Christianity

Christianity centers on the person of Jesus of Nazareth (ca. 4 BCE–30 CE). The New Testament recounts his life and teachings, along with those of his early followers. Christianity began as a Jewish sect and is indebted to Judaism’s ethical monotheism. For Christians, Jesus is the awaited Jewish messiah (the Christ) and the savior of all humanity. Salvation cannot be achieved by an individual's actions alone; it depends on God’s revelation and initiative. Jesus’ preaching and practice of peace and service to the disadvantaged have served as a model that has influenced subsequent Christian approaches to culture, society, and politics. According to the Gospels and the letters of the Apostle Paul, that model can be summed up in two commands: to love God with one's whole heart and soul, and to love one's neighbor as one's self. The main branches of Christianity—Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—share this overall ethical orientation, while differing in their views of Jesus and his mission and of the church and its role.
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