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Christianity Christianity was one of the many religions in the Roman Empire. Romans were polytheistic like the Greeks! The Romans conquered the Jewish homeland of Judea (origin) in 63 B.C., the birthplace of Jesus. • Christianity is monotheistic religion that is also an extension of Judaism • God = Yahweh •Followers believed God would send a Messiah (savior) to restore Israel •Christianity grew from belief that Jesus Christ was the Messiah! Founder •Jesus • Carpenter by trade • Left Nazareth to become a minister • Recognized as a healer, prophet, Son of God & Messiah • Taught 12 disciples Holy Text •Bible •Divided into 2 parts • Old & New Testament •Most of Jesus’ life is told through the 4 Gospels (stories) • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Beliefs For three years, Jesus traveled from place to place, preaching that there was only one true God and he was loving & forgiving. 1.God wants a relationship with man Mankind separated from God because of SIN 2.Jesus (God in bodily form) came to provide a way for forgiveness 3. Salvation is a gift through grace Mankind can do NOTHING to earn it Good works is a reflection of God not merit (works) 4. Jesus died on the cross 5. Resurrected from dead so mankind could be forgiven for sins As the Empire grew, conquered people were allowed to maintain their own beliefs, as long as they did not threaten the empire. The Romans feared Jesus would lead a revolt against Roman rule and condemned him to death. •After his death, Jesus’ followers began calling themselves Christians. They refused to worship Roman gods or the emperor. •Nero began a campaign against Christians starting in 64 A.D. Nero sent Christians to their deaths. He watched with pleasure as Christians were crucified, burned alive, or forced to fight wild animals in the Colosseum… Christian Catacombs Hidden deep underground, in passageways called catacombs, Christians buried their dead and worshipped in secret. Diffusion • Spread to Jerusalem, Judea, Middle East & Mediterranean • Jesus’ most devoted followers wrote many letters to Christian groups • Paul, Peter & John Even after early persecution, by Romans, Christianity was eventually adopted by Emperor Constantine as the official religion of the Roman Empire and the Western World. Christianity is now practiced throughout the world, mostly in Europe and the Americas. Today there are about 1.5 billion Christians.