Christianity is a religion practised by nearly 2,000 million people worldwide.
It originated in Palestine in the 1st century AD and is founded on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ [4BC-29AD], a Palestinian Jew.
There are 6 million active Christians in the UK, but over 35 million in Britain would regard themselves as nominally Christian.
There are many different variations or "denominations". The major division is between Orthodox and Western Christianity (which itself is divided into Roman Catholicism and Protestantism).
From the beginning, Christianity has sought to convert people, however, many Christians today feel there should still be respect for what is good and true in other cultures and religions.
Christianity is the world’s most popular religion with over a billion followers scattered throughout each continent.
Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ who is believed to have been born to a virgin over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Christians believe that Jesus was in fact the Son of God sent to earth to save mankind from sin.
Jesus is said to have taught Christians to live life loving God and their neighbors.
Jesus is believed to have begun preaching the word of God around age 30 but as he did this he aggravated religious leaders in Palestine. Eventually Roman authorities arrested him and he was tried and convicted of heresy. For this Jesus was sentenced to be put to death by crucifixion.
It is believed that after Jesus died he was resurrected on the Sunday following his death. Christian worship is said to have grown originally out of Jewish worship, but instead of worshipping on Saturday, Christians worship on Sunday instead. Christians worship on Sunday because this is the day on which Jesus was resurrected.
Christians pray in order to communicate with God and some refer to this almighty God as Father when praying. God in Christianity is thought to embody what is called the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
The Christian scripture, The Bible, is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians believe that the Old Testament forecast Jesus’ arrival on earth.There are two major milestones in becoming a devout Christian: baptism and confirmation.
Baptism can be performed at any point in a person’s life, but it is most commonly done when a person is still a baby. During baptism a minister sprinkles holy water on the babies head (in adult baptism sometimes the entire body is immersed in a pool to symbolize rebirth as a Christian).
Confirmation is the stage when a person is fully recognized as an adult member of the Christian church. It involves studying the bible and attending a confirmation ceremony presided over by a bishop.
There are many sects of Christianity including the Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans.