Paragraphs on Christianity!
Jesus Christ founded Christianity which spread throughout the Roman Empire where it was made the state religion in the 4th century AD.
Later, the Church split into two broad groups—the Western under the People in Rome and the Eastern under the Patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople.
Still later, the Roman Church was broken up by Protestantism, and in the Eastern Churches many communities set up their own Patriarchates.
Christians believe, like the Jews, that there is one God who created the universe and cares for it. Jesus, son of God, was sent into the world as his chosen servant, the Messiah, to help people fulfill their religious duties. Most Christians view Jesus as God incarnate, the Saviour who died to save humanity from sin.
Christianity teaches that after Jesus’ earthly life, God’s presence remained on earth in the form of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. The doctrine of the Trinity is the belief that there are three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Christians see Jesus as continuous with the God of Judaism.
A collection of Christian writings called the New Testament was added to the Jewish scriptures called the Old Testament and they together form the Christian Bible. Two practices important to Christian worship are baptism which celebrates an individual’s entrance into Christianity and Eucharist (or Holy Communion) in which worshippers share bread and wine as a sign of unity with one another and with Jesus.
Christians are said to have arrived in India during the first century after the birth of Christ. Evidence suggests that one of Christ’s apostles, Thomas, reached India in AD 52 and settled in Malabar (Kerala). It is widely believed that he was martyred in Tamil Nadu in AD 72 and he is buried in Mylapore, a suburb of Chennai, where the cathedral of St. Thome (built in the 16th century) now stands.
A rocky hill near Meenambakkam (Chennai) Airport is known as St Thomas’ Mount. Syrian Christians arrived in Kerala in the 6th century AD in a major missionary movement. The Portuguese later brought a fresh development, introducing Roman Catholicism.
The Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier, came to Goa in 1542 and, in 1557, Goa was made an Archbishopric. In the early stages, the churches were quite influenced by the caste system and the Kerala Christians adopted social rules very similar to those of high caste Hindus. It was only in the late 18th century that attempts were made to abolish discrimination on the basis of caste.
Christian missionary activity was more limited in north India, though Jesuit missions came to Akbar’s court in the late 16th century. But Protestant missions in Bengal from the end of the 18th century had a deep influence on cultural and religious development. In 1793 the Baptist missionary William Carey came to Bengal.
It was under his influence that the work of 19th century missions rapidly widened to cover educational and medical work as well. Converts were readily made in the tribal hill areas. Significantly, the Christian populations of the tribal hill areas of Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam stem from such late 19th century missionary movements.
The influence of Christian missions in education and medical work was, however, greater than their influence as a proselytising force. Indeed, education in Christian schools stimulated reformist movements in Hinduism itself. Organisations like the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and the Salvation Army still do valuable social work.
Most main Protestant denominations in India are now part either of the Church of South India or the Church of North India. The Syrian Christian Church of Kerala has reunited with the Roman Catholic See of Rome.