When we hear the term ‘Christianity’, the first thing that comes to our mind is Jesus, Christmas and the Bible.
With more than 2.4 billion adherents, it is the largest religion in the world. In fact, one-third of the world’s population is Christian. So it’s safe to say that every single person on this planet is familiar with this religion in some way. But how well do we know Christianity?
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Along with Islam and Judaism, Christianity is a monotheistic religion. This means that its followers believe in one God only – a God that has created the universe, the earth and every single creature who has ever lived on it. But it’s not only the belief in God that shapes the lifestyle of Christians. There is way more behind Christianity – it’s based upon the teachings and life of Jesus from Nazareth, as well as the Bible that was written for mankind. But in order to understand more about Jesus and the Bible, we need to go back in time.
How it all started…
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” (Mark 16:15)
It all began about 2000 years ago in Judea, present-day Israel. Many people are surprised when they find out that Jesus was actually a Jew. Matter of fact, he was very dedicated to the Jewish faith and law and for this reason, the Jewish community was looking up to him. This was especially because he wasn’t only giving his teaching in synagogues a lot of importance, but also traveling to help people and heal them from illnesses. At some point, however, Jewish authorities had started to feel slightly suspicious about his teaching. It was the fact that he was focusing on conveying a message about service and love, while distancing himself from the teachings of other religious authorities. On one side, his influence on other believers was very powerful and revolutionary, but on the other side, Jewish people feared that it would create instability within the community. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop people from following his path and soon enough, the small group of his disciples started to grow bigger and bigger.
Jesus was teaching his disciples about God, mankind and sin – that it was sin carried out by humans that broke their relationship with God. So it was in his hands to fix this broken relationship and pay for the sins of all humanity by being crucified. Just as he predicted, he died and conquered death three days later, becoming the Messiah of his believers. Finally, the Christian Faith began to spread across villages and countries and the Christian Church was established.
What’s the Bible?
The Bible is a book comprising numerous other books that deal with the Christian law, history, biographies and more. It’s been written by about 40 different authors, whereas each one of them has his own literary style. Christians believe that this is how God wanted to present himself – through the words of diverse contributors. The aim of the Bible is to give answers about life and God, to guide the believers and inspire them on their path to heaven. The history of the Bible is divided into two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament tells the story of a nation, while the New Testament tells the story of a Man: Jesus Christ.
The most famous holidays in the Christian calendar are Easter and Christmas. During Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead three days after being crucified. It’s thus the most important festival that is being celebrated by lighting candles in churches all over the world and decorating homes according to the season. On Easter Day, colorful Easter Eggs are given out everywhere. It also marks the end of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and repenting.
On the 25th of December, Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas has become such a joyful holiday that even Non-believers of this faith are taking part in the celebration by decorating their own Christmas tree every year. Lights, candles, glass ornaments are put up everywhere, Christmas markets are filling the centers of towns and cities, and presents are exchanged in happy homes.
‘Love your neighbor as yourself’
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (Corinthians 13:4).
There is no doubt that Christianity preaches about love and commitment to God. But the Bible also teaches the readers about loving and caring for their neighbor, regardless of who they are. It’s a gateway to finding happiness for millions of people. Yet, a lot of people are of the opinion that especially the younger generations seem to forget about their religion.
Is Christianity forgotten? How do young people practice Christianity in Germany?