Christianity: Religion Profile
Christianity is a monotheistic faith based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ that has inspired millions and millions of people for over two thousand years. Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, was born to a virgin mother through an act of divine parthenogenesis, or conception, in the year zero, and his birth is the point from which the Western calendar proceeds. Living his life in the Middle East, in present-day Judea, Jesus labored as a simple carpenter, and attracted followers with his speeches, miracles and teachings. The inspirational sacrifice of Jesus represents, to Christians, God sacrificing his only son to atone for the sins of all human beings.
While its monotheism can be doubtful to outsiders due to the persistent notion of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost all form equal yet distinct parts of the single, universal deity. God-as-Father is the creator of Heaven and Earth; God-as-Son is Jesus, who lived and died to atone for the sins of human beings, and taught God's word to his followers; and God-as-Holy Spirit is the divine soul, infinite, pervasive, and the manifestation of God's will in all things. In this light, Christianity's claims to monotheism are more readily understood, as opposed to systems of belief such as animism, in which deities are distinct and bear no relationship to one another.
The life of Jesus was largely that of a simple laborer. He worked as a carpenter, traveled extensively, and as a young Jewish man became highly educated in matters of Jewish scripture, theology and law. Jesus' impassioned teachings on the nature of God and God's Will attracted adherents; in particular, his suspension of the voluminous moral code under Judaism in exchange for the Golden Rule simplified the day to day religious practices of many Jews at the time. Whereas under Judaism, many, many rules were expected to be followed regarding day to day life, the Golden Rule supplanted them with "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." It is in this simple yet lofty notion that the kernel of Christianity is to be found: as a faith, it deals with how individuals treat one another, and promotes equality and kindness.
Jesus' death came at the hands of the local Jewish population, with some assistance from the local Roman governor. Though he could have readily spared himself the sufferings of crucifixion, Jesus gave of his life to atone for the sins of all people, and paved the path to everlasting life by demanding simple acceptance of him as their savior.