Why Jesus and the bible are important for Christians
In this part of my assignment I am going to look at why Jesus and the bible are important for Christians. I will then look at the Christian values and then look at what Christianity teaches about helping others.
In Christianity, Jesus is important for various reasons. Jesus was the first Christian and without him Christianity would have never become a religion. Christians believe that Jesus is God’s revelation. One reason that Jesus is important to Christians is because they believe Jesus died to set the people of the world free from sin. This belief is called the redemption. Christians also believe that Jesus is the incarnation, this is that Jesus is fully man and fully God at the same time. This belief is often seen as a mystery of faith. Christians also believe Jesus to have authority because he is God. Some people do not believe that Jesus is important and this may be because of their faith.
The bible is important to Christians because they believe it is God’s word to the world. It is often said to be the word of God. Christians sometimes call the bible the Sacred Scripture. This means that it is unlike any other writing. The bible has special authority because it is said to be Inspired writing. This means that the people who wrote the gospels were inspired by God’s spirit.
Different Christian groups interpret the scriptures in different ways. There are a group of Christians that are known as ‘Fundamentalists’ or ‘Literalists.’ This group of Christians take every word of the bible to be the truth and they follow the teachings of Jesus very literally. In the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, the fundamentalists would believe that Jesus actually fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish and then still had twelve baskets left over. The Catholic Church takes a critical approach to the bible and they believe parables like the feeding of the five thousand to have symbolic meanings rather than being the actual truth. The Catholic Church believes the feeding of the five thousand to be symbolic of the messianic feast and sharing. Although the Catholic Church does not believe the parables to be actual truth they still believe parables have authority.
Values are something that someone believes in and they are very important to that person. Christians take their beliefs from scriptures, tradition and Jesus’ teachings. The Ten Commandments are the basic rules of Christianity. Christians still believe many of the commandments are relevant today, for example ‘Do not kill’. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. Although the Ten Commandments are very important to Christians they actually come from the religion of Judaism. The Beatitudes are another basic foundation of Christianity. Jesus gave these to his disciples at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). The Beatitudes are important because these are the attitudes, which Jesus thought to be God-like behaviour. The beatitudes are the attitudes to be but they are not conventional wisdom. The Beatitudes would be seen as a sign of weakness by our power dominated society.
In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25) Jesus taught that people should treat others, as they themselves would like to be treated. He said that those who help others would be greatly rewarded in heaven whilst those who look after no one but himself or herself will be treated as they treated others. This teaching could encourage Christians to take more of an interest in other people and to try and help whenever they see anyone in need of it.
In the story of The Widow’s Offering (Luke 21). Jesus teaches that those who have lots of wealth and riches and give very little but make a great show of it will not be regarded highly at the end of time. Jesus also taught that if you give all you have no matter how little it is, to help others you will be greatly rewarded at the end of time. These teachings are relevant for Christians today because they could influence them to give money to charity. It could also influence Christians to organise fundraising activities within their parishes.
1 Corinthians helped the first Christians to believe that they should try to help anyone that needed help because it said that all people were somehow joined together as one great body and that in order to survive everyone must help each other.
The letter of Faith and Actions by James encouraged the first to believe that actions speak louder than words and the only way to change anything in the world would be to act.
The Catholic Church believes that they must find what is the right thing to do through; what the bible teaches, what the bishops teach, our consciences and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church has Catechisms, which teach about many aspects of life. The catechisms are the spirit of the commandments. One part of the catholic catechism, (1889) teaches that charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. Another catechism, (2443) which teaches that Catholics should help others, is that God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebuke those who turn away from them.
Some poor Christians in the developing countries of the world believe that the wealthier Christians have lost some of the beliefs and values that Jesus brought to the religion.
Christians have special organisations, which deal with helping the poor in the world. One such organisation is CAFOD, (the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development) which works to put the words of Jesus into action. It is a voice for the poor in the world. CAFOD’s aims are to, spread the Christian faith and its values and to reduce the effects of poverty. Cardinal Basil Hume said that the main aim of CAFOD was to bring love to the poor countries of the world.
CAFOD also helps people to help themselves. CAFOD’s slogan is ‘Give a man a fish and it will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and it will feed him for life.’
CAFOD provide both long-term and short-term aid. An example of long-term aid is a project, which CAFOD has set up in the developing countries for example a community health care project in Kenya. An example of short-term aid would be famine relief.
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