• The founder of Christianity is either Jesus Christ or the apostle Paul, depending on which side of the debate one takes. Jesus Christ had created the teachings of the Gospel, but Paul implemented them throughout the ancient world.
• Jesus was in his early thirties when he started going to villages and ministering unto the people there. Soon, a group of men began to follow Jesus and call him a teacher.
• It is believed that Christianity emerged in the Levant in the mid- 1st century AD.
• Throughout the New Testament, there are trace references of Jesus working as a carpenter while he was a young adult. It is believed that he began his ministry at age 30.
• The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in the 1st century Judea, most likely between the years 30 and 33 AD.
• In the year 46 AD it is believed that Paul continued Jesus’ missionary trips after his death.
Division of Christianity between the Catholic and Protestant Church—Reformation
• The “rottenness” of the Roman Catholic Church was at the heart of Martin Luther’s attack on it in 1517, when he wrote the “95 Theses” thus sparking off the German Reformation.
• IN the 1500’s the Roman Catholic Church was all powerful in western Europe. There was no legal alternative. The Catholic Church jealously guarded its position and anybody who was deemed to have gone against the church was labelled a heretic—a person believing in or practicing religious heresy.
• People were mad that the offices of bishop and pope were traded and purchased for favors or gold. Many of the popes, bishops, and priests of the time lived immorally and much of the activity of the Church ran counter to the scriptures. (They lived corrupted lives)
• People had begun to think that the priests and bishops weren’t religious anymore. They claimed that many priests did not know the basic church teachings. They thought that the pope was more involved in politics than in his religious duties.
• People believed that only Jesus could forgive sins and yet the pope was out forgiving people. They also thought it was very secretive and invalid in his duties.
• Martin Luther was born in Germany in the year 1484.
• In 1501, Luther entered the University of Erfurt, where he received a Master of Arts degree. He was then on his way to becoming a lawyer.
• In July of 1505, Luther was caught in a thunderstorm and feared for his life. He cried out to St. Anne and said “Save me, St. Anne, and I’ll become a monk!” When the storm calmed down, Luther kept his promise and became a monk.
• His first few years in the monastery life were difficult for Martin Luther, as he did not find the religious enlightenment he was seeking.
• He was one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century.
• In 1517, the Pope announced a new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica. Martin Luther was angry and nailed a paper with 95 theses on the chapel door.
• These theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences as corrupting people’s faith.
• He called into question some of the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism and his followers split from the Roman Catholic Church to being the Protestant Church.
• In 1521, Martin Luther was officially excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church because he refused to recant his statements (95 Theses). The church council then banned his writings and condemned him as a wanted man.
• While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, so that ordinary people would be able to read God’s word.
• The 95 Theses propounded two central beliefs—that the Bible is the central religious authority and that humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds—which sparked the Protestant Reformation.
• The Catholic Church was mad at Luther for nailing these theses. They demanded that he take them down. He refused so he was excommunicated from the church.
Catholic Church vs. Protestant Church
• The magisterium: refers to the official teaching body of the Roman Catholic Church.
• Tradition: Protestants did not view tradition as equal in authority with the Scriptures, the Roman Catholic Church has a different perspective. Protestants only view the Scriptures as authoritative, where the Catholic Church clearly states “…does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”
• Salvation and Grace: Protestants often express the idea that salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. In contrast, the Catholic Church views justification as a process, dependent on the grace you receive by participating in the Church.
• The Eucharist: Most Protestants call it “The Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”. The Roman Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation. The Protestants hold to the perspective of consubstantiation.
• Justification: Protestants view justification as the moment God declared that a guilty person is righteous because of what Christ has done. The Roman Catholic Church rejects that there is an imputed righteousness.
• The Counter Reformation was the Roman Catholic efforts directed in the 16th and early 17th centuries both against the Protestant Reformation and toward internal renewal. The Counter Reformation took place during roughly the same period as the Protestant Reformation. It was a movement within the Catholic Church. The main aim was to reform and improve it. They covered doctrine, structural reconfiguration, religious orders, spiritual movements, and political dimensions.
• The Council of Trent was held in three parts from 1545 to 1563. It was important for its sweeping decrees on self-reform and for its dogmatic definitions that clarified every doctrine contested by the Protestants.
• The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of right afforded to the accused.
• The Peace of Augsburg was a temporary settlement within the Holy Roman Empire of the religious conflict arising from the Reformation. Dissenters were allowed to emigrate and the free cities were obligated to allowed both Catholics and Lutherans to practice their religions.
• There is a total of about 2.18 billion of Christians in the world—which is roughly a third of the world’s population.
• A new Pew Research Center survey found the Christian share of the American population declined almost 8 percentage points from 2017.
• People think that the number of Christians is shrinking because the number of Muslims in the world is constantly growing.
• It is believed that the founder of Islam is Muhammad.
• He was born circa 570 CE in Makkah. Muhammad began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader. At the age of 12, he accompanied Abu Talib with a merchant caravan in Syria.
• He was known as ‘al-Ameen’ for his character. Al-Ameen means the Honest, the Reliable, and the Trustworthy and it signified the highest standard of moral and public life.
• Muhammed was forty years old when, during one of many retreats to Mount Hira for meditation during the month of Ramadan, he received the first revelation. Gabriel appeared and said to Muhammad: “Iqraa” which means Read or Recite.
• The mission of the Prophet Muhammad was to restore the worship of the One True God.
• His first followers were his cousin, his servant and his friend and his wife and daughters.
• After Muhammad died, it is believed that Ali, his cousin, and his son-in-law, had been designated successor.
• One of the main reasons that the Sunni and Shi’a sects split was because the Sunnis believed that after the Prophet Muhammed died that his friend and companion Abu Bakr was supposed to be the new leader of the Muslims and the Shi’a believed that Muhammed’s cousin, son-in-law, was supposed to be the next leader.
• Both sects differ in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organization.
• The people who believed that Abu Bakr was supposed to be the next prophet followed him, and the people who believed that Muhammed’s cousin was supposedly the new prophet, followed him.
• The first of the doctrines of Islam is faith in the absolute unity of God.
• Second is doctrine of the faith asserts the belief of Angles as part of God’s creation.
• Third is the belief in the prophets.
• Fourth involves belief in the scriptures.
• Fifth is the beliefs in the final judgement.
• Some texts include a sixth doctrine; a belief in God’s divine decree and predestination.
• The first reason that Islam spread so quickly was trade. They would spread their message by talking to other people about what they had heard.
• The second reason was by community. It meant that if they had a strong community that was safe, more people would join their religion.
• Third reason was protection. The belief in Islam offered protection.
• As of 2010, it is estimated that there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today.
• Many people believe that the number of Muslims today are shrinking and growing at an equal rapid rate.
• Some reports have said that the number of Muslims grew by 40,000 to 60,000 after the attack of the twin towers.
• In the year 2000 there was an estimated amount of 4,132,000 Muslims. The number has since grown from that.
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