What are the basic beliefs of christianity?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hmm.  While I agree with pohnpei397, I think that there are a few things that ought to be added to the discussion.  The reason it is a difficult question to answer is because there are an estimated 38,000 different denominations within Christianity.  Of course, not all of these are easily verifiable or exert a major influence on the religion's theology, but they are out there, so when you meet someone who is a Christian you never know exactly what you are going to get.

For example, the previous answerer included the idea that one must believe in the Trinity as a requirement to be a Christian, but this is not wholly accurate.  While it is the predominant idea, it is not the only one.  For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in a trinitarian God, and they consider themselves Christian.

The thing that I think applies to all Christians is the idea of "monotheism," that there is only one God (though what shape or makeup that one God has is argued.)

I think, at heart, to be a Christian one must believe that the personage of Jesus Christ is the mechanism by which a human being can understand God.  How much God and how much person is in the mix?  Again, most denominations hold the idea that Jesus was "all man" and "all God" at the same time, but not all interpret things that way.  The common thread, though, was that Jesus is the figure that is central to the understanding of God, and that his death (and subsequent resurrection) are pivotal parts of the puzzle.  His death, through complicated theological mechanisms, is believed by Christians to be a "payment" for all the sin (or things contrary to God's will) that humans do.

In addition, I think almost all Christians believe that at some point Jesus will return to Earth to set things "right" that have gone wrong.

I don't know if I really added much, here, but I wanted to make sure that you understood that while Christianity has a general "core set" of beliefs the specifics about how those beliefs apply to us has been debated for ages. There is A LOT more to the enhancing theology of Christianity that rounds things out.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question, but something that almost all Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) agree with is the Apostle's Creed. Here it is:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.


Some points to note:

1. Trinitarian formula - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

2. The Father is the creator.

3. The son is the savior, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died and rose again. Notice, he is human and divine.

4. Finally, notice the work of the Holy Spirit and the importance of the church.

In conclusion, there are many other Christians groups and therefore there will be more details of theology. However, the basic core will most likely be the same.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are the big ones:

There is only one God.  But, and this is a mystery that is not understandable by logic, there are three parts to that God.  There is God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.  All of these are separate parts of the same God, but yet there is only one God.

The other major belief is that Jesus Christ came to earth to sacrifice himself to make up for the sins of all people for all time.  This belief includes the idea that Jesus was 100% human when he came down (so he could suffer, be tempted, etc) and that he was 100% God at the same time.  This is another mystery.  By allowing himself to be sacrificed, Jesus allowed our sins to be forgiven.

These are the major beliefs that all Christians must believe to truly be Christian.  There are a lot of other things that one sect or another believe, but these are the major ones.

emk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The doctrinal answer using the Creed is correct, but I wonder if you're thinking about the doctrinal beliefs or the practical ones - it's much more difficult to find agreement on those.  A good place to start, though is with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 - 7) and its corresponding passage, the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6).  Still, interpretations of these passages can vary widely.  A simplistic answer is that Christians are called to love one another and forgive one another always.  As I tell my students, it's simple but not easy.  And interpreting exactly what "love" means can be tricky, to say the least.

rlydon14617 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Christianity is the only religion where their Savior died for the people. If you look at Muhammed and Buddha, there are no accounts of a possible ressurection. Jesus appeared to his followers many times after he was crucified, died and buried.

Another major part of Christianity is having a relationship with Jesus. The major premis that we are saved by grace and not works is what sets it apart from all other world religions. Having a daily relationship with Christ allows His followers to feel connection and a purpose to our faith.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The belief in Jesus Christ is a major principle of Christianity. Christians believe that God sent his only Son here to die for our sins. There are many different denominations of Christianity such as Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, etc. They all believe in Jesus Christ as the savior but may worship in different ways.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The basic beliefs of Christianity are that there is a God, Jesus is the son of God, and all humans are made in God's image to serve God and each other.  Christians also believe in Heaven and Hell, and preach forgiveness.