resurrection. These Christians also hold to Annihilationism, the belief that subsequent to the final judgement, the wicked will cease to exist rather than suffer everlasting torment. Jehovah's Witnesses hold to a similar view.[88] Practices Main articles: Christian worship and Church service See also: Mass (liturgy), Reformed worship, and Contemporary worship Samples of Catholic religious objects – the Bible, a crucifix and a rosary Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist (Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper), prayer (including the Lord's Prayer), confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services. Communal worship Justin Martyr described 2nd-century Christian liturgy in his First Apology (c. 150) to Emperor Antoninus Pius, and his description remains relevant to the basic structure of Christian liturgical worship: And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.[89] Thus, as Justin described, Christians assemble for communal worship on Sunday, the day of the resurrection, though other liturgical practices often occur outside this setting. Scripture readings are drawn from the Old and New Testaments, but especially the gospel accounts. Often these are arranged on an annual cycle, using a book called a lectionary. Instruction is given based on these readings, called a sermon, or homily. There are a variety of congregational prayers, including thanksgiving, confession, and intercession, which occur throughout the service and take a variety of forms including recited, responsive, silent, or sung. The Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, is regularly prayed. A modern Protestant worship band leading a contemporary worship session Some groups depart from this traditional liturgical structure. A division is often made between "High" church services, characterized by greater solemnity and ritual, and "Low" services, but even within these two categories, there is great diversity in forms of worship. Seventh-day Adventists meet on Saturday, while others do not meet on a weekly basis. Charismatic or Pentecostal congregations may spontaneously feel led by the Holy Spirit to action rather than follow a formal order of service, including spontaneous prayer. Quakers sit quietly until moved by the Holy Spirit to speak. Some evangelical services resemble concerts with rock and pop music, dancing and use of multimedia. For groups which do not recognize a priesthood distinct from ordinary believers, the services are generally led by a minister, preacher, or pastor. Still others may lack any formal leaders, either in principle or by local necessity. Some churches use only a cappella music, either on principle (for example, many Churches of Christ object to the use of instruments in worship) or by tradition (as in Orthodoxy). Nearly all forms of churchmanship celebrate the Eucharist (Holy Communion), which consists of a consecrated meal. It is reenacted in accordance with Jesus' instruction at the Last Supper that his followers do in remembrance of him as when he gave his disciples bread, saying, "This is my body", and gave them wine saying, "This is my blood".[90] Some Christian denominations practice closed communion. They offer communion to those who are already united in that denomination or sometimes individual church. Catholics restrict participation to their members who are not in a state of mortal sin. Most other churches practice open communion since they view communion as a means to unity, rather than an end, and invite all believing Christians to participate. Worship can be varied for special events like baptisms or weddings in the service or significant feast days. In the early church, Christians and those yet to complete initiation would separate for the Eucharistic part of the worship. In many churches today, adults and children will separate for all or some of the service to receive age-appropriate teaching. Such children's worship is often called Sunday school or Sabbath school (Sunday schools are often held before rather than during services). Sacraments Main article: Sacrament See also: Sacraments of the Catholic Church, Anglican sacraments, and Lutheran sacraments 2nd-century description of the Eucharist And this food is called among us Eukharistia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. Justin Martyr[89] In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite, instituted by Christ, that confers grace, constituting a sacred mystery. The term is derived from the Latin word sacramentum, which was used to translate the Greek word for mystery. Views concerning both which rites are sacramental, and what it means for an act to be a sacrament, vary among Christian denominations and traditions.[91] The most conventional functional definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, that conveys an inward, spiritual grace through Christ. The two most widely accepted sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion), however, the majority of Christians also recognize five additional sacraments: Confirmation (Chrismation in the Orthodox tradition), Holy orders (ordination), Penance (or Confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony (see Christian views on marriage).[91] Taken together, these are the Seven Sacraments as recognized by churches in the High Church tradition—notably Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Independent Catholic, Old Catholic, many Anglicans, and some Lutherans. Most other denominations and traditions typically affirm only Baptism and Eucharist as sacraments, while some Protestant groups, such as the Quakers, reject sacramental theology.[91] Christian denominations, such as Baptists, which believe these rites do not communicate grace, prefer to call Baptism and Holy Communion ordinances rather than sacraments. In addition to this, the Church of the East has two additional sacraments in place of the traditional sacraments of Matrimony and the Anointing of the Sick. These include Holy Leaven (Melka) and the sign of the cross.[92] Baptism, specifically infant baptism, in the Lutheran tradition A penitent confessing his sins in a Ukrainian Catholic church A Methodist minister celebrating the Eucharist Confirmation being administered in an Anglican church Ordination of a priest in the Eastern Orthodox tradition Crowning during Holy Matrimony in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Service of the Sacrament of Holy Unction served on Great and Holy Wednesday Liturgical calendar Main article: Liturgical year See also: Calendar of saints Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Christians, and traditional Protestant communities frame worship around the liturgical year. The liturgical cycle divides the year into a series of seasons, each with their theological emphases, and modes of prayer, which can be signified by different ways of decorating churches, colours of paraments and vestments for clergy,[93] scriptural readings, themes for preaching and even different traditions and practices often observed personally or in the home. Western Christian liturgical calendars are based on the cycle of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church,[93] and Eastern Christians use analogous calendars based on the cycle of their respective rites. Calendars set aside holy days, such as solemnities which commemorate an event in the life of Jesus, Mary, or the saints, and periods of fasting, such as Lent and other pious events such as memoria, or lesser festivals commemorating saints. Christian groups that do not follow a liturgical tradition often retain certain celebrations, such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost: these are the celebrations of Christ's birth, resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, respectively. A few denominations make no use of a liturgical calendar.[94] Symbols Main article: Christian symbolism The cross and the fish are two common symbols of Jesus Christ. The letters of the Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ Ichthys (fish) form an acronym for "Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior". Christianity has not generally practiced aniconism, the avoidance or prohibition of devotional images, even if early Jewish Christians and some modern denominations, invoking the Decalogue's prohibition of idolatry, avoided figures in their symbols. The cross, today one of the most widely recognized symbols, was used by Christians from the earliest times.[95][96] Tertullian, in his book De Corona, tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads.[97] Although the cross was known to the early Christians, the crucifix did not appear in use until the 5th century.[98] Among the earliest Christian symbols, that of the fish or Ichthys seems to have ranked first in importance, as seen on monumental sources such as tombs from the first decades of the 2nd century.[99] Its popularity seemingly arose from the Greek word ichthys (fish) forming an acronym for the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter (Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ),[note 4] (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), a concise summary of Christian faith.[99] Other major Christian symbols include the chi-rho monogram, the dove (symbolic of the Holy Spirit), the sacrificial lamb (representing Christ's sacrifice), the vine (symbolizing the connection of the Christian with Christ) and many others. These all derive from passages of the New Testament.[98] Baptism Main article: Baptism The baptism of Jesus depicted by Almeida Júnior (1895) Baptism is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the Church. Beliefs on baptism vary among denominations. Differences occur firstly on whether the act has any spiritual significance. Some, such as the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as Lutherans and Anglicans, hold to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, which affirms that baptism creates or strengthens a person's faith, and is intimately linked to salvation. Others view baptism as a purely symbolic act, an external public declaration of the inward change which has taken place in the person, but not as spiritually efficacious. Secondly, there are differences of opinion on the methodology of the act. These methods are: by immersion; if immersion is total, by submersion; by affusion (pouring); and by aspersion (sprinkling). Those who hold the first view may also adhere to the tradition of infant baptism;[100] the Orthodox Churches all practice infant baptism and always baptize by total immersion repeated three times in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[101][102] The Catholic Church also practices infant baptism,[103] usually by affusion, and utilizing the Trinitarian formula.[104] Prayer Main article: Prayer in Christianity Jesus' teaching on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount displays a distinct lack of interest in the external aspects of prayer. A concern with the techniques of prayer is condemned as "pagan", and instead a simple trust in God's fatherly goodness is encouraged.[Mat. 6:5–15] Elsewhere in the New Testament, this same freedom of access to God is also emphasized.[Phil. 4:6][Jam. 5:13–19] This confident position should be understood in light of Christian belief in the unique relationship between the believer and Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.[105] In subsequent Christian traditions, certain physical gestures are emphasized, including medieval gestures such as genuflection or making the sign of the cross. Kneeling, bowing, and prostrations (see also poklon) are often practiced in more traditional branches of Christianity. Frequently in Western Christianity, the hands are placed palms together and forward as in the feudal commendation ceremony. At other times the older orans posture may be used, with palms up and elbows in. Intercessory prayer is prayer offered for the benefit of other people. There are many intercessory prayers recorded in the Bible, including prayers of the Apostle Peter on behalf of sick persons[Acts 9:40] and by prophets of the Old Testament in favor of other people.[1Ki 17:19–22] In the Epistle of James, no distinction is made between the intercessory prayer offered by ordinary believers and the prominent Old Testament prophet Elijah.[Jam 5:16–18] The effectiveness of prayer in Christianity derives from the power of God rather than the status of the one praying.[105] The ancient church, in both Eastern and Western Christianity, developed a tradition of asking for the intercession of (deceased) saints, and this remains the practice of most Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, and some Anglican churches. Churches of the Protestant Reformation, however, rejected prayer to the saints, largely on the basis of the sole mediatorship of Christ.[106] The reformer Huldrych Zwingli admitted that he had offered prayers to the saints until his reading of the Bible convinced him that this was idolatrous.[107] According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."[108] The Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican tradition is a guide which provides a set order for church services, containing set prayers, scripture readings, and hymns or sung Psalms. Scriptures Main articles: Bible, Biblical canon, and Development of the Christian biblical canon The Bible is the sacred book in Christianity. Christianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. The Greek word referring to inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos, which literally means "God-breathed".[109] Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Still others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version.[110][111][112] Another closely related view is biblical infallibility or limited inerrancy, which affirms that the Bible is free of error as a guide to salvation, but may include errors on matters such as history, geography, or science. The books of the Bible accepted by the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches vary somewhat, with Jews accepting only the Hebrew Bible as canonical; however, there is substantial overlap. These variations are a reflection of the range of traditions, and of the councils that have convened on the subject. Every version of the Old Testament always includes the books of the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic and Orthodox canons, in addition to the Tanakh, also include the deuterocanonical books as part of the Old Testament. These books appear in the Septuagint, but are regarded by Protestants to be apocryphal. However, they are considered to be important historical documents which help to inform the understanding of words, grammar, and syntax used in the historical period of their conception. Some versions of the Bible include a separate Apocrypha section between the Old Testament and the New Testament.[113] The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all churches. Modern scholarship has raised many issues with the Bible. While the Authorized King James Version is held to by many because of its striking English prose, in fact it was translated from the Erasmus Greek Bible, which in turn "was based on a single 12th Century manuscript that is one of the worst manuscripts we have available to us".[114] Much scholarship in the past several hundred years has gone into comparing different manuscripts in order to reconstruct the original text. Another issue is that several books are considered to be forgeries. The injunction that women "be silent and submissive" in 1 Timothy 2[115] is thought by many to be a forgery by a follower of Paul, a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 14,[116] which is thought to be by Paul, appears in different places in different manuscripts and is thought to originally be a margin note by a copyist.[114] Other verses in 1 Corinthians, such as 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 where women are instructed to wear a covering over their hair "when they pray or prophesies",[117] contradict this verse. A final issue with the Bible is the way in which books were selected for inclusion in the New Testament. Other gospels have now been recovered, such as those found near Nag Hammadi in 1945, and while some of these texts are quite different from what Christians have been used to, it should be understood that some of this newly recovered Gospel material is quite possibly contemporaneous with, or even earlier than, the New Testament Gospels. The core of the Gospel of Thomas, in particular, may date from as early as AD 50 (although some major scholars contest this early dating),[118] and if so would provide an insight into the earliest gospel texts that underlie the canonical Gospels, texts that are mentioned in Luke 1:1–2. The Gospel of Thomas contains much that is familiar from the canonical Gospels—verse 113, for example ("The Father's Kingdom is spread out upon the earth, but people do not see it"),[119] is reminiscent of Luke 17:20–21[120][121]—and the Gospel of John, with a terminology and approach that is suggestive of what was later termed Gnosticism, has recently been seen as a possible response to the Gospel of Thomas, a text that is commonly labelled proto-Gnostic. Scholarship, then, is currently exploring the relationship in the Early Church between mystical speculation and experience on the one hand and the search for church order on the other, by analyzing new-found texts, by subjecting canonical texts to further scrutiny, and by an examination of the passage of New Testament texts to canonical status. Catholic interpretation St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic Church Main article: Catholic theology of Scripture In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in Alexandria and Antioch. The Alexandrian interpretation, exemplified by Origen, tended to read Scripture allegorically, while the Antiochene interpretation adhered to the literal sense, holding that other meanings (called theoria) could only be accepted if based on the literal meaning.[122] Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual.[123] The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into: The allegorical sense, which includes typology. An example would be the parting of the Red Sea being understood as a "type" (sign) of baptism.[1Cor 10:2] The moral sense, which understands the scripture to contain some ethical teaching. The anagogical sense, which applies to eschatology, eternity and the consummation of the world Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds: The injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the literal[124][125] That the historicity of the Gospels must be absolutely and constantly held[126] That scripture must be read within the "living Tradition of the whole Church"[127] and That "the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome".[128] Protestant interpretation The Luther Bible (shown above) was an early translation of the Bible by a Protestant. Another early unauthorised translation was Wycliffe's Bible. Qualities of Scripture Protestant Christians believe that the Bible is a self-sufficient revelation, the final authority on all Christian doctrine, and revealed all truth necessary for salvation. This concept is known as sola scriptura.[129] Protestants characteristically believe that ordinary believers may reach an adequate understanding of Scripture because Scripture itself is clear in its meaning (or "perspicuous"). Martin Luther believed that without God's help, Scripture would be "enveloped in darkness".[130] He advocated for "one definite and simple understanding of Scripture".[130] John Calvin wrote, "all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light".[131] Related to this is "efficacy", that Scripture is able to lead people to faith; and "sufficiency", that the Scriptures contain everything that one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life.[132] Original intended meaning of Scripture Protestants stress the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, the historical-grammatical method.[133] The historical-grammatical method or grammatico-historical method is an effort in Biblical hermeneutics to find the intended original meaning in the text.[134] This original intended meaning of the text is drawn out through examination of the passage in light of the grammatical and syntactical aspects, the historical background, the literary genre, as well as theological (canonical) considerations.[135] The historical-grammatical method distinguishes between the one original meaning and the significance of the text. The significance of the text includes the ensuing use of the text or application. The original passage is seen as having only a single meaning or sense. As Milton S. Terry said: "A fundamental principle in grammatico-historical exposition is that the words and sentences can have but one significance in one and the same connection. The moment we neglect this principle we drift out upon a sea of uncertainty and conjecture."[136] Technically speaking, the grammatical-historical method of interpretation is distinct from the determination of the passage's significance in light of that interpretation. Taken together, both define the term (Biblical) hermeneutics.[134] Some Protestant interpreters make use of typology.[137] Ecclesiology Main article: Ecclesiology History Main article: History of Christianity Early Christianity Main article: Early Christianity Apostolic Age Chapel of Saint Ananias, Damascus, Syria, an early example of a Christian house of worship; built in the 1st century AD An early circular ichthys symbol, created by combining the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ into a wheel. Ephesus, Asia Minor. The Monastery of St. Matthew, located atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraq, is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence.[138] Kadisha Valley, Lebanon, home to some of the earliest Christian monasteries in the world Main articles: Origins of Christianity, Apostolic Age, and Ante-Nicene Period Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism.[139][140] An early Jewish Christian community was founded in Jerusalem under the leadership of the Pillars of the Church, namely James the Just, the brother of the Lord, Saint Peter, and John. They had known Jesus, and, according to Paul, the arisen Christ had first appeared to James and Peter. Jewish Christianity soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, posing a problem for its Jewish religious outlook, which insisted on close observance of the Jewish commands. Paul the Apostle solved this by insisting that salvation by faith in Christ, and participation in His death and resurrection, sufficed. At first he persecuted the early Christians, but after a conversion experience he preached to the gentiles, and is regarded as having had a formative effect on the emerging Christian identity as separate from Judaism. Eventually, his departure from Jewish customs would result in the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. Ante-Nicene period Main article: Ante-Nicene period This formative period was followed by the early bishops, whom Christians consider the successors of the Apostles. From the year 150, Christian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith. These authors are known as the Church Fathers, and the study of them is called patristics. Notable early Fathers include Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. According to the New Testament, Christians were from the beginning, subject to persecution by some Jewish and Roman religious authorities. This involved punishments, including death, for Christians such as Stephen[Acts 7:59] and James, son of Zebedee.[Acts 12:2] Further widespread persecution of the Church occurred under nine subsequent Roman emperors, most intensely under Decius and Diocletian. Spread and acceptance in Roman Empire An example of Byzantine pictorial art, the Deësis mosaic at the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople See also: Edict of Thessalonica Christianity spread to Aramaic-speaking peoples along the Mediterranean coast and also to the inland parts of the Roman Empire and beyond that into the Parthian Empire and the later Sasanian Empire, including Mesopotamia, which was dominated at different times and to varying extents by these empires.[141] The presence of Christianity in Africa began in the middle of the 1st century in Egypt and by the end of the 2nd century in the region around Carthage. Mark the Evangelist is claimed to have started the Church of Alexandria in about 43 CE; various later churches and denominations claim this as their own legacy, including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.[142][143][144] Important Africans who influenced the early development of Christianity include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian, Athanasius, and Augustine of Hippo. By 201 or earlier, under King Abgar the Great, Osroene became the first Christian state.[145] King Trdat IV made Christianity the state religion in Armenia between 301 and 314.[79][146][147] It was not an entirely new religion in Armenia, having penetrated into the country from at least the third century, but it may have been present even earlier.[148] Under Emperor Constantine, state-sanctioned persecution of early Christians ended with the Edict of Toleration in 311 and the Edict of Milan in 313. At that point, Christianity was still a minority belief, comprising perhaps only five percent of the Roman population.[149] Influenced by his adviser Mardonius, Constantine's nephew Julian unsuccessfully tried to suppress Christianity.[150] On 27 February 380, Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II established Nicene Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire.[151] As soon as it became connected to the state, Christianity grew wealthy; the Church solicited donations from the rich and could now own land.[152] Constantine was also instrumental in the convocation of the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which sought to address Arianism and formulated the Nicene Creed, which is still used by the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion, and many Protestant churches.[33] Nicaea was the first of a series of ecumenical councils, which formally defined critical elements of the theology of the Church, notably concerning Christology.[153] The Assyrian Church of the East did not accept the third and following ecumenical councils and is still separate today. In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization,[154] and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth, and culture.[155] There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek.[156] Byzantine art and literature held a preeminent place in Europe, and the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the West during this period was enormous and of long-lasting significance.[157] The later rise of Islam in North Africa reduced the size and numbers of Christian congregations, leaving in large numbers only the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Horn of Africa and the Nubian Church in the Sudan (Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia). Early Middle Ages With the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the West, the papacy became a political player, first visible in Pope Leo's diplomatic dealings with Huns and Vandals.[158] The church also entered into a long period of missionary activity and expansion among the various tribes. While Arianists instituted the death penalty for practicing pagans (see the Massacre of Verden, for example), what would later become Catholicism also spread among the Hungarians, the Germanic,[158] the Celtic, the Baltic and some Slavic peoples. Around 500, St. Benedict set out his Monastic Rule, establishing a system of regulations for the foundation and running of monasteries.[158] Monasticism became a powerful force throughout Europe,[158] and gave rise to many early centers of learning, most famously in Ireland, Scotland, and Gaul, contributing to the Carolingian Renaissance of the 9th century. In the 7th century, Muslims conquered Syria (including Jerusalem), North Africa, and Spain, converting some of the Christian population to Islam, and placing the rest under a separate legal status. Part of the Muslims' success was due to the exhaustion of the Byzantine Empire in its decades long conflict with Persia.[159] Beginning in the 8th century, with the rise of Carolingian leaders, the Papacy sought greater political support in the Frankish Kingdom.[160] The Middle Ages brought about major changes within the church. Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structure and administration.[161] In the early 8th century, iconoclasm became a divisive issue, when it was sponsored by the Byzantine emperors. The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) finally pronounced in favor of icons.[162] In the early 10th century, Western Christian monasticism was further rejuvenated through the leadership of the great Benedictine monastery of Cluny.[163] High and Late Middle Ages Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached the First Crusade In the West, from the 11th century onward, some older cathedral schools became universities (see, for example, University of Oxford, University of Paris and University of Bologna). Previously, higher education had been the domain of Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), led by monks and nuns. Evidence of such schools dates back to the 6th century CE.[164] These new universities expanded the curriculum to include academic programs for clerics, lawyers, civil servants, and physicians.[165] Originally teaching only theology, universities steadily added subjects including medicine, philosophy, and law, becoming the direct ancestors of modern institutions of learning.[166] The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[167] Accompanying the rise of the "new towns" throughout Europe, mendicant orders were founded, bringing the consecrated religious life out of the monastery and into the new urban setting. The two principal mendicant movements were the Franciscans[168] and the Dominicans,[169] founded by St. Francis and St. Dominic, respectively. Both orders made significant contributions to the development of the great universities of Europe. Another new order was the Cistercians, whose large isolated monasteries spearheaded the settlement of former wilderness areas. In this period, church building and ecclesiastical architecture reached new heights, culminating in the orders of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals.[170] From 1095 under the pontificate of Urban II, the Crusades were launched.[171] These were a series of military campaigns in the Holy Land and elsewhere, initiated in response to pleas from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I for aid against Turkish expansion. The Crusades ultimately failed to stifle Islamic aggression and even contributed to Christian enmity with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.[172] The Christian Church experienced internal conflict between the 7th and 13th centuries that resulted in a schism between the so-called Latin or Western Christian branch (the Catholic Church),[173] and an Eastern, largely Greek, branch (the Eastern Orthodox Church). The two sides disagreed on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most notably papal primacy of jurisdiction.[174][175] The Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) attempted to reunite the churches, but in both cases, the Eastern Orthodox refused to implement the decisions, and the two principal churches remain in schism to the present day. However, the Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches. In the thirteenth century, a new emphasis on Jesus' suffering, exemplified by the Franciscans' preaching, had the consequence of turning worshippers' attention towards Jews, on whom Christians had placed the blame for Jesus' death. Christianity's limited tolerance of Jews was not new—Augustine of Hippo said that Jews should not be allowed to enjoy the citizenship that Christians took for granted—but the growing antipathy towards Jews was a factor that led to the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290, the first of many such expulsions in Europe.[176][177] Beginning around 1184, following the crusade against Cathar heresy,[178] various institutions, broadly referred to as the Inquisition, were established with the aim of suppressing heresy and securing religious and doctrinal unity within Christianity through conversion and prosecution.[179] Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation The Ninety-five Theses, which Luther published in 1517. Main articles: Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation See also: European wars of religion The 15th-century Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in ancient and classical learning. During the Reformation, Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses 1517 against the sale of indulgences.[180] Printed copies soon spread throughout Europe. In 1521 the Edict of Worms condemned and excommunicated Luther and his followers, resulting in the schism of the Western Christendom into several branches.[181] Other reformers like Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Calvin, Knox, and Arminius further criticized Catholic teaching and worship. These challenges developed into the movement called Protestantism, which repudiated the primacy of the pope, the role of tradition, the seven sacraments, and other doctrines and practices.[180] The Reformation in England began in 1534, when King Henry VIII had himself declared head of the Church of England. Beginning in 1536, the monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved.[182] Thomas Müntzer, Andreas Karlstadt and other theologians perceived both the Catholic Church and the confessions of the Magisterial Reformation as corrupted. Their activity brought about the Radical Reformation, which gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations. Michelangelo's 1498-99 Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, The Catholic Church was among the patronages of the Renaissance.[183][184][185] Partly in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reform.[186] The Council of Trent clarified and reasserted Catholic doctrine. During the following centuries, competition between Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply entangled with political struggles among European states.[187] Meanwhile, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought about a new wave of missionary activity. Partly from missionary zeal, but under the impetus of colonial expansion by the European powers, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout Europe, the division caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of religious violence and the establishment of separate state churches in Europe. Lutheranism spread into the northern, central, and eastern parts of present-day Germany, Livonia, and Scandinavia. Anglicanism was established in England in 1534. Calvinism and its varieties, such as Presbyterianism, were introduced in Scotland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, and France. Arminianism gained followers in the Netherlands and Frisia. Ultimately, these differences led to the outbreak of conflicts in which religion played a key factor. The Thirty Years' War, the English Civil War, and the French Wars of Religion are prominent examples. These events intensified the Christian debate on persecution and toleration.[188] Post-Enlightenment A depiction of Madonna and Child in a 19th-century Kakure Kirishitan Japanese woodcut In the era known as the Great Divergence, when in the West, the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific revolution brought about great societal changes, Christianity was confronted with various forms of skepticism and with certain modern political ideologies, such as versions of socialism and liberalism.[189] Events ranged from mere anti-clericalism to violent outbursts against Christianity, such as the dechristianization of France during the French Revolution,[190] the Spanish Civil War, and certain Marxist movements, especially the Russian Revolution and the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union under state atheism.[191][192][193][194] Especially pressing in Europe was the formation of nation states after the Napoleonic era. In all European countries, different Christian denominations found themselves in competition to greater or lesser extents with each other and with the state. Variables were the relative sizes of the denominations and the religious, political, and ideological orientation of the states. Urs Altermatt of the University of Fribourg, looking specifically at Catholicism in Europe, identifies four models for the European nations. In traditionally Catholic-majority countries such as Belgium, Spain, and Austria, to some extent, religious and national communities are more or less identical. Cultural symbiosis and separation are found in Poland, the Republic of Ireland, and Switzerland, all countries with competing denominations. Competition is found in Germany, the Netherlands, and again Switzerland, all countries with minority Catholic populations, which to a greater or lesser extent identified with the nation. Finally, separation between religion (again, specifically Catholicism) and the state is found to a great degree in France and Italy, countries where the state actively opposed itself to the authority of the Catholic Church.[195] The combined factors of the formation of nation states and ultramontanism, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, but also in England to a much lesser extent,[196] often forced Catholic churches, organizations, and believers to choose between the national demands of the state and the authority of the Church, specifically the papacy. This conflict came to a head in the First Vatican Council, and in Germany would lead directly to the Kulturkampf, where liberals and Protestants under the leadership of Bismarck managed to severely restrict Catholic expression and organization. Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own,[197] particularly in the Czech Republic and Estonia,[198] while religious commitments in America have been generally high in comparison to Europe. The late 20th century has shown the shift of Christian adherence to the Third World and the Southern Hemisphere in general, with the West no longer the chief standard bearer of Christianity. Approximately 7 to 10% of Arabs are Christians,[199] most prevalent in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Demographics Main articles: Christianity by country, Christian population growth, and Christian denominations by membership See also: Christendom and Christian state With around 2.3 billion adherents,[200][201] split into three main branches of Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, Christianity is the world's largest religion.[202] The Christian share of the world's population has stood at around 33% for the last hundred years, which means that one in three persons on Earth are Christians. This masks a major shift in the demographics of Christianity; large increases in the developing world have been accompanied by substantial declines in the developed world, mainly in Europe and North America.[203] According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, within the next four decades, Christians will remain the world's largest religion; and by 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion.[204]:60 Brazil is the country with the largest Catholic population in the world. Trinity Sunday in Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a great revival since the fall of communism. As a percentage of Christians, the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy (both Eastern and Oriental) are declining in parts of the world (though Catholicism is growing in Asia, in Africa, vibrant in Eastern Europe, etc.), while Protestants and other Christians are on the rise in the developing world.[205][206][207] The so-called popular Protestantism[note 5] is one of the fastest growing religious categories in the world.[208][209] Nevertheless, Catholicism will also continue to grow to 1.63 billion by 2050, according to Todd Johnson of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.[210] Africa alone, by 2015, will be home to 230 million African Catholics.[211] And if in 2018, the U.N. projects that Africa's population will reach 4.5 billion by 2100 (not 2 billion as predicted in 2004), Catholicism will indeed grow, as will other religious groups.[212] Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, and Southern Africa. In Asia, it is the dominant religion in Georgia, Armenia, East Timor, and the Philippines.[213] However, it is declining in many areas including the Northern and Western United States,[214] Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), northern Europe (including Great Britain,[215] Scandinavia and other places), France, Germany, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and parts of Asia (especially the Middle East, due to the Christian emigration,[216][217][218] South Korea,[219] Taiwan,[220] and Macau[221]). The Christian population is not decreasing in Brazil, the Southern United States,[222] and the province of Alberta, Canada,[223] but the percentage is decreasing. In countries such as Australia[224] and New Zealand,[225] the Christian population are declining in both numbers and percentage. Despite the declining numbers, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western World, where 70% are Christians.[15] A 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that 76% of Europeans, 73% in Oceania and about 86% in the Americas (90% in Latin America and 77% in North America) identified themselves as Christians.[15][226][227][228] By 2010 about 157 countries and territories in the world had Christian majorities.[202] However, there are many charismatic movements that have become well established over large parts of the world, especially Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[229][230][231][232][233] Since 1900, primarily due to conversion, Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America.[234] From 1960 to 2000, the global growth of the number of reported Evangelical Protestants grew three times the world's population rate, and twice that of Islam.[235] A study conducted by St. Mary's University estimated about 10.2 million Muslim converts to Christianity in 2015.[236] The results also state that significant numbers of Muslims converts to Christianity in Afghanistan,[237] Albania,[236] Azerbaijan,[238][239] Algeria,[240][241] Belgium,[242] France,[241] Germany,[243] Iran,[244] India,[241] Indonesia,[245] Malaysia,[246] Morocco,[241][247] Russia,[241] the Netherlands,[248] Saudi Arabia,[249] Tunisia,[236] Turkey,[241][250][251][252] Kazakhstan,[253] Kyrgyzstan,[236] Kosovo,[254] the United States,[255] and Central Asia.[256][257] It is also reported that Christianity is popular among people of different backgrounds in India (mostly Hindus),[258][259] and Malaysia,[260] Mongolia,[261] Nigeria,[262] Vietnam,[263] Singapore,[264] Indonesia,[265][266] China,[267] Japan,[268] and South Korea.[269] In most countries in the developed world, church attendance among people who continue to identify themselves as Christians has been falling over the last few decades.[270] Some sources view this simply as part of a drift away from traditional membership institutions,[271] while others link it to signs of a decline in belief in the importance of religion in general.[272] Europe's Christian population, though in decline, still constitutes the largest geographical component of the religion.[273] According to data from the 2012 European Social Survey, around a third of European Christians say they attend services once a month or more,[274] Conversely about more than two-thirds of Latin American Christians; according to the World Values Survey, about 90% of African Christians (in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwand], South Africa and Zimbabwe) said they attended church regularly.[274] Christianity, in one form or another, is the sole state religion of the following nations: Argentina (Catholic),[275] Tuvalu (Reformed), Tonga (Methodist), Norway (Lutheran),[276][277][278] Costa Rica (Catholic),[279] the Kingdom of Denmark (Lutheran),[280] England (Anglican),[281] Georgia (Georgian Orthodox),[282] Greece (Greek Orthodox),[283] Iceland (Lutheran),[284] Liechtenstein (Catholic),[285] Malta (Catholic),[286] Monaco (Catholic),[287] and Vatican City (Catholic).[288] There are numerous other countries, such as Cyprus, which although do not have an established church, still give official recognition and support to a specific Christian denomination.[289] Demographics of major traditions within Christianity (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)[290] Tradition Followers % of the Christian population % of the world population Follower dynamics Dynamics in- and outside Christianity Catholic Church 1,094,610,000 50.1 15.9 Increase Growing Increase Growing Protestantism 800,640,000 36.7 11.6 Increase Growing Increase Growing Orthodoxy 260,380,000 11.9 3.8 Decrease Declining Decrease Declining Other Christianity 28,430,000 1.3 0.4 Increase Growing Increase Growing Christianity 2,184,060,000 100 31.7 Increase Growing Steady Stable Regional median ages of Christians compared with overall median ages (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)[291] Christian median age in region (years) Regional median age (years) World 30 -- Sub-Saharan Africa 19 18 Latin America-Caribbean 27 27 Asia-Pacific 28 29 Middle East-North Africa 29 24 North America 39 37 Europe 42 40 The global distribution of Christians: Countries colored a darker shade have a higher proportion of Christians.[292] Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple while countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blue Nations with Christianity as their state religion (detailed map; see legend for more) Distribution of Catholics Distribution of Protestants Distribution of Eastern Orthodox Distribution of Oriental Orthodox Other Christians by number: black – more than 10 million; red – more than 1 million Denominations Further information: List of Christian denominations and List of Christian denominations by number of members Christianity Branches without text.svg Major denominational families in Christianity: This box: viewtalkedit Western Christianity Eastern Christianity Protestantism Evangelical Anabaptist Anglican Reformed Lutheran (Latin Church) Catholic (Eastern Catholic) Eastern Orthodox Oriental Orthodox Church of the East Schism (1552) Assyrian Church of the East Ancient Church of the East Protestant Reformation (16th century) Great Schism (11th century) Council of Ephesus (431) Council of Chalcedon (451) Early Christianity "Great Church" (Full communion) The four primary divisions of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.[37]:14[293] A broader distinction that is sometimes drawn is between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, which has its origins in the East–West Schism (Great Schism) of the 11th century. However, there are other present[294] and historical[295] Christian groups that do not fit neatly into one of these primary categories. There is a diversity of doctrines and liturgical practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups may vary ecclesiologically in their views on a classification of Christian denominations.[296] The Nicene Creed (325), however, is typically accepted as authoritative by most Christians, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and major Protestant, including Anglican, denominations.[297] By reason of Protestant ecclesiology, ever since its emergence in the 16th century, Protestantism comprises the widest diversity of groupings and practices. In addition to the Lutheran and Reformed (or Calvinist) branches of the Reformation, Anglicanism appeared after the English Reformation. The Anabaptist tradition was largely ostracized by the other Protestant parties at the time, but has achieved a measure of affirmation in contemporary history. Adventist, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and other Protestant confessions arose in the following centuries. Catholic Church Main article: Catholic Church Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church consists of those particular Churches, headed by bishops, in communion with the pope, the bishop of Rome, as its highest authority in matters of faith, morality, and Church governance.[298][299] Like Eastern Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, through apostolic succession, traces its origins to the Christian community founded by Jesus Christ.[300][301] Catholics maintain that the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" founded by Jesus subsists fully in the Catholic Church, but also acknowledges other Christian churches and communities[302][303] and works towards reconciliation among all Christians.[302] The Catholic faith is detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[304][305] The 2,834 sees[306] are grouped into 24 particular autonomous Churches (the largest of which being the Latin Church), each with its own distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering of sacraments.[307] With more than 1.1 billion baptized members, the Catholic Church is the largest Christian church and represents over half of all Christians as well as one sixth of the world's population.[308][309][310] Eastern Orthodox Church Main article: Eastern Orthodox Church The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow is the tallest Eastern Orthodox Christian church in the world. The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of those churches in communion with the Patriarchal Sees of the East, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.[311] Like the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church also traces its heritage to the foundation of Christianity through apostolic succession and has an episcopal structure, though the autonomy of its component parts is emphasized, and most of them are national churches. A number of conflicts with Western Christianity over questions of doctrine and authority culminated in the Great Schism. Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents.[15][309][312] Oriental Orthodoxy Main article: Oriental Orthodoxy The Oriental Orthodox churches (also called "Old Oriental" churches) are those eastern churches that recognize the first three ecumenical councils—Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus—but reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon and instead espouse a Miaphysite christology. The Oriental Orthodox communion consists of six groups: Syriac Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (India), and Armenian Apostolic churches.[313] These six churches, while being in communion with each other, are completely independent hierarchically.[314] These churches are generally not in communion with Eastern Orthodox Churches, with whom they are in dialogue for erecting a communion.[315] Assyrian Church of the East A 6th-century Nestorian church, St. John the Arab, in the Assyrian village of Geramon in Hakkari, southeastern Turkey. Main article: Assyrian Church of the East The Assyrian Church of the East, with an unbroken patriarchate established in the 17th century, is an independent Eastern Christian denomination which claims continuity from the Church of the East—in parallel to the Catholic patriarchate established in the 16th century that evolved into the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Pope. It is an Eastern Christian Church that follows the traditional christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East. Largely aniconic and not in communion with any other church, it belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and uses the East Syriac Rite in its liturgy.[316] Its main spoken language is Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians. It is officially headquartered in the city of Erbil in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, and its original area also spreads into south-eastern Turkey and north-western Iran, corresponding to ancient Assyria. Its hierarchy is composed of metropolitan bishops and diocesan bishops, while lower clergy consists of priests and deacons, who serve in dioceses (eparchies) and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia).[317] The Ancient Church of the East distinguished itself from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964. It is one of the Assyrian churches that claim continuity with the historical Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon—the Church of the East, one of the oldest Christian churches in Mesopotamia.[318] Protestantism Main article: Protestantism Part of a series on Protestantism Latin version of the Christian cross which is used by virtually all Protestant denominations Topics [show] Major branches [show] Minor branches [show] Broad-based movements [show] Other developments [show] Related movements [show] vte In 1521, the Edict of Worms condemned Martin Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas.[319] This split within the Roman Catholic church is now called the Reformation. Prominent Reformers included Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. The 1529 Protestation at Speyer against being excommunicated gave this party the name Protestantism. Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are far broader denominationally, and are referred to as the Reformed tradition.[320] The Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and organized in the Anglican Communion. Some, but not all Anglicans consider themselves both Protestant and Catholic.[321][322] Since the Anglican, Lutheran, and the Reformed branches of Protestantism originated for the most part in cooperation with the government, these movements are termed the "Magisterial Reformation". On the other hand, groups such as the Anabaptists, who often do not consider themselves to be Protestant, originated in the Radical Reformation, which though sometimes protected under Acts of Toleration, do not trace their history back to any state church. They are further distinguished by their rejection of infant baptism; they believe in baptism only of adult believers—credobaptism (Anabaptists include the Amish, Apostolic, Bruderhof, Mennonites, Hutterites and Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptist groups.)[323][324][325] The term Protestant also refers to any churches which formed later, with either the Magisterial or Radical traditions. In the 18th century, for example, Methodism grew out of Anglican minister John Wesley's evangelical and revival movement.[326] Several Pentecostal and non-denominational churches, which emphasize the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, in turn grew out of Methodism.[327] Because Methodists, Pentecostals and other evangelicals stress "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior",[328] which comes from Wesley's emphasis of the New Birth,[329] they often refer to themselves as being born-again.[330][331] Estimates of the total number of Protestants are very uncertain, but it seems clear that Protestantism is the second largest major group of Christians after Catholicism in number of followers, although the Eastern Orthodox Church is larger than any single Protestant denomination.[309] Often that number is put at more than 800 million, corresponding to nearly 40% of world's Christians.[205] The majority of Protestants are members of just a handful of denominational families, i.e. Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Reformed (Calvinists),[332] Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals.[205] Nondenominational, evangelical, charismatic, neo-charismatic, independent, and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity.[333] Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as "Christians" or "born-again Christians". They typically distance themselves from the confessionalism and creedalism of other Christian communities[334] by calling themselves "non-denominational" or "evangelical". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.[335] Historical chart of the main Protestant branches Links between interdenominational movements and other developments within Protestantism Restorationism Main article: Restorationism A 19th-century drawing of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist. Latter Day Saints believe that the Priesthood ceased to exist after the death of the Apostles and therefore needed to be restored. The Second Great Awakening, a period of religious revival that occurred in the United States during the early 1800s, saw the development of a number of unrelated churches. They generally saw themselves as restoring the original church of Jesus Christ rather than reforming one of the existing churches.[336] A common belief held by Restorationists was that the other divisions of Christianity had introduced doctrinal defects into Christianity, which was known as the Great Apostasy.[337] In Asia, Iglesia ni Cristo is a known restorationist religion that was established during the early 1900s. Some of the churches originating during this period are historically connected to early 19th-century camp meetings in the Midwest and upstate New York. One of the largest churches produced from the movement is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[338] American Millennialism and Adventism, which arose from Evangelical Protestantism, influenced the Jehovah's Witnesses movement and, as a reaction specifically to William Miller, the Seventh-day Adventists. Others, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Christian Church in Canada,[339][340] Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ, have their roots in the contemporaneous Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, which was centered in Kentucky and Tennessee. Other groups originating in this time period include the Christadelphians and the previously mentioned Latter Day Saints movement. While the churches originating in the Second Great Awakening have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly. Other Various smaller Independent Catholic communities, such as the Old Catholic Church, include the word Catholic in their title, and arguably have more or less liturgical practices in common with the Catholic Church, but are no longer in full communion with the Holy See. Spiritual Christians, such as the Doukhobor and Molokan, broke from the Russian Orthodox Church and maintain close association with Mennonites and Quakers due to similar religious practices; all of these groups are furthermore collectively considered to be peace churches due to their belief in pacifism.[341][342] Messianic Judaism (or the Messianic Movement) is the name of a Christian movement comprising a number of streams, whose members may consider themselves Jewish. The movement originated in the 1960s and 1970s, and it blends elements of religious Jewish practice with evangelical Christianity. Messianic Judaism affirms Christian creeds such as the messiahship and divinity of "Yeshua" (the Hebrew name of Jesus) and the Triune Nature of God, while also adhering to some Jewish dietary laws and customs.[343] Esoteric Christians regard Christianity as a mystery religion,[344][345] and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices,[346][347] hidden from the public but accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.[348][349] Some of the esoteric Christian institutions include the Rosicrucian Fellowship, the Anthroposophical Society, and Martinism. Influence on western culture Main articles: Christian culture and Role of Christianity in civilization Further information: Protestant culture, Cultural Christian, and Christian influences in Islam Set of pictures showcasing Christian culture and famous Christian leaders Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and a large portion of the population of the Western Hemisphere can be described as cultural Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom". Many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[350] Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Western Europe.[351] Until the Age of Enlightenment,[352] Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science.[351][353] Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature, etc. Christianity has had a significant impact on education, as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,[354] and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world; as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[167] Historically, Christianity has often been a patron of science and medicine. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities, and hospitals, and many Catholic clergy;[355] Jesuits in particular,[356][357] have been active in the sciences throughout history and have made significant contributions to the development of science.[358] Protestantism also has had an important influence on science. According to the Merton Thesis, there was a positive correlation between the rise of English Puritanism and German Pietism on the one hand, and early experimental science on the other.[359] The civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare,[360] founding hospitals,[361] economics (as the Protestant work ethic),[362][363] politics,[364] architecture,[365] literature,[366] personal hygiene,[367][368] and family life.[369] Eastern Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the reign of the Ummayad and the Abbasid, by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards, to Arabic.[370][371][372] They also excelled in philosophy, science, theology, and medicine.[373][374][375] Also, many scholars of the House of Wisdom were of Christian background.[376] Christians have made a myriad of contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields,[377] including philosophy,[378] science and technology,[355][379][380][381][382] fine arts and architecture,[383] politics, literatures, music,[384] and business.[385] According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of the Nobel Prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.[386] Postchristianity[387] is the term for the decline of Christianity, particularly in Europe, Canada, Australia, and to a minor degree the Southern Cone, in the 20th and 21st centuries, considered in terms of postmodernism. It refers to the loss of Christianity's monopoly on values and world view in historically Christian societies. Cultural Christians are secular people with a Christian heritage who may not believe in the religious claims of Christianity, but who retain an affinity for the popular culture, art, music, and so on related to it. Another frequent application of the term is to distinguish political groups in areas of mixed religious backgrounds. Ecumenism Main article: Ecumenism Ecumenical worship service at the monastery of Taizé in France Christian groups and denominations have long expressed ideals of being reconciled, and in the 20th century, Christian ecumenism advanced in two ways.[388] One way was greater cooperation between groups, such as the World Evangelical Alliance founded in 1846 in London or the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of Protestants in 1910, the Justice, Peace and Creation Commission of the World Council of Churches founded in 1948 by Protestant and Orthodox churches, and similar national councils like the National Council of Churches in Australia, which includes Catholics.[388] The other way was an institutional union with united churches, a practice that can be traced back to unions between Lutherans and Calvinists in early 19th-century Germany. Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches united in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada,[389] and in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia. The Church of South India was formed in 1947 by the union of Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian churches.[390] The ecumenical, monastic Taizé Community is notable for being composed of more than one hundred brothers from Protestant and Catholic traditions.[391] The community emphasizes the reconciliation of all denominations and its main church, located in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, France, is named the "Church of Reconciliation".[391] The community is internationally known, attracting over 100,000 young pilgrims annually.[392] Steps towards reconciliation on a global level were taken in 1965 by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, mutually revoking the excommunications that marked their Great Schism in 1054;[393] the Anglican Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) working towards full communion between those churches since 1970;[394] and some Lutheran and Catholic churches signing the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999 to address conflicts at the root of the Protestant Reformation. In 2006, the World Methodist Council, representing all Methodist denominations, adopted the declaration.[395] Criticism, persecution, and apologetics Main articles: Christian apologetics, Criticism of Christianity, and Persecution of Christians A copy of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas, a famous Christian apologetic work Criticism of Christianity and Christians goes back to the Apostolic Age, with the New Testament recording friction between the followers of Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes (e.g. Matthew 15:1–20 and Mark 7:1–23).[396] In the 2nd century, Christianity was criticized by the Jews on various grounds, e.g. that the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible could not have been fulfilled by Jesus, given that he did not have a successful life.[397] Additionally, a sacrifice to remove sins in advance, for everyone or as a human being, did not fit to the Jewish sacrifice ritual; furthermore, God is said to judge people on their deeds instead of their beliefs.[398][399] One of the first comprehensive attacks on Christianity came from the Greek philosopher Celsus, who wrote The True Word, a polemic criticizing Christians as being unprofitable members of society.[400][401][402] In response, the church father Origen published his treatise Contra Celsum, or Against Celsus, a seminal work of Christian apologetics, which systematically addressed Celsus's criticisms and helped bring Christianity a level of academic respectability.[403][402] By the 3rd century, criticism of Christianity had mounted, partly as a defense against it. Wild rumors about Christians were widely circulated, claiming that they were atheists and that, as part of their rituals, they devoured human infants and engaged in incestuous orgies.[404][405] The Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry wrote the fifteen-volume Adversus Christianos as a comprehensive attack on Christianity, in part building on the teachings of Plotinus.[406][407] By the 12th century, the Mishneh Torah (i.e., Rabbi Moses Maimonides) was criticizing Christianity on the grounds of idol worship, in that Christians attributed divinity to Jesus, who had a physical body.[408] In the 19th century, Nietzsche began to write a series of polemics on the "unnatural" teachings of Christianity (e.g. sexual abstinence), and continued his criticism of Christianity to the end of his life.[409] In the 20th century, the philosopher Bertrand Russell expressed his criticism of Christianity in Why I Am Not a Christian, formulating his rejection of Christianity in the setting of logical arguments.[410] Criticism of Christianity continues to date, e.g. Jewish and Muslim theologians criticize the doctrine of the Trinity held by most Christians, stating that this doctrine in effect assumes that there are three Gods, running against the basic tenet of monotheism.[411] New Testament scholar Robert M. Price has outlined the possibility that some Bible stories are based partly on myth in The Christ Myth Theory and its problems.[412] Christian apologetics aims to present a rational basis for Christianity. The word "apologetic" (Greek: ἀπολογητικός apologētikos) comes from the Greek verb ἀπολογέομαι apologeomai, meaning "(I) speak in defense of".[413] Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul the Apostle. The philosopher Thomas Aquinas presented five arguments for God's existence in the Summa Theologica, while his Summa contra Gentiles was a major apologetic work.[414][415] Another famous apologist, G. K. Chesterton, wrote in the early twentieth century about the benefits of religion and, specifically, Christianity. Famous for his use of paradox, Chesterton explained that while Christianity had the most mysteries, it was the most practical religion.[416][417] He pointed to the advance of Christian civilizations as proof of its practicality.[418] The physicist and priest John Polkinghorne, in his Questions of Truth discusses the subject of religion and science, a topic that other Christian apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, and William Lane Craig have engaged, with the latter two men opining that the inflationary Big Bang model is evidence for the existence of God.[419] See also icon Book: Abrahamic religions Book: Christianity Book: Christianity: A History iconChristianity portal iconReligion portal Spirituality portal Christianity and Judaism Judaism Mandaeism Old Norse religion Christianity and politics Christian mythology List of schisms in Christianity Criticism of Christianity Outline of Christianity One true church Notes The term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch[Acts 11:26] about 44 AD, meaning "followers of Christ". The name was given by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch to the disciples of Jesus. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.[1] It appears in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9 and Acts 19:23). Some English translations of the New Testament capitalize 'the Way' (e.g. the New King James Version and the English Standard Version), indicating that this was how 'the new religion seemed then to be designated' [18] whereas others treat the phrase as indicative—'the way',[19] 'that way' [20] or 'the way of the Lord'.[21] The Syriac version reads, "the way of God" and the Vulgate Latin version, "the way of the Lord".[22] The Latin equivalent, from which English trinity is derived,[69] is trinitas[70] though Latin also borrowed Greek trias verbatim.[71] Iesous Christos Theou Hyios Soter would be a more complete transliteration; in Greek though, the daseia or spiritus asper was not—commonly—marked in the majuscule script of the time. A flexible term; defined as all forms of Protestantism with the notable exception of the historical denominations deriving directly from the Protestant Reformation. References Elwell & Comfort 2001, pp. 266, 828. Woodhead, Linda (2004). Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. n.p. "World's largest religion by population is still Christianity". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 27 February 2019. S. T. Kimbrough, ed. (2005). Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural understanding and practice. St Vladimir's Seminary Press. ISBN 978-0-88141-301-4. Muslim-Christian Relations. Amsterdam University Press. 2006. ISBN 978-90-5356-938-2. Retrieved 18 October 2007. "The enthusiasm for evangelization among the Christians was also accompanied by the awareness that the most immediate problem to solve was how to serve the huge number of new converts. Simatupang said, if the number of the Christians were double or triple, then the number of the ministers should also be doubled or tripled and the tole of the laity should be maximized and Christian service to society through schools, universities, hospitals and orphanages, should be increased. In addition, for him the Christian mission should be involved in the struggle for justice amid the process of modernization." Fred Kammer (1 May 2004). Doing Faith Justice. Paulist Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8091-4227-9. Retrieved 18 October 2007. "Theologians, bishops, and preachers urged the Christian community to be as compassionate as their God was, reiterating that creation was for all of humanity. They also accepted and developed the identification of Christ with the poor and the requisite Christian duty to the poor. Religious congregations and individual charismatic leaders promoted the development of a number of helping institutions-hospitals, hospices for pilgrims, orphanages, shelters for unwed mothers-that laid the foundation for the modern "large network of hospitals, orphanages and schools, to serve the poor and society at large."" Christian Church Women: Shapers of a Movement. Chalice Press. March 1994. ISBN 978-0-8272-0463-8. Retrieved 18 October 2007. "In the central provinces of India they established schools, orphanages, hospitals, and churches, and spread the gospel message in zenanas." Peter, Laurence (17 October 2018). "Orthodox Church split: Five reasons why it matters". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2018. Religions in Global Society. p. 146, Peter Beyer, 2006 Cambridge University Historical Series, An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects, p. 40: Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era. Caltron J.H Hayas, Christianity and Western Civilization (1953), Stanford University Press, p. 2: "That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization—the civilization of western Europe and of America—have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo – Graeco – Christianity, Catholic and Protestant." Horst Hutter, University of New York, Shaping the Future: Nietzsche's New Regime of the Soul And Its Ascetic Practices (2004), p. 111: three mighty founders of Western culture, namely Socrates, Jesus, and Plato. Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p. 22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization. Sherwood, Harriet (21 March 2018). "'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 December 2018. Analysis (19 December 2011). "Global Christianity". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 17 August 2012. Pew Research Center Larry Hurtado (August 17, 2017 ), "Paul, the Pagans’ Apostle" Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 19, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb//acts/19.htm accessed 8 October 2015 Jubilee Bible 2000 American King James Version Douai-Rheims Bible Gill, J., Gill's Exposition of the Bible, commentary on Acts 19:23 http://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/acts/19.htm accessed 8 October 2015 E. Peterson (1959), "Christianus." In: Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, publisher: Herder, Freiburg, pp. 353–72 Olson, The Mosaic of Christian Belief. Pelikan/Hotchkiss, Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. ""We Believe in One God....": The Nicene Creed and Mass". Catholics United for the Fath. February 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2014. Encyclopedia of Religion, "Arianism". Catholic Encyclopedia, "Council of Ephesus". Christian History Institute, First Meeting of the Council of Chalcedon. Peter Theodore Farrington (February 2006). "The Oriental Orthodox Rejection of Chalcedon". Glastonbury Review (113). Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Pope Leo I, Letter to Flavian Catholic Encyclopedia, "Athanasian Creed". "Our Common Heritage as Christians". The United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 14 January 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2007. Avis, Paul (2002) The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions, SPCK, London, ISBN 0-281-05246-8 paperback White, Howard A. The History of the Church. Cummins, Duane D. (1991). A handbook for Today's Disciples in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Revised ed.). St Louis, MO: Chalice Press. ISBN 978-0-8272-1425-5. Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-7369-1289-4 Metzger/Coogan, Oxford Companion to the Bible, pp. 513, 649. Acts 2:24, 2:31–32, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40–41, 13:30, 13:34, 13:37, 17:30–31, Romans 10:9, 1 Cor. 15:15, 6:14, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:20, Col 2:12, 1 Thess. 11:10, Heb. 13:20, 1 Pet. 1:3, 1:21 s:Nicene Creed Hanegraaff. Resurrection: The Capstone in the Arch of Christianity. "The Significance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus for the Christian". Australian Catholic University National. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007. John, 5:24, 6:39–40, 6:47, 10:10, 11:25–26, and 17:3 This is drawn from a number of sources, especially the early Creeds, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, certain theological works, and various Confessions drafted during the Reformation including the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, works contained in the Book of Concord. Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, p. 11. A Jesus Seminar conclusion held that "in the view of the Seminar, he did not rise bodily from the dead; the resurrection is based instead on visionary experiences of Peter, Paul, and Mary." Funk. The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?. Lorenzen. Resurrection, Discipleship, Justice: Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today, p. 13. Ball/Johnsson (ed.). The Essential Jesus. Eisenbaum, Pamela (Winter 2004). "A Remedy for Having Been Born of Woman: Jesus, Gentiles, and Genealogy in Romans" (PDF). Journal of Biblical Literature. 123 (4): 671–702. doi:10.2307/3268465. JSTOR 3268465. Retrieved 3 April 2009. Wright, N.T. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Oxford, 1997), p. 121. CCC 846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14 See quotations from Council of Trent on Justification at Justforcatholics.org Westminster Confession, Chapter X Archived 28 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine; Spurgeon, A Defense of Calvinism Archived 10 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. "Grace and Justification". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Definition of the Fourth Lateran Council quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church §253. Christianity's status as monotheistic is affirmed in, among other sources, the Catholic Encyclopedia (article "Monotheism"); William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr; About.com, Monotheistic Religion resources; Kirsch, God Against the Gods; Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Monotheism; The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, monotheism; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul, pp. 496–499; Meconi. "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity". pp. 111ff. Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. pp. 87–90. Alexander. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. pp. 514ff. McGrath. Historical Theology. p. 61. Metzger/Coogan. Oxford Companion to the Bible. p. 782. Kelly. The Athanasian Creed. Oxford, "Encyclopedia Of Christianity, pg1207 Heidi J. Hornik and Mikeal Carl Parsons, Interpreting Christian Art: Reflections on Christian art, Mercer University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-86554-850-1, pp. 32–35. Examples of ante-Nicene statements: Hence all the power of magic became dissolved; and every bond of wickedness was destroyed, men's ignorance was taken away, and the old kingdom abolished God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life. — St. Ignatius of Antioch in Letter to the Ephesians, ch.4, shorter version, Roberts-Donaldson translation We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For 'the Word was made flesh.' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts — St. Ignatius of Antioch in Letter to the Ephesians, ch.7, shorter version, Roberts-Donaldson translation The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: ...one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father 'to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all... — St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies, ch.X, v.I, Donaldson, Sir James (1950), Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., ISBN 978-0802880871 For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water — Justin Martyr in First Apology, ch. LXI, Donaldson, Sir James (1950), Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, ISBN 978-0802880871 Olson, Roger E. (2002). The Trinity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8028-4827-7. Fowler. World Religions: An Introduction for Students. p. 58. τριάς. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project. Harper, Douglas. "trinity". Online Etymology Dictionary. trinitas. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project. trias. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project. Theophilus of Antioch. "Book II.15". Apologia ad Autolycum. Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus (in Greek and Latin). 6. "Ὡσαύτως καὶ αἱ τρεῖς ἡμέραι τῶν φωστήρων γεγονυῖαι τύποι εἰσὶν τῆς Τριάδος, τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τοῦ Λόγου αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῆς Σοφίας αὐτοῦ." McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. p. 50. Tertullian, "21", De Pudicitia (in Latin), "Nam et ipsa ecclesia proprie et principaliter ipse est spiritus, in quo est trinitas unius diuinitatis, Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus.". McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 53. Moltman, Jurgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. Tr. from German. Fortress Press, 1993. ISBN 0-8006-2825-X Harnack, History of Dogma. Pocket Dictionary of Church History Nathan P. Feldmeth p. 135 "Unitarianism. Unitarians emerged from Protestant Christian beginnings in the sixteenth century with a central focus on the unity of God and subsequent denial of the doctrine of the Trinity" Gill, N.S. "Which Nation First Adopted Christianity?". About.com. Retrieved 8 October 2011. "Armenia is considered the first nation to have adopted Christianity as the state religion in a traditional date of c. A.D. 301." Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologicum, Supplementum Tertiae Partis questions 69 through 99 Calvin, John. "Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book Three, Ch. 25". www.reformed.org. Retrieved 1 January 2008. Catholic Encyclopedia, "Particular Judgment". Ott, Grundriß der Dogmatik, p. 566. David Moser, What the Orthodox believe concerning prayer for the dead. Ken Collins, What Happens to Me When I Die? Archived 28 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine. "Audience of 4 August 1999". Vatican.va. 4 August 1999. Retrieved 19 November 2010. Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Communion of Saints". "The death that Adam brought into the world is spiritual as well as physical, and only those who gain entrance into the Kingdom of God will exist eternally. However, this division will not occur until Armageddon, when all people will be resurrected and given a chance to gain eternal life. In the meantime, "the dead are conscious of nothing." What is God's Purpose for the Earth?" Official Site of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watchtower, 15 July 2002. Justin Martyr, First Apology §LXVII Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine (1937). Cross/Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. pp. 1435ff. Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon. Fortescue, Adrian (1912). "Christian Calendar". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 18 July 2014. Hickman. Handbook of the Christian Year. "ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second | Christian Classics Ethereal Library". Ccel.org. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2009. Minucius Felix speaks of the cross of Jesus in its familiar form, likening it to objects with a crossbeam or to a man with arms outstretched in prayer (Octavius of Minucius Felix, chapter XXIX). "At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign." (Tertullian, De Corona, chapter 3) Dilasser. The Symbols of the Church. Catholic Encyclopedia, "Symbolism of the Fish". "Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213 Archived 22 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine); "Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God" (Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Episcopal ); "Baptism is the sacrament of initiation and incorporation into the body of Christ" (By Water and The Spirit – The Official United Methodist Understanding of Baptism (PDF) Archived 13 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine; "As an initiatory rite into membership of the Family of God, baptismal candidates are symbolically purified or washed as their sins have been forgiven and washed away" (William H. Brackney, Doing Baptism Baptist Style – Believer's Baptism Archived 7 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine) "After the proclamation of faith, the baptismal water is prayed over and blessed as the sign of the goodness of God's creation. The person to be baptized is also prayed over and blessed with sanctified oil as the sign that his creation by God is holy and good. And then, after the solemn proclamation of "Alleluia" (God be praised), the person is immersed three times in the water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Orthodox Church in America: Baptism). "In the Orthodox Church we totally immerse, because such total immersion symbolizes death. What death? The death of the "old, sinful man". After Baptism we are freed from the dominion of sin, even though after Baptism we retain an inclination and tendency toward evil.", Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, article "Baptism Archived 30 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine". 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National Geographic Society (2004) ISBN 0-7922-7313-3 Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines. Kelly, J.N.D. The Athanasian Creed. Harper & Row, New York (1964). Kirsch, Jonathan. God Against the Gods. Kreeft, Peter. Catholic Christianity. Ignatius Press (2001) ISBN 0-89870-798-6 Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity in Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. P & R Publishing (2005). ISBN 0-87552-000-6. Lorenzen, Thorwald. Resurrection, Discipleship, Justice: Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today. Smyth & Helwys (2003). ISBN 1-57312-399-4. McLaughlin, R. Emmet, Caspar Schwenckfeld, reluctant radical: his life to 1540, New Haven: Yale University Press (1986). ISBN 0-300-03367-2. MacCulloch, Diarmaid, The Reformation: A History. Viking Adult (2004). MacCulloch, Diarmaid, A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. London, Allen Lane. 2009. ISBN 978-0-7139-9869-6 Marber, Peter. Money Changes Everything: How Global Prosperity Is Reshaping Our Needs, Values and Lifestyles. FT Press (2003). ISBN 0-13-065480-9 Marthaler, Berard. Introducing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Traditional Themes and Contemporary Issues. Paulist Press (1994). ISBN 0-8091-3495-0 Mathison, Keith. The Shape of Sola Scriptura (2001). McClintock, John, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper &Brothers, original from Harvard University (1889) McGrath, Alister E. Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). ISBN 1-4051-0899-1. McGrath, Alister E. Historical Theology. McManners, John. Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Oxford University Press (1990). ISBN 0-19-822928-3. Meconi, David Vincent. "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity", in: Journal of Early Christian Studies. Metzger, Bruce M., Michael Coogan (ed.). Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 0-19-504645-5. Mullin, Robert Bruce. A short world history of Christianity. Westminster John Knox Press (2008). Norman, Edward. The Roman Catholic Church, An Illustrated History. University of California (2007) ISBN 978-0-520-25251-6 Olson, Roger E., The Mosaic of Christian Belief. InterVarsity Press (2002). ISBN 978-0-8308-2695-7. Orlandis, Jose, A Short History of the Catholic Church. Scepter Publishers (1993) ISBN 1-85182-125-2 Ott, Ludwig. Grundriß der Dogmatik. Herder, Freiburg (1965). Otten, Herman J. Baal or God? Liberalism or Christianity, Fantasy vs. Truth: Beliefs and Practices of the Churches of the World Today.... Second ed. New Haven, Mo.: Lutheran News, 1988. Pelikan, Jaroslav; Hotchkiss, Valerie (ed.) Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. Yale University Press (2003). ISBN 0-300-09389-6. Putnam, Robert D. Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society. Oxford University Press (2002). Ricciotti, Giuseppe (1999). Julian the Apostate: Roman Emperor (361-363). TAN Books. ISBN 978-1505104547. Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Oxford History of the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press, (1999). Robinson, George (2000). Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-03481-8. Schama, Simon . A History of Britain. Hyperion (2000). ISBN 0-7868-6675-6. Servetus, Michael. Restoration of Christianity. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press (2007). Simon, Edith. Great Ages of Man: The Reformation. Time-Life Books (1966). ISBN 0-662-27820-8. Smith, J.Z. (1998). Spitz, Lewis. The Protestant Reformation. Concordia Publishing House (2003). ISBN 0-570-03320-9. Sproul, R.C. Knowing Scripture. Spurgeon, Charles. A Defense of Calvinism. Sykes, Stephen; Booty, John; Knight, Jonathan. The Study of Anglicanism. Augsburg Fortress Publishers (1998). ISBN 0-8006-3151-X. Talbott, Thomas. Three Pictures of God in Western Theology" (1995). Ustorf, Werner. "A missiological postscript", in: McLeod, Hugh; Ustorf, Werner (ed.). The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, 1750–2000. Cambridge University Press (2003). Walsh, Chad. Campus Gods on Trial. Rev. and enl. ed. New York: Macmillan Co., 1962, t.p. 1964. xiv, [4], 154 p. Woodhead, Linda. An Introduction to Christianity. Woods, Thomas E. (2005). How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regnery. Further reading Gill, Robin (2001). The Cambridge companion to Christian ethics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-77918-0. Gunton, Colin E. (1997). The Cambridge companion to Christian doctrine. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47695-9. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (Viking; 2010) 1,161 pp.; survey by leading historian MacMullen, Ramsay (2006). Voting About God in Early Church Councils. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11596-3. Padgett, Alan G.; Sally Bruyneel (2003). Introducing Christianity. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books. ISBN 978-1-57075-395-4. Price, Matthew Arlen; Collins, Michael (1999). The story of Christianity. New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-0-7513-0467-1. Ratzinger, Joseph (2004). Introduction To Christianity (Communio Books). San Francisco: Ignatius Press. ISBN 978-1-58617-029-5. Roper, J.C., Bp. (1923), et al.. Faith in God, in series, Layman's Library of Practical Religion, Church of England in Canada, vol. 2. Toronto, Ont.: Musson Book Co. N.B.: The series statement is given in the more extended form which appears on the book's front cover. Rüegg, Walter (1992). "Foreword. The University as a European Institution," in: A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1, Universities in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36105-2. Tucker, Karen; Wainwright, Geoffrey (2006). The Oxford history of Christian worship. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513886-3. Verger, Jacques (1999). Culture, enseignement et société en Occident aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles (1st ed.). Presses universitaires de Rennes in Rennes. ISBN 978-2868473448. Wagner, Richard (2004). Christianity for Dummies. For Dummies. ISBN 978-0-7645-4482-8. Webb, Jeffrey B. (2004). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Christianity. Indianapolis, Ind: Alpha Books. ISBN 978-1-59257-176-5. Wills, Garry, "A Wild and Indecent Book" (review of David Bentley Hart, The New Testament: A Translation, Yale University Press, 577 pp.), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXV, no. 2 (8 February 2018), pp. 34–35. Discusses some pitfalls in interpreting and translating the New Testament. Woodhead, Linda (2004). Christianity: a very short introduction. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280322-1. 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Aguillard Kansas evolution hearings Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Teach the Controversy Related Anthropic principle Biblical inerrancy Biblical literalism Created kind Nephilim Omphalos hypothesis God This article is about the concept of a supreme "God" in the context of monotheism. For the general concept of a being superior to humans that is worshiped as "a god", see Deity and God (male deity). For God in specific religions, see Conceptions of God. For other uses of the term, see God (disambiguation). Many religions use images to "represent" God in icons for art or for worship. Here are some examples of representations of God in Christianity and various branches of Hinduism. Part of a series on God General conceptions [hide] Agnosticism Apatheism Atheism Deism Henotheism Ietsism Ignosticism Monotheism Monism Dualism Monolatry Kathenotheism Omnism Pandeism Panentheism Pantheism Polytheism Theism Transtheism Specific conceptions [hide] Creator Demiurge Deus Father Form of the Good Great Architect Monad Mother Summum bonum Supreme Being Sustainer The All The Lord Trinity Tawhid Ditheism Monism Personal Unitarianism In particular religions [hide] Abrahamic Judaism Christianity Islam Bahá'í Mormonism Indo-Iranian Hinduism Buddhism Jainism Sikhism Zoroastrianism Chinese Tian Shangdi Hongjun Laozu Attributes [hide] Eternalness Existence Gender Names ("God") Omnibenevolence Omnipotence Omnipresence Omniscience ExperiencesPractices [hide] Belief Esotericism Faith Fideism Gnosis Hermeticism Metaphysics Mysticism Prayer Revelation Worship Related topics [hide] Euthyphro dilemma God complex God gene Theology Ontology Problem of evil (theodicy) Religion philosophy texts Portrayals of God in popular media vte In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith.[1] God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial).[1][2][3] Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence (being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism, for example, attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience.[4] God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[5] Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten,[6] premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe.[7] In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה ) and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God.[8] In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith,[9] Waheguru in Sikhism,[10] Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism,[11] and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.[12] The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism,[13] or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts".[14] Etymology and usage The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God Yahweh. Main article: God (word) The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus. The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke".[15] The Germanic words for God were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form.[16] The word 'Allah' in Arabic calligraphy In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including 'God'.[17] Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods (polytheism) or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity.[18][19] The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.[20] Allāh (Arabic: الله ) is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning "The God" (with the first letter capitalized), while "ʾilāh" (Arabic: إله ) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[21][22][23] God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari.[24] Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning "placing (dʰeh1) one's mind (*mn̩-s)", hence "wise".[25] Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God. It means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means "wonderful" and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other: Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord. Baha, the "greatest" name for God in the Baha'i faith, is Arabic for "All-Glorious". General conceptions Main article: Conceptions of God There is no clear consensus on the nature or the existence of God.[26] The Abrahamic conceptions of God include the monotheistic definition of God in Judaism, the trinitarian view of Christians, and the Islamic concept of God. The dharmic religions differ in their view of the divine: views of God in Hinduism vary by region, sect, and caste, ranging from monotheistic to polytheistic. Many polytheistic religions share the idea of a creator deity, although having a name other than "God" and without all of the other roles attributed to a singular God by monotheistic religions. Jainism is polytheistic and non-creationist. Depending on one's interpretation and tradition, Buddhism can be conceived as being either atheistic, non-theistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, or polytheistic. Oneness Main articles: Monotheism and Henotheism The Trinity is the belief that God is composed of The Father, The Son (embodied metaphysically in the physical realm by Jesus), and The Holy Spirit. Monotheists hold that there is only one god, and may claim that the one true god is worshiped in different religions under different names. The view that all theists actually worship the same god, whether they know it or not, is especially emphasized in the Bahá'í Faith, Hinduism[27] and Sikhism.[28] In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity describes God as one God in three divine Persons (each of the three Persons is God himself). The Most Holy Trinity comprises[29] God the Father, God the Son (which is Jesus Christ God), and God the Holy Spirit. In the past centuries, this fundamental Mystery of the Christian faith was also summarized by the Latin formula Sancta Trinitas, Unus Deus (Holy Trinity, Unique God), reported in the Litanias Lauretanas. Islam's most fundamental concept is tawhid (meaning "oneness" or "uniqueness"). God is described in the Quran as: "Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him."[30][31] Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God is transcendent and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, and are not expected to visualize God.[32] Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[33] Theism, deism, and pantheism Main articles: Theism, Deism, and Pantheism Theism generally holds that God exists realistically, objectively, and independently of human thought; that God created and sustains everything; that God is omnipotent and eternal; and that God is personal and interacting with the universe through, for example, religious experience and the prayers of humans.[34] Theism holds that God is both transcendent and immanent; thus, God is simultaneously infinite and, in some way, present in the affairs of the world.[35] Not all theists subscribe to all of these propositions, but each usually subscribes to some of them (see, by way of comparison, family resemblance).[34] Catholic theology holds that God is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Most theists hold that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, although this belief raises questions about God's responsibility for evil and suffering in the world. Some theists ascribe to God a self-conscious or purposeful limiting of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Open Theism, by contrast, contends that, due to the nature of time, God's omniscience does not mean the deity can predict the future. Theism is sometimes used to refer in general to any belief in a god or gods, i.e., monotheism or polytheism.[36][37] God blessing the seventh day, a watercolor painting depicting God, by William Blake (1757–1827) Deism holds that God is wholly transcendent: God exists, but does not intervene in the world beyond what was necessary to create it.[35] In this view, God is not anthropomorphic, and neither answers prayers nor produces miracles. Common in Deism is a belief that God has no interest in humanity and may not even be aware of humanity. Pandeism combines Deism with Pantheistic beliefs.[13][38][39] Pandeism is proposed to explain as to Deism why God would create a universe and then abandon it,[40] and as to Pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.[40][41] Pantheism holds that God is the universe and the universe is God, whereas Panentheism holds that God contains, but is not identical to, the Universe.[42] It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church; Theosophy; some views of Hinduism except Vaishnavism, which believes in panentheism; Sikhism; some divisions of Neopaganism and Taoism, along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God—which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism, particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov—but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.[citation needed] Other concepts Dystheism, which is related to theodicy, is a form of theism which holds that God is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent as a consequence of the problem of evil. One such example comes from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, in which Ivan Karamazov rejects God on the grounds that he allows children to suffer.[43] In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God as phenomenological essence of Life.[44] God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Maimonides,[45] Augustine of Hippo,[45] and Al-Ghazali,[5] respectively. Non-theistic views See also: Evolutionary origin of religions and Evolutionary psychology of religion Non-theist views about God also vary. Some non-theists avoid the concept of God, whilst accepting that it is significant to many; other non-theists understand God as a symbol of human values and aspirations. The nineteenth-century English atheist Charles Bradlaugh declared that he refused to say "There is no God", because "the word 'God' is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation";[46] he said more specifically that he disbelieved in the Christian god. Stephen Jay Gould proposed an approach dividing the world of philosophy into what he called "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA). In this view, questions of the supernatural, such as those relating to the existence and nature of God, are non-empirical and are the proper domain of theology. The methods of science should then be used to answer any empirical question about the natural world, and theology should be used to answer questions about ultimate meaning and moral value. In this view, the perceived lack of any empirical footprint from the magisterium of the supernatural onto natural events makes science the sole player in the natural world.[47] Another view, advanced by Richard Dawkins, is that the existence of God is an empirical question, on the grounds that "a universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference."[48] Carl Sagan argued that the doctrine of a Creator of the Universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could disprove the existence of a Creator (not necessarily a God) would be the discovery that the universe is infinitely old.[49] Stephen Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinow state in their book, The Grand Design, that it is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God. Both authors claim however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings.[50] Agnosticism and atheism Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.[51][52][53] Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[54][55] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities, although it can be defined as a lack of belief in the existence of any deities, rather than a positive belief in the nonexistence of any deities.[56] Anthropomorphism Main article: Anthropomorphism Pascal Boyer argues that while there is a wide array of supernatural concepts found around the world, in general, supernatural beings tend to behave much like people. The construction of gods and spirits like persons is one of the best known traits of religion. He cites examples from Greek mythology, which is, in his opinion, more like a modern soap opera than other religious systems.[57] Bertrand du Castel and Timothy Jurgensen demonstrate through formalization that Boyer's explanatory model matches physics' epistemology in positing not directly observable entities as intermediaries.[58] Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie contends that people project human features onto non-human aspects of the world because it makes those aspects more familiar. Sigmund Freud also suggested that god concepts are projections of one's father.[59] Likewise, Émile Durkheim was one of the earliest to suggest that gods represent an extension of human social life to include supernatural beings. In line with this reasoning, psychologist Matt Rossano contends that when humans began living in larger groups, they may have created gods as a means of enforcing morality. In small groups, morality can be enforced by social forces such as gossip or reputation. However, it is much harder to enforce morality using social forces in much larger groups. Rossano indicates that by including ever-watchful gods and spirits, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.[60] Existence Main article: Existence of God St. Thomas Aquinas summed up five main arguments as proofs for God's existence. Isaac Newton saw the existence of a Creator necessary in the movement of astronomical objects. Arguments about the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Different views include that: "God does not exist" (strong atheism); "God almost certainly does not exist" (de facto atheism); "no one knows whether God exists" (agnosticism[61]); "God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (de facto theism); and that "God exists and this can be proven" (strong theism).[47] Countless arguments have been proposed to prove the existence of God.[62] Some of the most notable arguments are the Five Ways of Aquinas, the Argument from desire proposed by C.S. Lewis, and the Ontological Argument formulated both by St. Anselm and René Descartes.[63] St. Anselm's approach was to define God as, "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". Famed pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza would later carry this idea to its extreme: "By God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of infinite attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence." For Spinoza, the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or its equivalent, Nature.[64] His proof for the existence of God was a variation of the Ontological argument.[65] Scientist Isaac Newton saw the nontrinitarian God[66] as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation.[67] Nevertheless, he rejected polymath Leibniz' thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator. In Query 31 of the Opticks, Newton simultaneously made an argument from design and for the necessity of intervention: For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.[68] St. Thomas believed that the existence of God is self-evident in itself, but not to us. "Therefore I say that this proposition, "God exists", of itself is self-evident, for the predicate is the same as the subject.... Now because we do not know the essence of God, the proposition is not self-evident to us; but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature—namely, by effects."[69] St. Thomas believed that the existence of God can be demonstrated. Briefly in the Summa theologiae and more extensively in the Summa contra Gentiles, he considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways). For the original text of the five proofs, see quinque viae Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God. Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God. Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist. Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative that is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God (Note: Thomas does not ascribe actual qualities to God Himself). Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God (Note that even when we guide objects, in Thomas's view, the source of all our knowledge comes from God as well).[70] Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian A.E. McGrath, argue that the existence of God is not a question that can be answered using the scientific method.[71][72] Agnostic Stephen Jay Gould argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap.[73] Some findings in the fields of cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience are interpreted by some atheists (including Lawrence M. Krauss and Sam Harris) as evidence that God is an imaginary entity only, with no basis in reality.[74][75] These atheists claim that a single, omniscient God who is imagined to have created the universe and is particularly attentive to the lives of humans has been imagined, embellished and promulgated in a trans-generational manner.[76] Richard Dawkins interprets such findings not only as a lack of evidence for the material existence of such a God, but as extensive evidence to the contrary.[47] However, his views are opposed by some theologians and scientists including Alister McGrath, who argues that existence of God is compatible with science.[77] Specific attributes Different religious traditions assign differing (though often similar) attributes and characteristics to God, including expansive powers and abilities, psychological characteristics, gender characteristics, and preferred nomenclature. The assignment of these attributes often differs according to the conceptions of God in the culture from which they arise. For example, attributes of God in Christianity, attributes of God in Islam, and the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Judaism share certain similarities arising from their common roots. Names Main article: Names of God 99 names of Allah, in Chinese Sini (script) The word God is "one of the most complex and difficult in the English language." In the Judeo-Christian tradition, "the Bible has been the principal source of the conceptions of God". That the Bible "includes many different images, concepts, and ways of thinking about" God has resulted in perpetual "disagreements about how God is to be conceived and understood".[78] Many traditions see God as incorporeal and eternal, and regard him as a point of living light like human souls, but without a physical body, as he does not enter the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. God is seen as the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values and that he is the unconditionally loving Father of all souls, irrespective of their religion, gender, or culture.[79] Throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bibles there are many names for God. One of them is Elohim. Another one is El Shaddai, translated "God Almighty".[80] A third notable name is El Elyon, which means "The High God".[81] God is described and referred in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful" (See Names of God in Islam).[82] Many of these names are also used in the scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith. Vaishnavism, a tradition in Hinduism, has a list of titles and names of Krishna. Gender Main article: Gender of God The gender of God may be viewed as either a literal or an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form.[83][84] Polytheistic religions commonly attribute to each of the gods a gender, allowing each to interact with any of the others, and perhaps with humans, sexually. In most monotheistic religions, God has no counterpart with which to relate sexually. Thus, in classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to the receptive) role in sexual intercourse.[85] Biblical sources usually refer to God using male words, except Genesis 1:26–27,[86][87] Psalm 123:2–3, and Luke 15:8–10 (female); Hosea 11:3–4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2 (a mother); Deuteronomy 32:11–12 (a mother eagle); and Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 (a mother hen). Relationship with creation See also: Creator deity, Prayer, and Worship And Elohim Created Adam by William Blake, c. 1795 Prayer plays a significant role among many believers. Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[88][89] He is viewed as a personal God and there are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God. Prayer often also includes supplication and asking forgiveness. God is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance.[90] Christian theologian Alister McGrath writes that there are good reasons to suggest that a "personal god" is integral to the Christian outlook, but that one has to understand it is an analogy. "To say that God is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God is human, or located at a specific point in the universe."[91] Adherents of different religions generally disagree as to how to best worship God and what is God's plan for mankind, if there is one. There are different approaches to reconciling the contradictory claims of monotheistic religions. One view is taken by exclusivists, who believe they are the chosen people or have exclusive access to absolute truth, generally through revelation or encounter with the Divine, which adherents of other religions do not. Another view is religious pluralism. A pluralist typically believes that his religion is the right one, but does not deny the partial truth of other religions. An example of a pluralist view in Christianity is supersessionism, i.e., the belief that one's religion is the fulfillment of previous religions. A third approach is relativistic inclusivism, where everybody is seen as equally right; an example being universalism: the doctrine that salvation is eventually available for everyone. A fourth approach is syncretism, mixing different elements from different religions. An example of syncretism is the New Age movement. Jews and Christians believe that humans are created in the image of God, and are the center, crown and key to God's creation, stewards for God, supreme over everything else God had made (Gen 1:26); for this reason, humans are in Christianity called the "Children of God".[92] Depiction Zoroastrianism Ahura Mazda (depiction is on the right, with high crown) presents Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd century CE) During the early Parthian Empire, Ahura Mazda was visually represented for worship. This practice ended during the beginning of the Sassanid empire. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda continued to be symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback which is found in Sassanian investiture.[93] Judaism At least some Jews do not use any image for God, since God is the unimaginable Being who cannot be represented in material forms.[94] In some samples of Jewish Art, however, sometimes God, or at least his intervention, is indicated by a Hand Of God symbol, which represents the bath Kol (literally "daughter of a voice") or Voice of God.[95] The burning bush that was not consumed by the flames is described in Book of Exodus as a symbolic representation of God when he appeared to Moses.[96] Christianity Further information: God in Catholicism See also: God the Father in Western art Early Christians believed that the words of the Gospel of John 1:18: "No man has seen God at any time" and numerous other statements were meant to apply not only to God, but to all attempts at the depiction of God.[97] Use of the symbolic Hand of God in the Ascension from the Drogo Sacramentary, c. 850 However, later depictions of God are found. Some, like the Hand of God, are depiction borrowed from Jewish art. The beginning of the 8th century witnessed the suppression and destruction of religious icons as the period of Byzantine iconoclasm (literally image-breaking) started. The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 effectively ended the first period of Byzantine iconoclasm and restored the honouring of icons and holy images in general.[98] However, this did not immediately translate into large scale depictions of God the Father. Even supporters of the use of icons in the 8th century, such as Saint John of Damascus, drew a distinction between images of God the Father and those of Christ. Prior to the 10th century no attempt was made to use a human to symbolize God the Father in Western art.[97] Yet, Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for symbolizing the Father using a man gradually emerged around the 10th century AD. A rationale for the use of a human is the belief that God created the soul of Man in the image of his own (thus allowing Human to transcend the other animals). It appears that when early artists designed to represent God the Father, fear and awe restrained them from a usage of the whole human figure. Typically only a small part would be used as the image, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely a whole human. In many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted.[99] By the 12th century depictions of God the Father had started to appear in French illuminated manuscripts, which as a less public form could often be more adventurous in their iconography, and in stained glass church windows in England. Initially the head or bust was usually shown in some form of frame of clouds in the top of the picture space, where the Hand of God had formerly appeared; the Baptism of Christ on the famous baptismal font in Liège of Rainer of Huy is an example from 1118 (a Hand of God is used in another scene). Gradually the amount of the human symbol shown can increase to a half-length figure, then a full-length, usually enthroned, as in Giotto's fresco of c. 1305 in Padua.[100] In the 14th century the Naples Bible carried a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush. By the early 15th century, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry has a considerable number of symbols, including an elderly but tall and elegant full-length figure walking in the Garden of Eden, which show a considerable diversity of apparent ages and dress. The "Gates of Paradise" of the Florence Baptistry by Lorenzo Ghiberti, begun in 1425 use a similar tall full-length symbol for the Father. The Rohan Book of Hours of about 1430 also included depictions of God the Father in half-length human form, which were now becoming standard, and the Hand of God becoming rarer. At the same period other works, like the large Genesis altarpiece by the Hamburg painter Meister Bertram, continued to use the old depiction of Christ as Logos in Genesis scenes. In the 15th century there was a brief fashion for depicting all three persons of the Trinity as similar or identical figures with the usual appearance of Christ. In an early Venetian school Coronation of the Virgin by Giovanni d'Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini (c. 1443), The Father is depicted using the symbol consistently used by other artists later, namely a patriarch, with benign, yet powerful countenance and with long white hair and a beard, a depiction largely derived from, and justified by, the near-physical, but still figurative, description of the Ancient of Days.[101] . ...the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Daniel 7:9) Usage of two Hands of God (relatively unusual) and the Holy Spirit as a dove in Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio, 1472. In the Annunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni in 1470, God the Father is portrayed in the red robe and a hat that resembles that of a Cardinal. However, even in the later part of the 15th century, the symbolic representation of the Father and the Holy Spirit as "hands and dove" continued, e.g. in Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ in 1472.[102] God the Father with His Right Hand Raised in Blessing, with a triangular halo representing the Trinity, Girolamo dai Libri c. 1555 In Renaissance paintings of the adoration of the Trinity, God may be depicted in two ways, either with emphasis on The Father, or the three elements of the Trinity. The most usual depiction of the Trinity in Renaissance art depicts God the Father using an old man, usually with a long beard and patriarchal in appearance, sometimes with a triangular halo (as a reference to the Trinity), or with a papal crown, specially in Northern Renaissance painting. In these depictions The Father may hold a globe or book (to symbolize God's knowledge and as a reference to how knowledge is deemed divine). He is behind and above Christ on the Cross in the Throne of Mercy iconography. A dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit may hover above. Various people from different classes of society, e.g. kings, popes or martyrs may be present in the picture. In a Trinitarian Pietà, God the Father is often symbolized using a man wearing a papal dress and a papal crown, supporting the dead Christ in his arms. They are depicted as floating in heaven with angels who carry the instruments of the Passion.[103] Representations of God the Father and the Trinity were attacked both by Protestants and within Catholicism, by the Jansenist and Baianist movements as well as more orthodox theologians. As with other attacks on Catholic imagery, this had the effect both of reducing Church support for the less central depictions, and strengthening it for the core ones. In the Western Church, the pressure to restrain religious imagery resulted in the highly influential decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent in 1563. The Council of Trent decrees confirmed the traditional Catholic doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person, not the image.[104] Artistic depictions of God the Father were uncontroversial in Catholic art thereafter, but less common depictions of the Trinity were condemned. In 1745 Pope Benedict XIV explicitly supported the Throne of Mercy depiction, referring to the "Ancient of Days", but in 1786 it was still necessary for Pope Pius VI to issue a papal bull condemning the decision of an Italian church council to remove all images of the Trinity from churches.[105] The famous The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, c. 1512 God the Father is symbolized in several Genesis scenes in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, most famously The Creation of Adam (whose image of near touching hands of God and Adam is iconic of humanity, being a reminder that Man is created in the Image and Likeness of God (Gen 1:26)).God the Father is depicted as a powerful figure, floating in the clouds in Titian's Assumption of the Virgin in the Frari of Venice, long admired as a masterpiece of High Renaissance art.[106] The Church of the Gesù in Rome includes a number of 16th-century depictions of God the Father. In some of these paintings the Trinity is still alluded to in terms of three angels, but Giovanni Battista Fiammeri also depicted God the Father as a man riding on a cloud, above the scenes.[107] In both the Last Judgment and the Coronation of the Virgin paintings by Rubens he depicted God the Father using the image that by then had become widely accepted, a bearded patriarchal figure above the fray. In the 17th century, the two Spanish artists Diego Velázquez (whose father-in-law Francisco Pacheco was in charge of the approval of new images for the Inquisition) and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo both depicted God the Father using a patriarchal figure with a white beard in a purple robe. While representations of God the Father were growing in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Low Countries, there was resistance elsewhere in Europe, even during the 17th century. In 1632 most members of the Star Chamber court in England (except the Archbishop of York) condemned the use of the images of the Trinity in church windows, and some considered them illegal.[108] Later in the 17th century Sir Thomas Browne wrote that he considered the representation of God the Father using an old man "a dangerous act" that might lead to Egyptian symbolism.[109] In 1847, Charles Winston was still critical of such images as a "Romish trend" (a term used to refer to Roman Catholics) that he considered best avoided in England.[110] In 1667 the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list,[111][112] mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons. The Council also declared that the person of the Trinity who was the "Ancient of Days" was Christ, as Logos, not God the Father. However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece, Romania, and other Orthodox countries. Islam The Arabic script of "Allah" in the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Further information: God in Islam Muslims believe that God (Allah) is beyond all comprehension and equal, and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, are not expected to visualize God, and instead of having pictures of Allah in their mosques, typically have religious calligraphy written on the wall.[32] Bahá'í Faith Further information: Manifestation of God Bahá'u'lláh taught that God is directly unknowable to common mortals, but that his attributes and qualities can be indirectly known by learning from and imitating his divine Manifestations, which in Bahá'í theology are somewhat comparable to Hindu avatars or Abrahamic prophets. These Manifestations are the great prophets and teachers of many of the major religious traditions. These include Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Muhammad, Bahá'ú'lláh, and others. Although the faith is strictly monotheistic, it also preaches the unity of all religions and focuses on these multiple epiphanies as necessary for meeting the needs of humanity at different points in history and for different cultures, and as part of a scheme of progressive revelation and education of humanity. Theological approaches See also: Classical theism and Theistic Personalism Classical theists (such as Ancient Greco-Medieval philosophers, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, much of Jews and Muslims, and some Protestants) speak of God as a divinely simple “nothing” that is completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), and having attributes such as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness.[113] Theologians of theistic personalism (the view held by Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and most modern evangelicals) argue that God is most generally the ground of all being, immanent in and transcendent over the whole world of reality, with immanence and transcendence being the contrapletes of personality.[114] Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental metaphors of higher consciousness, in which God can be just as easily be imagined "as an eternally flowing current of vital energy that endlessly changes shape ... as an eternally unmoved, unchangeable essence."[115] The attributes of the God of classical theism were all claimed to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars, including Maimonides,[45] St Augustine,[45] and Al-Ghazali.[116] Many philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God,[5] while attempting to comprehend the precise implications of God's attributes. Reconciling some of those attributes-particularly the attributes of the God of theistic personalism- generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God's omniscience may seem to imply that God knows how free agents will choose to act. If God does know this, their ostensible free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination, and if God does not know it, God may not be omniscient.[117] The last centuries of philosophy have seen vigorous questions regarding the arguments for God's existence raised by such philosophers as Immanuel Kant, David Hume and Antony Flew, although Kant held that the argument from morality was valid. The theist response has been either to contend, as does Alvin Plantinga, that faith is "properly basic", or to take, as does Richard Swinburne, the evidentialist position.[118] Some theists agree that only some of the arguments for God's existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God's existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as "the heart has reasons of which reason does not know."[119] Many religious believers allow for the existence of other, less powerful spiritual beings such as angels, saints, jinn, demons, and devas.[120][121][122][123][124] See also Mythology portal Philosophy portal iconReligion portal Spirituality portal All pages with titles beginning with God Absolute (philosophy) Apeiron (cosmology) God (disambiguation) God (male deity) Goddess List of deities Logos Logos (Christianity) Monad (philosophy) Relationship between religion and science Satan Demon Devil References Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995. David Bordwell (2002). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Continuum International Publishing ISBN 978-0-86012-324-8 p. 84 "Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText". Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2016. "G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd. Although in the Talmudic part of the Torah and especially in Kabalah G-d is referred to under the name 'Sh'chinah' – which is feminine, this is only to accentuate the fact that all the creation and nature are actually in the receiving end in reference to the creator and as no part of the creation can perceive the creator outside of nature, it is adequate to refer to the divine presence in feminine form. We refer to G-d using masculine terms simply for convenience's sake, because Hebrew has no neutral gender; G-d is no more male than a table is." Judaism 101. "The fact that we always refer to God as 'He' is also not meant to imply that the concept of sex or gender applies to God." Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, Mesorah Publications (1983), p. 144 Platinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000. Jan Assmann, Religion and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies, Stanford University Press 2005, p. 59 M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. 2, 1980, p. 96 Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity – p. 136, Michael P. Levine – 2002 A Feast for the Soul: Meditations on the Attributes of God : ... – p. x, Baháʾuʾlláh, Joyce Watanabe – 2006 Philosophy and Faith of Sikhism – p. ix, Kartar Singh Duggal – 1988 McDaniel, June (2013), A Modern Hindu Monotheism: Indonesian Hindus as ‘People of the Book’. The Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/jhs/hit030 The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam confidently with the cultured class, David S. Kidder, Noah D. Oppenheim, p. 364 Alan H. Dawe (2011). The God Franchise: A Theory of Everything. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-473-20114-2. "Pandeism: This is the belief that God created the universe, is now one with it, and so, is no longer a separate conscious entity. This is a combination of pantheism (God is identical to the universe) and deism (God created the universe and then withdrew Himself)." Christianity and Other Religions, by John Hick and Brian Hebblethwaite. 1980. p. 178. The ulterior etymology is disputed. Apart from the unlikely hypothesis of adoption from a foreign tongue, the OTeut. "ghuba" implies as its preTeut-type either "*ghodho-m" or "*ghodto-m". The former does not appear to admit of explanation; but the latter would represent the neut. pple. of a root "gheu-". There are two Aryan roots of the required form ("*g,heu-" with palatal aspirate) one with meaning 'to invoke' (Skr. "hu") the other 'to pour, to offer sacrifice' (Skr "hu", Gr. χεηi;ν, OE "geotàn" Yete v). OED Compact Edition, G, p. 267 Barnhart, Robert K. (1995). The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology: the Origins of American English Words, p. 323. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270084-7 "'God' in Merriam-Webster (online)". Merriam-Webster, Inc. Retrieved 19 July 2012. Webster's New World Dictionary; "God n. ME < OE, akin to Ger gott, Goth guth, prob. < IE base * ĝhau-, to call out to, invoke > Sans havaté, (he) calls upon; 1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature; deity, esp. a male deity: typically considered objects of worship; 2. an image that is worshiped; idol 3. a person or thing deified or excessively honored and admired; 4. [G-] in monotheistic religions, the creator and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing; Supreme Being; the Almighty" Dictionary.com; "God /gɒd/ noun: 1. the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe. 2. the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute. 3. (lowercase) one of several deities, esp. a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs. 4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the God of mercy. 5. Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle. 6. (lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol. 7. (lowercase) any deified person or object. 8. (often lowercase) Gods, Theater. 8a. the upper balcony in a theater. 8b. the spectators in this part of the balcony." Barton, G.A. (2006). A Sketch of Semitic Origins: Social and Religious. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4286-1575-5. "God". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. Retrieved 18 December 2010. "Islam and Christianity", Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allāh. L. Gardet. "Allah". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Hastings 2003, p. 540 Boyce 1983, p. 685. Froese, Paul; Christopher Bader (Fall–Winter 2004). "Does God Matter? A Social-Science Critique". Harvard Divinity Bulletin. 4. 32. See Swami Bhaskarananda, Essentials of Hinduism (Viveka Press 2002) ISBN 1-884852-04-1 "Sri Guru Granth Sahib". Sri Granth. Retrieved 30 June 2011. "What Is the Trinity?". Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Quran 112:1–4 D. Gimaret. "Allah, Tawhid". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Robyn Lebron (2012). Searching for Spiritual Unity...Can There Be Common Ground?. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4627-1262-5. Müller, Max. (1878) Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion: As Illustrated by the Religions of India. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Smart, Jack; John Haldane (2003). Atheism and Theism. Blackwell Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-631-23259-9. Lemos, Ramon M. (2001). A Neomedieval Essay in Philosophical Theology. Lexington Books. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7391-0250-3. "Philosophy of Religion.info – Glossary – Theism, Atheism, and Agonisticism". Philosophy of Religion.info. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2008. "Theism – definition of theism by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 16 July 2008. Sean F. Johnston (2009). The History of Science: A Beginner's Guide. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-85168-681-0. "In its most abstract form, deism may not attempt to describe the characteristics of such a non-interventionist creator, or even that the universe is identical with God (a variant known as pandeism)." Paul Bradley (2011). This Strange Eventful History: A Philosophy of Meaning. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-87586-876-9. "Pandeism combines the concepts of Deism and Pantheism with a god who creates the universe and then becomes it." Allan R. Fuller (2010). Thought: The Only Reality. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-60844-590-5. "Pandeism is another belief that states that God is identical to the universe, but God no longer exists in a way where He can be contacted; therefore, this theory can only be proven to exist by reason. Pandeism views the entire universe as being from God and now the universe is the entirety of God, but the universe at some point in time will fold back into one single being which is God Himself that created all. Pandeism raises the question as to why would God create a universe and then abandon it? As this relates to pantheism, it raises the question of how did the universe come about what is its aim and purpose?" Peter C. Rogers (2009). Ultimate Truth, Book 1. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-4389-7968-7. "As with Panentheism, Pantheism is derived from the Greek: 'pan'= all and 'theos' = God, it literally means "God is All" and "All is God." Pantheist purports that everything is part of an all-inclusive, indwelling, intangible God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are the same. Further review helps to accentuate the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe which is the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be, is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than an individual, creative Divine Being or Beings of any kind. This is the key element which distinguishes them from Panentheists and Pandeists. As such, although many religions may claim to hold Pantheistic elements, they are more commonly Panentheistic or Pandeistic in nature." John Culp (2013). "Panentheism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky pp. 259–61 Henry, Michel (2003). I am the Truth. Toward a philosophy of Christianity. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-3780-7. Edwards, Paul. "God and the philosophers" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-1-61592-446-2. "A Plea for Atheism. By 'Iconoclast'", London, Austin & Co., 1876, p. 2. Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-618-68000-9. Dawkins, Richard (23 October 2006). "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 January 2007. Sagan, Carl (1996). The Demon Haunted World. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-345-40946-1. Stephen Hawking; Leonard Mlodinow (2010). The Grand Design. Bantam Books. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-553-80537-6. Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005) [1967]. "Agnosticism". In Donald M. Borchert (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 92. ISBN 978-0-02-865780-6. "In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not." (p. 56 in 1967 edition) Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". In Edward Craig (ed.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3. "In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God exists nor the belief that God does not exist is rational." "agnostic, agnosticism". OED Online, 3rd ed. Oxford University Press. 2012. "agnostic. : A. n[oun]. :# A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of immaterial things, especially of the existence or nature of God. :# In extended use: a person who is not persuaded by or committed to a particular point of view; a sceptic. Also: person of indeterminate ideology or conviction; an equivocator. : B. adj[ective]. :# Of or relating to the belief that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (as far as can be judged) unknowable. Also: holding this belief. :# a. In extended use: not committed to or persuaded by a particular point of view; sceptical. Also: politically or ideologically unaligned; non-partisan, equivocal. agnosticism n. The doctrine or tenets of agnostics with regard to the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena or to knowledge of a First Cause or God." Nielsen 2013: "Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons ... : for an anthropomorphic God, the atheist rejects belief in God because it is false or probably false that there is a God; for a nonanthropomorphic God ... because the concept of such a God is either meaningless, unintelligible, contradictory, incomprehensible, or incoherent; for the God portrayed by some modern or contemporary theologians or philosophers ... because the concept of God in question is such that it merely masks an atheistic substance—e.g., "God" is just another name for love, or ... a symbolic term for moral ideals." Edwards 2005: "On our definition, an 'atheist' is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that 'God exists' expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than that it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes, too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious, and there are many other considerations which in certain contexts are generally agreed to constitute good grounds for rejecting an assertion." Rowe 1998: "As commonly understood, atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. So an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, whereas a theist is someone who believes in God. Another meaning of 'atheism' is simply nonbelief in the existence of God, rather than positive belief in the nonexistence of God. ... an atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology." Boyer, Pascal (2001). Religion Explained. New York: Basic Books. pp. 142–243. ISBN 978-0-465-00696-0. du Castel, Bertrand; Jurgensen, Timothy M. (2008). Computer Theology. Austin, Texas: Midori Press. pp. 221–22. ISBN 978-0-9801821-1-8. Barrett, Justin (1996). "Conceptualizing a Nonnatural Entity: Anthropomorphism in God Concepts" (PDF). Rossano, Matt (2007). "Supernaturalizing Social Life: Religion and the Evolution of Human Cooperation" (PDF). Retrieved 25 June 2009. Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, was the first to come up with the word agnostic in 1869 Dixon, Thomas (2008). Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7. However, earlier authors and published works have promoted an agnostic points of view. They include Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher. "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Protagoras (c. 490 – c. 420 BCE)". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008. "While the pious might wish to look to the gods to provide absolute moral guidance in the relativistic universe of the Sophistic Enlightenment, that certainty also was cast into doubt by philosophic and sophistic thinkers, who pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods. Protagoras' prose treatise about the gods began 'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.'" Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter (ed.). Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. p. 63. Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter (ed.). Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. pp. 65–69. Curley, Edwin M. (1985). The Collected Works of Spinoza. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-07222-7. Nadler, Steven (29 June 2001). "Baruch Spinoza". Snobelen, Stephen D. (1999). "Isaac Newton, heretic : the strategies of a Nicodemite" (PDF). British Journal for the History of Science. 32 (4): 381–419. doi:10.1017/S0007087499003751. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014. Webb, R.K. ed. Knud Haakonssen. "The emergence of Rational Dissent." Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in eighteenth-century Britain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1996. p19. Newton, 1706 Opticks (2nd Edition), quoted in H.G. Alexander 1956 (ed): The Leibniz-Clarke correspondence, University of Manchester Press. "SUMMA THEOLOGIAE: The existence of God (Prima Pars, Q. 2)". Retrieved 30 December 2016. Summa of Theology I, q. 2, The Five Ways Philosophers Have Proven God's Existence Alister E. McGrath (2005). Dawkins' God: genes, memes, and the meaning of life. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-2539-0. Floyd H. Barackman (2001). Practical Christian Theology: Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith. Kregel Academic. ISBN 978-0-8254-2380-2. Gould, Stephen J. (1998). Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms. Jonathan Cape. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-224-05043-2. Krauss L. A Universe from Nothing. Free Press, New York. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4516-2445-8 Harris, S. The end of faith. W.W. Norton and Company, New York. 2005. ISBN 0-393-03515-8 Culotta, E (2009). "The origins of religion". Science. 326 (5954): 784–87. Bibcode:2009Sci...326..784C. doi:10.1126/science.326784. PMID 19892955. "Audio Visual Resources". Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007., includes sound recording of the Dawkins-McGrath debate Francis Schüssler Fiorenza and Gordon D. Kaufman, "God", Ch 6, in Mark C. Taylor, ed, Critical Terms for Religious Studies (University of Chicago, 1998/2008), 136–40. Ramsay, Tamasin (September 2010). "Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris". Monash University: 107–08. Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:31; Ps. 91:1, 2 Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25 Bentley, David (1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 978-0-87808-299-5. Aquinas, Thomas (1274). Summa Theologica. Part 1, Question 3, Article 1. Augustine of Hippo (397). Confessions. Book 7. Lang, David; Kreeft, Peter (2002). Why Matter Matters: Philosophical and Scriptural Reflections on the Sacraments. Chapter Five: Why Male Priests?: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 978-1-931709-34-7. Elaine H. Pagels "What Became of God the Mother? Conflicting Images of God in Early Christianity" Signs, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Winter, 1976), pp. 293–303 Coogan, Michael (2010). "6. Fire in Divine Loins: God's Wives in Myth and Metaphor". God and Sex. What the Bible Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. Retrieved 5 May 2011. "humans are modeled on elohim, specifically in their sexual differences." "Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence". Patheos.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011. Quran 51:56 "Allah would replace you with a people who sin". islamtoday.net. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013. McGrath, Alister (2006). Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-4051-5360-7. "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sons of God (New Testament)". BibleStudyTools.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014. Boyce 1983, p. 686. "Moses – Hebrew prophet". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 March 2016. A matter disputed by some scholars Exodus 3:1–4:5 James Cornwell, 2009 Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian Art ISBN 0-8192-2345-X p. 2 Edward Gibbon, 1995 The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ISBN 0-679-60148-1 p. 1693 Adolphe Napoléon Didron, 2003 Christian iconography: or The history of Christian art in the middle ages ISBN 0-7661-4075-X p. 169 Arena Chapel, at the top of the triumphal arch, God sending out the angel of the Annunciation. See Schiller, I, fig 15 Bigham Chapter 7 Arthur de Bles, 2004 How to Distinguish the Saints in Art by Their Costumes, Symbols and Attributes ISBN 1-4179-0870-X p. 32 Irene Earls, 1987 Renaissance art: a topical dictionary ISBN 0-313-24658-0 pp. 8, 283 "CT25". Retrieved 30 December 2016. Bigham, 73–76 Louis Lohr Martz, 1991 From Renaissance to baroque: essays on literature and art ISBN 0-8262-0796-0 p. 222 Gauvin Alexander Bailey, 2003 Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit art in Rome ISBN 0-8020-3721-6 p. 233 Charles Winston, 1847 An Inquiry Into the Difference of Style Observable in Ancient Glass Paintings, Especially in England ISBN 1-103-66622-3, (2009) p. 229 Sir Thomas Browne's Works, 1852, ISBN 0-559-37687-1, 2006 p. 156 Charles Winston, 1847 An Inquiry Into the Difference of Style Observable in Ancient Glass Paintings, Especially in England ISBN 1-103-66622-3, (2009) p. 230 Oleg Tarasov, 2004 Icon and devotion: sacred spaces in Imperial Russia ISBN 1-86189-118-0 p. 185 "Council of Moscow – 1666–1667". Retrieved 30 December 2016. 1998, God, concepts of, Edward Craig, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor & Francis, [1] www.ditext.com Jung, Carl (1976) [1971]. "Answer to Job". In Joseph Campbell (ed.). The Portable Jung. Penguin Books. pp. 522–23. ISBN 978-0-14-015070-4. Plantinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000. Wierenga, Edward R. "Divine foreknowledge" in Audi, Robert. The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001. Beaty, Michael (1991). "God Among the Philosophers". The Christian Century. Archived from the original on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007. Pascal, Blaise. Pensées, 1669. "More Americans Believe in Angels than Global Warming". Outsidethebeltway.com. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2012. Van, David (18 September 2008). "Guardian Angels Are Here, Say Most Americans". Time. Retrieved 4 December 2012. "Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels". CBS News. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2012. Salmon, Jacqueline L. "Most Americans Believe in Higher Power, Poll Finds". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 4 December 2012. Qur'an 15:27 Further reading Pickover, Cliff, The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience, Palgrave/St Martin's Press, 2001. ISBN 1-4039-6457-2 Collins, Francis, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, 2006. ISBN 0-7432-8639-1 Miles, Jack, God: A Biography, Vintage, 1996. ISBN 0-679-74368-5 Armstrong, Karen, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ballantine Books, 1994. ISBN 0-434-02456-2 Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951). ISBN 0-226-80337-6 Hastings, James Rodney (1925–2003) [1908–26]. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. John A Selbie (Volume 4 of 24 (Behistun (continued) to Bunyan.) ed.). Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 476. ISBN 978-0-7661-3673-1. "The encyclopedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, and on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice." External links God at Wikipedia's sister projects Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Quotations from Wikiquote Resources from Wikiversity Listen to this article (info/dl) Menu 0:00 This audio file was created from a revision of the article "God" dated 2008-01-06, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. 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Matthew 5:17-18 reads, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth Pass, one jot or one tittle shall in No Wise Pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.” See verses from the NIRV Bible and the CEV Bible and Luke's account. Those unfortunate Christians that have been led astray by the ruler of this world have only one response to attempt to nullify this verse, which is that Jesus fulfilling the law brings an end to the law. The NIRV explains the meaning of fulfil in these words, “I have come to give full meaning to what is written” and the CEV reads, “I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning.” There are several scriptures that use the same Greek word as what is translated “fulfil” in verse 17, and Matthew 3:15 is one example, “…it becometh us to Fulfil all righteousness.” If the fulfilling of the law brings an end to the law, then Righteousness, God's Word, Obedience, Joy and other things eternal in nature are also gone. This of course is obviously not so, and so neither are the Ten Commandments abolished. Not only that but who could ever think that Jesus was abolishing the law after instructing us that we should not only obey the law but teach it as well. Put simply, unless Jesus is contradicting His Word, and Heaven and Earth are still here, then All Ten Commandments have to remain including the fourth Commandment. It is that simple! Isaiah 42:21 says “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” In the remainder of Matthew chapter five we see how Jesus has indeed magnified the law. We note the following; Matthew 5:19 from not only obeying the law but teaching it also, 5:21-22 from do not kill to not being angry with your brother without cause, 5:27-28 from do not commit adultery to being guilty if you look at a woman lustfully, 5:31 from divorcing by a letter to any man who divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, causes her or anyone who marries a divorced woman to commit adultery, 5:33-37 from not breaking oaths made to the Lord to do not swear at all, either by heaven or earth or by Jerusalem. And do not swear by your head, let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No, 5:38-42 from an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth to turning the other cheek and if someone sues you for your coat, give them your cloak also, 5:43-45 from love your neighbour and hate your enemy to love your enemies and bless them that curse you and pray for those that are spiteful and use you. Does it sound like Jesus is destroying the law? Certainly not! The purpose of the Ten Commandments is to point out sin as Paul informs us in Romans 7:7 and note Paul is expressing this long after the cross. Below you will find more on the meaning of each commandment in brief with the option of reading much more detail if required. The Ten Commandments - I am the Lord1. The First Commandment is about Loyalty. Read more detail. The Creator of the universe declares He is our God and our deliverer and asks us to demonstrate our love for Him by having no other God's. The First Commandment is the first of a series of four that define our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Establishing, developing and maintaining that personal relationship with the true and living God is the most important commitment we can ever make. That is the primary focus of the first of the Ten Commandments, You shall have no other gods before Me. We should love, honour and respect Him so much that He alone is the supreme authority and model in our lives. He alone is God. We should allow nothing to prevent us from serving and obeying Him. 2. The Second Commandments is about Worship. Read more detail. The one and only true God loves us so much that He is jealous of our love and does not want to share our love by us bowing down to meaningless idols. The Second Commandment goes to the heart of our relationship with our Creator. It deals with several crucial questions. How do we perceive God? How do we explain Him to ourselves and to others? Above all, what is the proper way to worship the only true God? The Second Commandment is a constant reminder that only we, of all created things, are made in the image of God. Only we can be transformed into the spiritual image of Christ, who of course came in the flesh as the perfect spiritual image of our heavenly Father. This Commandment protects our special relationship with our Creator, who made us in His likeness and is still moulding us into His spiritual image. 3. The Third Commandment is about Reverence. Read more detail. God asks us to respect His Holy name and not to use it in vain. The Third Commandment focuses on showing respect. It addresses the way we communicate our feelings about God to others and to Him. It encompasses our attitudes, speech and behaviour. Respect is the cornerstone of good relationships. The quality of our relationship with God depends on the love and regard we have for Him. It also depends on the way we express respect for Him in the presence of others. We are expected always to honour who and what He is. Conversely, the use of God's name in a flippant, degrading or in any way disrespectful manner, dishonours the relationship we are supposed to have with Him. This can vary from careless disregard to hostility and antagonism. It covers misusing God's name in any way. The Hebrew name for “vain” is “shaw” and means vanity, falsehood, iniquity and emptiness. Simply summed up, “shaw” means showing disrespect and this is what we do when we take God's name in vain. 4. The Fourth Commandment is about Sanctification and Relationship. Read more detail. God starts off the fourth Commandment with the word “Remember”. This is because He knew we would forget it. God asks that we keep it set apart for Holy purposes so we can draw nearer to Him. The Fourth Commandment to remember the Sabbath concludes the section of the Ten Commandments that specifically helps define a proper relationship with God, how we are to love, worship and relate to Him. It explains why and when we need to take special time to draw closer to our Creator. It is also a special sign between us and God forever, that it is Him that sanctifies us Him alone we belong to and worship. The Sabbath, the seventh day of the week was set apart by God as a time of rest and spiritual rejuvenation. So why is this Commandment so frequently ignored, attacked and explained away by so many? Could it be because the challenges to the Sabbath Commandment are views generated by the ruler of this present evil world? After all, this being wants us to accept these views because he hates God's law. He does all he can to influence us to ignore, avoid and reason our way around it. On our calendar the Sabbath day begins at sunset Friday evening and ends at sunset Saturday evening. 5. The Fifth Commandment is about Respect for Parental authority. Read more detail. God instructs us to show love for our parents by honouring them. The Fifth Commandment introduces us to a series of Commandments that define proper relationships with other people. The fifth through to the 10th serve as the standards of conduct in areas of human behaviour that generate the most far reaching consequences on individuals, families, groups and society. Families are the building blocks of societies that build strong nations. When families are fractured and flawed, the sad results are tragic and reflected in newspaper headlines every day. Any individual or group, including whole nations that understand the importance of strong families reap the rewards of an improved relationship and blessings from God. The Fifth Commandment shows us from whom and how the fundamentals of respect and honour are most effectively learned. It guides us to know how to yield to others, how to properly submit to authority and how to accept the influence of mentors. That is why the apostle Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first Commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” Ephesians 6:2-3. 6. The Sixth Commandment is about Respect for Human life. Read more detail. God asks us to demonstrate love and not hate towards others by not murdering. We must learn to control our tempers. Taking another person's life is not our right to decide. That judgment is reserved for God alone. That is the thrust of this Commandment. God does not allow us to choose to wilfully or deliberately take another person's life. The Sixth Commandment reminds us that God is the giver of life and He alone has the authority to take it or to grant permission to take it. God wants us to go far beyond avoiding murder. He requires that we not maliciously harm another human being in word or deed. This is why John wrote, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” 1 John 3:15. God desires that we treat even those who choose to hate us respectfully and do all within our power to live in peace and harmony with them. He wants us to be builders, not destroyers of good relationships. To accomplish this we must respect this wonderful gift of this precious possession, human life. 7. The Seventh Commandment is about Purity in Relationships. Read more detail. God asks us to express and demonstrate our love for our partner by not committing adultery. Adultery is the violation of the marriage covenant by wilful participation in sexual activity with someone other than one's spouse. Since God's law sanctions sexual relationships only within a legitimate marriage, the command not to commit adultery covers in principle, all varieties of sexual immorality. No sexual relationship of any sort should occur outside of marriage. That is the crux of this Commandment. Most of us need the support and companionship of a loving spouse. We need someone special who can share our ups and downs, triumphs and failures. No one can fill this role like a mate who shares with us a deep love and commitment. Society suffers because we have lost the vision that God had for marriage from the beginning. Marriage is not a requirement for success in pleasing God. But it is a tremendous blessing to couples who treat each other as God intended. Most people desire and need the benefits that come from a stable marriage. To return to what God intended, we must give marriage the respect it deserves. 8. The Eighth Commandment is about Honesty. Read more detail. God instructs us to show our love and respect for others by not stealing what belongs to them. The Eighth Commandment safeguards everyone's right to legitimately acquire and own property. God wants that right honoured and protected. His approach to material wealth is balanced. He wants us to prosper and enjoy physical blessings. He also expects us to show wisdom in how we use what He provides us and He does not want possessions to be our primary pursuit in life. When we see material blessings as a means to achieve more-important objectives, God enjoys seeing us prosper. To Him it is important that generosity rather than greed motivate the choices we make. Because they are qualities of His own character, He asks that we, from the heart, put giving and serving ahead of lavishing possessions on ourselves. 9. The Ninth Commandment is about Truthfulness. Read more detail. God says if we love others we should not deceive or lie to them. How important is truth? The Bible says that Jesus is “the way and the Truth” John 14:6. To fully appreciate the Ninth Commandment with its prohibition of lying, we must realize how important truth is to God. Jesus Christ said of God the Father, “Your word is truth” John 17:17. The Bible throughout teaches that “God is not a man, that He should lie” Numbers 23:19. As the source of truth, God requires that His servants always speak truthfully. Under God's inspiration, King David wrote, “…LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow-man, who despises a vile man but honours those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts” Psalms 15:1-3, NIV. God expects truth to permeate every facet of our lives. Everything in the life of a Christian is anchored to truth. God wants us as His children, to commit ourselves to truth and reflect it in everything we do. 10. The Tenth Commandment is about Contentment. Read more detail. God instructs us not to covet because He knows it can entrap us into even greater sin. To covet means to crave or desire, especially in excessive or improper ways. The Tenth Commandment does not tell us that all of our desires are immoral. It tells us that some desires are wrong. Coveting is an immoral longing for something that is not rightfully ours. That is usually because the object of our desire already belongs to someone else. But coveting can also include our wanting far more than we would legitimately deserve or that would be our rightful share. The focus of the Tenth Commandment is that we are not to illicitly desire anything that already belongs to others. The opposite of coveting is a positive desire to help others preserve and protect their blessings from God. We should rejoice when other people are blessed. Our desire should be to contribute to the well being of others, to make our presence in their lives a blessing to them. The last of the Ten Commandments is aimed directly at the heart and mind of every human being. In prohibiting coveting, it defines not so much what we must do but how we should think. It asks us to look deep within ourselves to see what we are on the inside. As with each of the previous nine Commandments, it is directed toward our relationships. It specifically deals with the thoughts that threaten those relationships and can potentially hurt ourselves and our neighbours. Therefore, it is fitting that the formal listing of these Ten foundational commands, which define the love of God, should end by focusing on our hearts as the wellspring of our relationship problems. From within come the desires that tempt us and lead us astray. Condition: New, Modified Item: No, Country/Region of Manufacture: Unknown, Item: Gold Bar, Religion/ Spirituality: Christianity, Type: Crucifixion Bar

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