Christianity

The Nature of God

Omnipotent- all powerful, although he still allows free will 'nothing is impossible with God' 

Omniscient- all knowing, past and present and future 

Omnibenevolent- all loving, 'For God so loved the worlds that he gave his one and only son'

Omnipresent- all present, everywhere at the same time 

Just- judges people fairly 

Eternal- has and will exist forever

Transendent-  God is beyond this universe

Immanent- present in the human world (this means christains feel they have a personal connection with God, and relate more to him). 

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The Trinity

The trinity is the belief that God exists in three persons. This is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All of the parts of the trinity make up god, they are all seperate, but all together.

The three parts of the trinitycan help to understand the nature of God:

- The father; shows Gods omnipotence he was the creator and is transendent. 'be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect'. the image of God as a father helps christians place trust in God as he is there to guide and help them. 

-The son; is immenent and was present on the earth. he is the incarnation of God in human form. He can also understand human suffering, Jesus was seen as a perfect examples for christians to live their life i obedience to God, his life was recorded in the Gospels, and is a good source of guidence to christians on how to live their lives. 

-The holy spirit; is the presence of god in the world today, it is the immenent yet imperson part of god, who guides the church today. the holy spirt guides people in being good christians. 'i will ask the father, and he will give you another advocate to help and be with you forever- the spirit of truth' 

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The Problem of Evil and Suffering

Evil was introduced to the world through free will, when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge in the garden of eden. This is the story of The Fall, where evil was itroduced to the world. After this every human was born with Origional Sin- where its up to christians whether they are good ore evil, however God is good- and so christians try to be. 

Evil can be Human/Moral where suffering is brought on by people (murder, war) or natural which cannot be helped (natural disaters)

Evil can lead to many people questioning their faith in God, as if God is Omnibenevolent and omnipotetent why does he not stop suffering? However christians would argue this is because God gave humans free will and so doesnt interfere, many people see suffering as a test from god, and are brought closer to him during it- god has his reasons even if we do not understand. Christians should help people suffering. 

The story of Jod shows the problem of Evil and Suffering, where the devil says Job will not be righteous if his blessings are removed, to show that Job was not he took everything from him- but Job still loved God and had all of his blessings returned. this shows how christians should place trust in God, and understand that sometimes he ddoes things we will not understand. 

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Why does God allow suffering?

- because he feels it builds character 'we also glory in our suffering, because we know suffering produces perseverance' 

- christians believe they should endure their suffering and forgive as jesus did

- if christians are the cause of suffering they should admit to what they have done and try to find help. 

- christians should embrace suffering as no one can be perfect but should try to help anyone cauing uffering so it does not harm the community. they could do this by giving charity or by praying, 'what ever you did for on of... these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me' 

- earth isn't perfect instead we should focus on reaching heaven. 

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The Creation

God created everything. Day;

1 - light and darkness 

2 - the sky 

3 - ocean, land and plants 

4 - sun, moon and stars 

5 - creatures of water and sky 

6 - land animals and people 

7 - day of rest. 

God the father is seen as the creator but the whole trinity was present at the beginning. 'in the beginning was the word, and the word was god. he was with god at the beginning' 

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The Creation (2)

God made humans on the 6th day. these were adam and eve who lived in the garden of eden. 

'so God made mankind in his own image'- this is important to show christians feel humans as they are loving and fair like God and so are important to him, meaning all humans should be treated with respect. 

'made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man'- shows the patriachle christian society. 

Some people interpret the bible literally, called funamentalists (ie. believe that the world was created in 7 days) others are libralists and see Genesis as a symbolic description of Gods power, but may instead have believed it began with the Big Bang from Gods impulse. 

The story of Genesis shows the nature of God- he is eternal, omnipotent and benevolent as he brought humas to life. 

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The Afterlife

The soul will live on after death and the body will be resurected for Judgement day when God will judge you, to see if you spend eternal life in heaven with God or in Hell. 

'An eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands' 

'i am the ressurection an life. the one who believes in me will live, even though they die' 

'then they will go away to eternal punishment, not the righteous eternal life' 

Some people believe heavn and hell are actually just states of mind, where in heaven you are happy and know of Gods love. In hell you will be unable to know Gods love, Pope john paul 2 said hell was a metaphore for how people who have rejected God will feel. 

Purgatory is a Catholic belief of a state where the soul goes to be purified by people praying o earth until it moves to hell. 

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Resurrection in the Afterlife

- jesus will return to earth in the second coming where everyone who has died will be resurected 'in christ all will be made alive' 

- some people believe the whole of humanity will be judged at the day of judgement, deciding weather people will go to heaven or hell, 

 - other people believe there will be a personal day of judgement when you die taking you to heaven or hell, they thing there could be a final judgement where they reenter the state in their ressurected form, 

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The Incarnation

the incarnation was where god became human flesh through jesus christ. 'he was incarnate from the holy spirit and the virgin mary and was man made'

jesus became human through the power of the holy spirit and was fully man and fully god. 

god revealed himself to mankind through the incarnation

jesus shows gods love as he gave his only son 'god so loved the world that he gave his only son'

Jesus showed his power and gods love through his miracals, such as healing. 

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The Crucifixion and Resurrection

Jesus was crusified on the cross next to two robbers- one mocked him the other asked jesus to remember him, jesus said 'you will be wih me today in heaven'. the people mocked jesus saying if he was so powerful why could not save himself, jesus said 'they not of what they do'. 

the crucifictions shows to christians how suffering is a normal part of life ans jesus had to undergo it and so god understands their pain. it also shows as long as they acept jesus sacrifice sin can no longer destroy their lives as god forgives those whoask for forgiveness. 

the resurection is where jesus's body was put into a tomb, and then found empty the next day. 'he is not here, he is risen' . 

the resurection shows to christians how jesus' teachings were true, strengthening faith. it also shows there is life after death, meaning death becomes less frightening. as well as showing the power of god. 

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The Ascension

after 40 days on earth after being resurected, jesus ascended into heaven to be with god again, as he had done what he needed on earth. 'the right of the mighty god'. he left leaving the dicisples to tell the story of jesus, and to build churches. 

'origional sin' is the sin every human is born with because of the fall, where adam and eve were banished from the garden of eden. this means that jesus' suffering and death won forgiveness from god for everyone and ensured their redemption.

jesus was perfect without sin, but god put all the sins of the world on him at his crucifiction, showing them that his sacrifice paid for their sins as long as they place trust in him. 

other christians dont agree with this and say that the crucifiction was not needed, and that his suffering shows gods love for humans as he is willing to suffer like them. they may say the resurection shows how god could triumph over sin and death so people don't fear evil. 

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Salvation

salvation is where the soul is saved from death and sin so it can reach heaven. 'salvation is found in noone else' but jesus. 

Salvation is only possible through gods grace, and to gain it they must try to live a christian live, following laws such as the ten comandments where guidence is offered to how christians should behave. it is natural to sin but they should 'turn to god for repentance' 

atonement is the forgiveness of sin from god. 

the holy spirit helps christians follow the teachings of god, andkeep their faith- leading to a life with god. 

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Worship

worship is where you love and follow as significant belief/person and do what they say, worship is the way christians show their deep love for god and recognise his importance . Worship can come in many different forms; it can be;

Liturgical- preist leads a set service with set prayers and responses, often hymns are sung. 

non-liturgical - there is no set order or ritual, but a theme may be chosen for the worship session.(many people prefer the freedom of adressing god in a less structared way, other christians may say this is not respectful to God. EG Quakers; sit together in silence but are free to share thoughts outloud.Evangilists; inspired by the spirit and have charasmatic worship, where they can pray, clap, dance ect) 

informal- peoples spontaneous prayers and thoughts, this is a type of non-lituurgical 

personal- where people pray to and honour god on their own (normally at home, it can be anything from saying grace before a meal to reading the bible, many christians worship privately and in a group, worshiping privately can help them keep god in mind in their daily lives and can offer more freedom to feel closer to god. however group worship can be good as they are reminded they are part of a wider christian society and they may feel closer to jesus- as though he is present in the church). 

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Liturgical Worship + Sacraments

Liturgical worship involves many set events which happen at every service, they have the eucarist (holy communion) where jesus' presence is felt, bible readings follow the christian calendar, traditional services passed down and globally known, can recieve forgiveness through a priest. 

Sacrements are ceremonies carried out in the church through which christians recieve gods grace. Catholic and orthadox churches believe in seven sacrements, but protestants only accept two- baptism and the eucharist. Quakers would not accept any sacrements as they see them as unnecary sybols for the inwards acceptance of gods grace. 

Eucarist (to give thanks) is one of the sacrements. this is where christians remember the last supper. it is meant to give thanks for all that jesus' death acheived, and to draw strength from their relationship with him along with other believers. 'when you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the lords death until he comes' - showing the anticipation for jesus' return on judgement day. 

Catholics believe in transubstantiation where once blessed the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of christ. However Protestasnts do not agree with this and believe in consubstantiation where the bread and wine is only a symbol of christ. 

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Baptism

Baptism is also one of the most important sacrements , this is because jesus was baptised and told the disiples to go and baptise people ' go and make diciples of all nations, baptising the in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit' . 'no one can enter the kingdom of god unless they are born of water and the spirit'. 

Baptism makes someone a part of gods family welcoming them to the church, it is also seen to remove origional sin. Many churches baptise babies. this is where a sign of a cross is made over the babies head and water is poured over three times in the name of the trinity. the water is a symbol of clensing origional sin and of a new life, a candle is given to the baby showing jesus as the light of the world. vows are said by the parents and godparents. Most denominations which baptise babies also have a conformation where the child declares their faith when they are old enough to make their own decision. 

believers baptism happens in baptist and free churches, it usually involves total immersion where the whole body is dunked under the water, when the person is in the water it sybolises them dying to their old life of sin and not having the right relationship with god. once they come out of the water they have been clensed and begin a new spiritual life. before the baptism the person will normallly give a testimony and say their spiritual journey,this is like the vows in babies baptism. this is done by adults/ teens old enough to understand their faith.  

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Prayer

'prayer is the raising of ones mind and heart to god' thisis where christians vocally communicate with god. during prayer people may give thanks to god (thanksgiving) worship god (adoration) admit sins (confession) ask god for something (supplication) ask to help others (Intercession). 

Prayer helps strenghten a christians bond with god. they may draw comfor from god listening, or may listen to what god thinks they should do. 

Most denominations have set prayers which can be said in private or in services. one of the most important prayers is the lords prayer, as it is based on the words of jesus when he told his disiples how to pray. it shows god is 'our father' and he will provide for us. 

informal prayers are where individuals talk to god in their own words . these canbe called 'extrempore' prayers and are used in worship or privatly. these are more personal and show a personal connection with god. 

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Pilgrimage

pilgrimages are not compulsory in christianity but many people see them as important. 'pilgramages evoke our earthly journey toward heaven' jesus and his parents made pilgrimage to jeruselum. 

Pilgramage can be made to find healing or forgiveness or to step back from normal life and concentrate on relegion. they can learn from each other and the journey reflects their religious journey. 

Catholics often visit rome and the vatican city where the pope resides. many people also go to Jeruselum to see key places in Jesus' life. Many people also visit Lourdes where mary was seen, the water is seen to have healing properties and many miricales take place there. Lourdes is a very busy place with many pilgrims (often Catholic)

Many protestant pilgrims also visit Iona an isolated island in scotland where pilgrims are able to sped time with God and quiet time with the bible. 

Other christians say pilrimism is unnessary and it is the internal journey towards God which matters the most. 

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The work of the church

The role of the local church s to put the christian faith into action in the local community, including caring for it. They can do this by:

providing regular services and a place for quiet reflection to be with jesus.

provide a venue for rites of passage, such as weddings, christnings ect.

running youth clubs and sunday school to engage the younger members of the community,

raising money for charity,

working in the streets at night as street pastors to ensure partygoers are safe- this shows christian love.

runnig food banks to distribute donated food to those who need it most. 

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Evangelism

to spread the christian message with the aim of converting people. 'go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation'. many people help evangelise bbecause they think they can help people realise their real purpose in life and find salvation. they may feel exited to tell people of jesus' love. 

For some people telling people directly about God can cause problems and may offend people, instead they try to spread gods love through actions, such as distributing bibles, or attending emergancies. 

As church attendance is falling evangelism is important to find new people to go to church. this could be like stemming from the traditionnal aspect of the church, such as preaching in cafes to create a more relaxed atmosphere, 

Missionarries help spread the chrisian message abroad, this is more by volunteering there skills to help developing comunities and show christian love. 

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Helping the needy

christians believe in justice where all people are equal and so christians will help anyone regardless of who they are 'blessed are the peacemakers' christians will help to restore peace anywhere. They will help persecuted christians, people who suffer due to being christian, they may provide bibles so they can worship in secret, offer training to church members without a job or to the homeless due to being a christian (refugees/ victims of war), pray to the persecuted and send people money, begin petitions to help others. The St Barnabus Fund works to end suffering from persecution. 

in the sheep and the goat the people who have looked after others are rewarded. so charity is very important, but not just bu giving money 'if i give all i possess... but do not have love i gain nothing' 

CAFOD- - fight poverty and injustice by helping in emergancies and giving skills to people to help themselves. 

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