It has become the largest of the world’s religions.
Geographically the most widely diffused of all faiths, it has a constituency of more than 2 billion believers.
Its largest groups are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Protestant churches; in addition to these churches there are several independent churches of Eastern Christianity as well as numerous sects throughout the world.
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This is followed by an examination of several intellectual manifestations of Christianity.
Finally, the position of Christianity in the world, the relations among its divisions and denominations, its missionary outreach to other peoples, and its relations with other world religions are discussed.
For supporting material on various topics, see , Christianity is more than a system of religious belief.
It also has generated a culture, a set of ideas and ways of life, practices, and artifacts that have been handed down from generation to generation since Jesus first became the object of faith.
Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind.
The agent of Christianity is the church, the community of people who make up the body of believers.
To say that Christianity “focuses” on Jesus Christ is to say that somehow it brings together its beliefs and practices and other traditions in reference to a historic figure.
Few Christians, however, would be content to keep this reference merely historical.
Although their faith tradition is historical—i.e., they believe that transactions with the divine do not occur in the realm of timeless ideas but among ordinary humans through the ages—the vast majority of Christians focus their faith in Jesus Christ as someone who is also a present reality.
They may include many other references in their tradition and thus may speak of “God” and “human nature” or of “church” and “world,” but they would not be called Christian if they did not bring their attentions first and last to Jesus Christ.
While there is something simple about this focus on Jesus as the central figure, there is also something very complicated.