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Christianity<ref group="note">From the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning "the anointed one", together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas.</ref> is an Abrahamic monotheistic<ref name="Monotheism" /> religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world's largest religion,<ref>Hinnells, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, p. 441.</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref name="PewDec2012">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> with over 2.4 billion adherents,<ref name="World">33.39% of ~7.2 billion world population (under the section 'People') {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="gordonconwell.edu">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="Major Religions Ranked by Size">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="Global Christianity">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref group="note">Current sources are in general agreement that Christians make up about 33% of the world's population—slightly over 2.4 billion adherents in mid-2015.</ref> known as Christians.<ref group="note" name="name" /> Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the savior of humanity whose coming as Christ or the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Christian theology is expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father, and that he will return to judge the living and dead and grant eternal life to his followers. His ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as "the gospel", meaning "good news".<ref group="note">"Good news" is a translation of the Ancient Greek term εὐαγγέλιον{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} euangélion, from which the terms evangelical and evangelism derive.</ref> The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus's life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are considered canonical and included in Christian Bibles.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century.<ref name="Robinson">Robinson, Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals, p. 229.</ref><ref name="Esler">Esler. The Early Christian World. p. 157f.</ref> Originating in Judea, it quickly spread to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Ethiopia, and India and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state church of the Roman Empire.<ref>Religion in the Roman Empire, Wiley-Blackwell, by James B. Rives, page 196</ref><ref>Catholic encyclopedia New Advent</ref><ref>McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 301–03.</ref> Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, Australasia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.<ref name="Spread">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="Charity">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="Service">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.<ref>Religions in Global Society – Page 146, Peter Beyer – 2006</ref><ref name="Cambridge University Historical Series">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.</ref><ref name="Caltron J.H Hayas">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."</ref><ref name="Horst Hutter">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.</ref><ref name="Fred Reinhard Dallmayr">Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p.22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization.</ref>

Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox patriarchates split from one another in the schism of the 11th century; Protestantism came into existence in the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>


Christianity sections
Intro  Beliefs  Worship  History  Demographics  Major denominations  Christian culture  Ecumenism  Criticism and apologetics  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

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