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Final Paper

Introduction

The choice of a person’s religion is a personal decision that is guaranteed in the constitution in most countries worldwide. As the leading faith, Christianity is popular among many people. However, it is subdivided into different denominations based on their interpretations of certain Biblical events such as the death and resurrection of Christ. As such, it has experienced numerous challenges in its quest to liberate people from sin. Other religions have also experienced a rise in their numbers thereby posing a threat to the reception of Christian principles in various global communities. Therefore, despite the influence of rival religions, Christianity is poised to attract to a larger audience although it will have to incorporate some of their traditions.

Body

Part 1

Christianity is a global religion whose worshippers believe that Jesus is the son of God as well as the Messiah and whose coming have been prophesied in the Bible. Consequently, there are different factions such as Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Similarly, there are varying ways of practicing these faiths by either prayer, singing, or preaching (Woodhead 57). The protestant affiliation can be traced to the Protestant reformation in Germany. As part of its core principles, its followers believe in the scripture as the supreme source of any authority hence lowly ranking church traditions due to the absence of their validation in the Bible. In addition, they strongly believe that in the absence of good works, faith alone can guarantee one’s forgiveness from sin. Moreover, it is their view that every believer has the power to seek God’s audience without having to include any mediators such as priests, are firm supporters of the Holy Trinity and advocates of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eastern Orthodox descended from Eastern Europe and they believe in the Holy Trinity as well through god’s eternal presence. Additionally, they affirm that Jesus Christ appeared as both God and man in order to make it possible for man to be saved from his original sin. According to them, Christ’s death was meant for the salvation of man as opposed to the satisfaction of God as stated in other literatures. Likewise, His resurrection is celebrated as the triumph over death through death for man to overcome immortality as described in the New Testament (Stark 29). They also contend that the Bible is supreme and contains the actual words spoken by Jesus and the disciples as opposed to reports from third parties. The Roman Catholic is the largest Christian religion with the pope as its symbolic head. The followers regularly recite the Apostles Creed since it contains a summary of their faith. For example, they believe in one God, the creation story, the holy trinity and the suffering of Jesus for the sake of man’s redemption. Similarly, they assert that the Catholic Church is the Holy Spirit’s choice of residence, the communion of saints and that Jesus is the main mediator to the father. However, the presence of such spiritual complexity broadens the knowledge about Christianity since it ensures that many more people get a chance to know and accept the message about God. The Bible is clear in its definition of a sinner and promises to bring god closer to such an individual irrespective of his/her location, gender or occupation. Therefore, the division of Christian beliefs serves to widen the gospel’s outreach to as many people as possible in order to spread the message to a larger audience.

Similarly, such an arrangement prevents backsliding. As individuals, everyone has specific passions and desires. The proceedings of church services vary slightly according to the doctrine and nature of inspiration among the followers. As such, it would be easy for a person to switch his/her allegiance to another religion. Nevertheless, having optional routines within the same denomination ensures that believers join churches of their choice but profess the same faith. By so doing, people maintain their spiritual connection while being flexible to join the organization of their choice (Daughrity 30). Additionally, it enhances the level of worship and devotion to God. The different complexities differ slightly in the interpretations of certain Biblical traditions. As such, each faction modifies the approach to prayer, sermon delivery, and singing sessions. The changes made serve to increase a person’s dedication to God especially when the culture corresponds to the current lifestyle.

Likewise, as a global religion, Christianity is present in all continents and has over 2.4 billion followers. Therefore, it is no longer confined to Europe alone hence; it is useful as a symbol of unification because of its non-discriminatory approach. The fact that its message resonates with potentially anyone means that it is socially acceptable and can be used to promote harmony among communities. In fact, it is evident that people who are affiliated to Christianity originate from a diverse group of cultures as well as backgrounds. Latin America, Asia, and Africa have witnessed an upsurge in the number of conversions. Currently, 26% of the Christian population is situated in Europe, 37% in the Americas, 245 in Africa and 13% in Asia and the Pacific. Moreover, more than 2 billion of the world’s population is dominated by Christians. Their spread has not been limited to Western countries but to Muslim dominated nations as well. For example, Indonesia has one of the highest growth rates than most of the Middle East countries. Nigeria has more Protestants than Germany, the origin of the Protestant movement as well. Furthermore, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced the fastest increase to about 285 million people. The exponential spread of Christianity can be attributed to the rise in evangelism in which missionaries and other ordained pastors travel the globe in search of new territories to spread the gospel. Once the locations have been identified, churches are planted and priests chosen to lead them. The phenomenon has been replicated over many decades hence making it a thriving endeavor that has attracted more followers annually. Having different ideologies or opinions is not a hindrance for interactions thus enabling people to relate freely. Therefore, it shows that Christianity is for all masses and provides individuals with a chance to redeem oneself through accepting Jesus and being saved. By extending the message to several recipients, this religion makes people to view each other as equal thereby eliminating any forms of rifts within the society.

Furthermore, the rise of various denominations within the Christian faith is a testament to its vibrancy. As part of the belief system for any religion, there are bound to be some doctrines that are controversial especially in their application to daily life. For example, the taking of Holy Communion is a matter that has attracted great debate over the procedure to be followed during the actual ceremony. As such, the decision to allow different churches to make an informed decision and partake in the sacred feat reduces chances of internal conflict among the believers (Aden 67). By offering such flexibility within the followers, unnecessary divisions are contained thereby making them to focus on the worshipping of Jesus. It is vital that Christians maintain a united front especially in light of the prevailing circumstances in which other religions are spreading false propaganda to discredit the religion and its followers as well. Moreover, it is an indication of the democratic structure of its leadership showing that converts are not recruited through coercion but by their convictions. Making such a distinction helps to increase its appeal amongst would be followers since they are attracted to Christianity by the free flowing spirit of its members. In particular, it is an illustration of a lack of monopoly in the understanding of the Bible’s meaning. As such, it opens the scripture to more scrutiny by offering various interpretations of similar events. While these multiple opinions could have the potential of inciting differences within the people, it enriches the spirituality of many others because it provides them with enough information to counter false prophesy too. By enhancing the mental capacity of individuals, it strengthens their faith as well because it enables them to avoid temptations aimed at returning them to a secular lifestyle. The spiritual knowledge possessed through this complexity serves to heighten discipleship as well and this is an integral part of Christianity. Having led the spread of the gospel by the help of a handful of disciples, the example set by Jesus is mirrored in the various denominations since the overriding message of a common destiny is shared by all of them.

Part 2

The Muslim religion is known to be strict on the periods of the day when followers should pray. In particular, people are advised to hold prayers thrice per day. Such firm adherences serve to enhance devotion among the faithful. Therefore, Christianity ought to embrace such a culture in which prater times are specified regardless of the day to enable believers to be in constant touch with God. By making it mandatory for them to follow such a tradition, Christians will get to know the scripture more intimately and fellowship with others too. In fact, holding frequent sessions will provide them with additional time to exchange ideas and offer spiritual encouragement that is needed to boost one’s faith in the Lord (Wagner 55). In addition, it would offer priests more time to offer spiritual guidance thus increasing their knowledge pool as well. Additionally, it would act as a reminder to do the right thing because sinners will always be confronted with a guilty conscience. The frequent daily routine would serve as a deterrent from committing unfaithful acts hence facilitating the transformation of various individuals into the Christian way of life. Similarly, meditation can be integrated from Buddhism to aid in self-discovery. At such moments of quiet reflection, one would focus on the wrongs committed and the scripture’s outline of the salvation process in order to identify the areas that need to be reformed. Moreover, this practice would enhance the development of love, generosity, forgiveness, and patience. Consequently, the change in character would increase spiritual nourishment as well as physical health of the participants. It would also help to improve the relevance of Christianity especially in the current materialistic world that has people fixated on earthly possessions. In fact, its sanitization would occur hence positively influencing the lives of its members.

Likewise, the Hindu tradition of asceticism in which people deny themselves earthly pleasures for the sake of attaining certain spiritual goals can be incorporated as well. As a form of detachment from worldly indulges, this ritual would serve to detach individuals from unfaithful things and set them on a path of heavenly glory, which is part of God’s plan for His believers. Therefore, it would be an enrichment of its own content. However, by making the above inclusions, Christianity will not lose its essence because its spiritual message will not have been altered. By changing the approach to certain issues without interfering with the content, the religion’s principles remain intact and its appeal is even broadened (Faelli 49). Moreover, these changes would be considered enhancements that help to simplify message delivery. As part of its identity, it would retain its belief in the death, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as the ominous prediction of the fate of sinners during His second coming. Furthermore, the notion of the reward for believers who would have attained salvation will be maintained and that would signify a consistent ideology with the current Christian teachings. Christianity will also not lose its essence due to the promise of eternity that the faith professes. Having been an early promoter of living a morally ethical life that is compatible with the Ten Commandments, this religion has been in existence for centuries and has been chosen by millions of converts across large geographical locations. Moreover, countless tales have been told and books published about the testimonies given by people who were actually blessed in one way or another through the belief in God. Thus, having slight changes to the systems of teaching or ways of accepting the same Messiah cannot wholly change the fundamental beliefs about the pending punishment for sin nor reward for salvation. In fact, it would only strengthen the believers’ resolve in following the requirements of their faith in order to be eligible for going to heaven to experience the greatness promised in the scriptures.

Part 3

Christianity is poised to become a syncretistic religion that will combine other traditions from various religions due to the increase in globalization. Much of the physical, social, and economic barriers have been eliminated and modernity has become accepted in different regions of the world. Such developments will be vital in influencing the integration of cultural practices between different communities who belong to various religions. As humanity progresses in technological advancements throughout the world, people have realized that they share some common beliefs as well as heritage (Wagner 10). In most instances, religious differences can be attributed to changes in scriptural adaptations and literature. Therefore, the ideological gap that exists among them will be narrowed by the integration of their rituals due to the expansion of universal needs and wants. As more people will find themselves experiencing similar challenges, they will be inclined to adapt to their surroundings irrespective of their religious affiliations. Hence, circumstances are bound to make all the religions to incorporate global trends in their day-to-day operations in order to remain relevant to the audiences of the time. Consequently, Christianity will have to make some changes to its approach of spiritual matters as well.

Similarly, the world is reeling from different crises that are threatening the peace and security of many people. Therefore, the need to eliminate intereligious enmity and tension will significantly influence these developments. In fact, the rationale behind such a move would be the reduction of offensive treatment of other religions. In particular, inculturation will occur whereby Christianity will change the expression and style of worship without addressing the doctrine. Moreover, symbols that would be reconfigured to fit into the Christian worldview will have to be adopted too especially depending on the size and level of cultural influence within the host country (Cleave 46). As part of an evolving modern society, it will be incumbent upon the followers to be observant of their surroundings and make the right judgments about the symbols that resemble those appropriate to their doctrine. While there may be chances of being completely assimilated by native cultures, it would be vital for the believers to make apt decisions to avoid confusing the congregation with mixed messages.

Likewise, it will be exposed to competing spiritual interests from rival religions thereby enhancing the need for it to appear transformative. The ongoing political, economic, and social shifts have the ability to sway the populations in specific directions. While the overriding message will be the salvation of sinners through repentance, the expansion of its outreach programs will be influenced by the location, language, cultural and dietary habits of the area. Furthermore, the religious practices of the locals will have a bearing on the continuity of Christianity within certain jurisdictions. As such, a compromise would have to be reached to allow these religions to coexist peacefully. By so doing, members of such faiths will learn traditions of the other party and only their levels of devotion will limit or expand the assimilation process. For example, Christianity will acquire the spiritual and communal values of Muslims especially in areas where the latter is the dominant religion. The practice of holding group fellowship sessions by religious Jews could be included as well thereby signaling a shift in strategy in the spread of Christianity.

Conclusion

Christianity is based on the premise that the birth of Jesus as man, his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection was meant to clear the path for the redemption of humanity. In addition, the influence of the Holy Spirit is illustrated in the Biblical directives offered to man that specifically identify it as the facilitator of divine intervention. Therefore, with an increase in the number of Christians, it is evident that this message has resonated well across various continents. However, the presence of further denominations has created the possibility of internal rifts but the external threat of competing religions has risen as well. As such, it is evident that this religion has had to integrate certain traditions from its competitors in order to blend with the geographical location of its followers. Nevertheless, that has not made it to lose its essence because it has not changed its core message of salvation for sinners. In fact, it has broadened its appeal to more demographics thereby multiplying its support base within various states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Aden, Ross. Religion Today: A Critical Thinking Approach to Religious Studies. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013. Print.

Cleave, Joanne. Christianity: Behaviour, Attitudes & Lifestyles. Oxford: Heinemann, 2001. Print.

Daughrity, Dyron. The Changing World of Christianity: The Global History of a Borderless Religion. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.

Faelli, Rita. Christianity: History, Beliefs, Worship, and Celebrations. Clayton South, Vic, 2006. Print.

Stark, Rodney. The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion. New York: HarperOne, 2011. Print.

Wagner, Richard. Christianity for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub, 2004. Print.

Woodhead, Linda. An Introduction to Christianity. New York: Cambridge, 2004. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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