Christianity is a religion based on the life, teachings, and beliefs centered around Jesus Christ. It began over 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. Today, it has grown to be the world’s largest religion, with billions of followers globally.

Who is Jesus Christ?

At the heart of Christianity is Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God, born in Bethlehem. His life and teachings are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, which is a sacred text in Christianity. Jesus is known for his messages of love, compassion, and forgiveness. He performed miracles and taught people about God and how to live righteously.

The Holy Bible

The Bible is the holy book of Christians. It’s divided into two main parts: the Old Testament, which is shared with Judaism, and the New Testament, which focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. The Bible is a collection of various books, including history, poetry, letters, and prophecies.

Beliefs and Teachings

  1. One God: Christianity is a monotheistic religion, which means Christians believe in one God. They also believe in the Holy Trinity – that God exists as three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.
  2. Jesus’ Sacrifice and Resurrection: Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save humanity from sin (wrongdoings). Three days after his death, they believe he rose from the dead, which is celebrated as Easter.
  3. Love and Forgiveness: Jesus taught the importance of loving God and loving others, including enemies. Forgiveness is also a central theme in Christianity.
  4. The Ten Commandments: These are rules that were given by God to Moses in the Old Testament, and they form a basis for Christian ethics and morals.

The Ten Commandments are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Christianity and Judaism. These commandments are found in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Here’s a simplified explanation of each commandment suitable for a 12-year-old:

  1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
    • This commandment emphasizes the belief in monotheism, the worship of one God. It teaches that you should not put anything else in your life above God.
  2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.”
    • This is about not creating idols or images for worship. The idea is that God should be worshipped in faith and spirit, not through physical objects.
  3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
    • This commandment advises against using God’s name disrespectfully or carelessly. It’s about showing respect to God in how you speak and think.
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
    • This commandment is about setting aside a specific day of the week, traditionally Sunday for Christians, for rest and religious activities. It’s a day to focus on spiritual matters and family.
  5. “Honor your father and your mother.”
    • This encourages respect and obedience to parents. It’s about valuing family relationships and acknowledging the role of parents in providing guidance and care.
  6. “You shall not murder.”
    • This is a clear commandment against taking someone else’s life. It underlines the value of human life.
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
    • Adultery means being unfaithful in marriage. This commandment teaches the importance of faithfulness and trust in marriage.
  8. “You shall not steal.”
    • This commandment is about respecting others’ property and rights. It teaches honesty and the importance of not taking what isn’t yours.
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
    • This is essentially a commandment against lying, especially in a way that harms others. It promotes truthfulness and integrity.
  10. “You shall not covet.”
  • To covet means to strongly desire someone else’s belongings, spouse, or life. This commandment teaches contentment and warns against letting desire lead to actions like stealing or cheating.

Practices and Celebrations

  1. Church Services: Christians often gather in churches for worship, prayer, and reading the Bible. Services typically include singing, a sermon (talk by a religious leader), and communion (remembering Jesus’ sacrifice).
  2. Prayer: Christians pray to communicate with God, thank for blessings, seek guidance, and ask for help.
  3. Baptism: This is a ceremony that symbolizes the washing away of sin and the start of a new life in Christianity.
  4. Major Holidays:
    • Christmas: Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
    • Easter: Marks the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Different Branches

Christianity has several branches or denominations. The largest ones are:

  • Catholicism: Led by the Pope and has a rich tradition of rituals and ceremonies.
  • Protestantism: Includes various denominations like Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Anglicans. They emphasize reading the Bible and faith in Jesus for salvation.
  • Orthodox Christianity: Especially found in Eastern Europe and Russia, known for its traditional liturgy and practices.

Christianity is a faith that has shaped cultures, influenced history, and guided the lives of billions. It teaches love, kindness, and forgiveness and has various traditions and celebrations. Remember, exploring a religion is like going on an adventure; there’s always something new to learn and understand!

Māori Mythology (New Zealand)