In this opening section, the essence of Christianity will be presented in a form that was originally designed to teach children about Christianity and consists of a series or questions with the answers conforming to Christian doctrine. The reason for this approach will become apparent, but is linked to the debate about the dividing line between education and indoctrination, which can clearly be subjective in the area of religious belief. In subsequent sections, i.e. Part-1: Overview and Part-2: Ethics, a more sceptical view of Christianity will be presented:
Question: What is Christianity?
Answer: Christianity is the world's biggest religion, with about 2.2 billion followers worldwide. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago.
Question: Who is the founder of Christianity?
Answer: Jesus Christ, who was crucified around A.D. 30 in Jerusalem, is the founder of Christianity.
Question: Who is Jesus Christ?
Answer: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to Earth to teach about love and fellowship. He represents the person that all Christians must strive to be. Jesus was a Jew who was born about 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Jesus lived for 33 years before being crucified by the Romans.
Question: What other names is Jesus known by?
Answer: Jesus is also referred to as the Son of God, the Light of the World, the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd.
Question: Who are Christians?
Answer: Christians are people who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and who follow his teachings and those of the Christian churches that grew up after his death. Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples to show everyone that there is another life with one, eternal, loving God.
Question: What do Christians believe?
Answer: Christians believe that God made the world and that Jesus Christ was the Son of God sent to Earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins. As such, Jesus was human and experienced this world in the same way as other human beings of his time. Jesus was crucified, but was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his Crucifixion. Based on this account, Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. However, Christians believe that there is only one God, but that this one God consists of 3 `persons`, i.e. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Question: What is the Christian holy book called?
Answer: The Christian holy book is called the Bible. It is divided into the Old and New Testaments. Parts of the writing contained in the Old Testament are also sacred to Jewish and Muslim people.
Question: What are the 10 Commandments?
o Thou shall have no other gods before me
o Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image
o Thou shall not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
o Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
o Honour thy father and thy mother
o Thou shall not kill
o Thou shall not commit adultery
o Thou shall not steal
o Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour
o Thou shall not covet any thing that is thy neighbour's
Question: How is Christianity similar to other religions?
Answer: Christianity shares a number of beliefs and practices with other religions, particularly Judaism and Islam. Like Judaism and Islam, Christians believe in one God, who created the universe and all that is in it. All believe that this God is active in history, guiding and teaching his people. Christianity and Judaism share the same roots. The Old Testament and the Torah of Judaism have the same content. The Jews are awaiting the coming of a Saviour, while Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the Saviour and are now waiting for his second coming.
Question: Which religion did Christianity develop from?
Answer: Christianity originally developed as a part of Judaism. Jesus was a Jew.
Question: How is Christianity different from Judaism?
Answer: Christianity came to regard Jesus as in some sense God's presence in human form. This was unacceptable to most Jews. Judaism is defined by a covenant made between God and the Jewish people. Part of this covenant is the Law, a set of religious and ethical rules and principles. Most Christians came to regard both this covenant and Law as in some sense superseded by Jesus' teaching and the community that he established. On the night he died, Jesus talked about establishing a `new covenant` based on his death and resurrection. Jews believe that there is one God like Christians do, but they do not believe that this one God consists of 3 `persons`.
Note: As indicated at the beginning of this page, the answers to these questions were really designed for children, even so, they are still generally reflective of the basic tenets of Christian belief. However, the key issues to now be taken up is whether the historical evidence supports this version of the life of Jesus and why accepting Jesus as the Son of God would eventually lead the Christian church to the concept of the Trinity.