1

I would like to know what is the core principle/teaching of Christianity in one or two (not strictly) lines.

I come from a Hindu background. So, in Hinduism, it says everything came from Brahman which is having force and consciousness in it latent. Otherwise it is inert, without quality etc, it doesn't show it's real potential. And as a result of a big illusion, we see different things like, air, fire, water, stars, planets, living things etc., which is transformed from Brahman. This is something like, if we go at a subatomic level of all things, it is all similar and traces back to one material (not strictly again) from which they are made. So, if we take anything in this Universe all can be traced back to the root which is Brahman (Advaita).

Surely, there could be arguments against how realistic or convincible this is. But let's put that aside for now. I was giving an example of what kind of an answer I expect.

6
  • 1
    Everything is summed up in Him who is the Logos from the beginning. This is revealed to be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 16, 2021 at 16:09
  • You're asking a question of "All Christians", which could give you the wrong idea about any particular Christian you might meet. "Christianity" is defined by the doctrines and authorities that make up the established churches (or no established churches), it's way to broad. You might ask: "What are core principles of the various popular denominations within Christianity" and tag with "Denomination-Survey", then you'd at least have a frame of reference for the answer you're looking at.
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 16, 2021 at 19:48
  • I closed as duplicate just because that's a question that might also be helpful, I don't think it's necessarily a duplicate of this question, at least not enough to close as a dupe. This is more in the "Close as Opinion Based" territory
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 16, 2021 at 19:49
  • 1
    @NigelJ, I guess this is inline with Clayworth's answer.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 6:58
  • @PeterTurner, Given there are denominations there should be a root. I was just looking for that root. And I strongly believe that that root can be put in words.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 7:02

4 Answers 4

2

Christianity in two words: Law, Gospel.

Right, that won't do, but those two ideas are nevertheless the basis of Christianity, and suggest that we may be able to get the basics across in two sentences, or at least two coherent thoughts.

Law

Every human¹ is sinful; we do bad things, have bad thoughts, and fall short of God's expectation of perfection, and are accordingly condemned before God. We cannot, by our own power, redeem ourselves. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

(¹ Except Jesus Christ, who, according to Trinitarians at least, is also God, and can therefore be reasonably exempt from "every human". The exact sense in which Christ is or is not God, and is or is not human, is not a trivial subject.)

Gospel

God, in His mercy, sent His only Son to atone for our sin in order to redeem those who believe. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Note, however, that many (though not all) Christians believe that faith is necessary for forgiveness. It is a free gift, but one that can be rejected.

TL;DR

You are sinful (law). You are forgiven through Christ (gospel).

2
  • I guess this is more or less the same as Clayworth's answer and which would be agreed by most of the Christians.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 6:49
  • @Ram, Clayworth's answer is almost exactly the same as half my answer. The idea that John 3:16 is "the gospel in a nutshell" is widespread, and certainly we both went straight to that verse. However, the gospel is only part of the story. Why do we need forgiveness? The law provides context to the gospel. The two exist in balance. Too much law, and we have no hope. Not enough, and the gospel loses its relevance.
    – Matthew
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:13
2

Core teaching of Christianity

Christianity is, of course, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Of those teachings, one stands out as the basis on which everything else follows:

“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

Yes, love is the guiding principle or core of what Jesus taught. The Greek language has different words for love depending on which 'love' is being expressed. The 'love' that Jesus was teaching is the Greek word agapé. This 'love' is based on good principles and is doing what needs to be done out of the goodness of one's heart. Agapé is also referred to as unconditional love or Christian love. (For more information on 'love' as used in the Bible, see the topic "Love" in the Insight on the Scriptures)

You may be interested in the brochure "Why Should We Worship God in Love and Truth?" (published by Jehovah's Witnesses) that can provide additional information on what God requires of us. This digital brochure is written with Hindus in mind.

1
  • Love one another is one good point. But every religion proclaims that, not just Christianity.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 6:47
2

There is a very well-recognized one-line summary of Christianity. It's a bit overused, and some consider it cliched, but there isn't a really better one-or-two-liner with general agreement.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

To answer the question in comments, this is a verse from scripture, so pretty much every denomination will agree with it (they might have different interpretations of the details). The scripture reference is "John 3:16" which you might see displayed in different places.

4
  • I'd say this is the best answer overall. But taking it to the next level of understanding is almost impossible; it has at least 6 phrases that are each interpreted in quite different ways by the various denominations. Dec 17, 2021 at 2:13
  • I don't disagree with you Ray. But since no one-liner is going to completely explain Christianity, giving people something that drives them to dig deeper and learn more is my preference for the way to go. Dec 17, 2021 at 2:54
  • This is a good answer. Straight to the point. I'm not looking for a broad answer, but just the essence. I guess this is the principle which governs and sits on top of any idea or this is the idea which further develops downwards. Ofcourse, if you ask more questions, then it might become slippery. But that, I guess, is the case for any religion. If someone wants to understand what basically forms the core principle, I guess this is it. It could be that there are many Denominations, but I guess, all of them agrees to this point.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 6:46
  • 'One and only' is a disputed translation of monogenes. The Council of Nicea translate it as 'only begotten' - a matter of the relationship of the Son to the Father. 'One and only' diminishes that relationship.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:50
0

If you are of a Hindu background, then, to the extent to which you might be familiar with the Hindu concepts of moksha and nirvana, especially as they are understood within the schools of Yoga or Buddhism, then these would appear very similar to the Eastern Orthodox notion of engodment, whose main attributes are dispassion, inner purification, and the indescribable spiritual bliss that is said to inevitably follow or accompany their presence. This is believed to be achievable by asceticism and prayer.

To us, Eastern and Oriental Christians, entering within this state of mind constitutes the very essence of the Christian faith, inasmuch as, in our understanding, God became man, so that man might become God, as Saint Athanasius the Great so eloquently put it, one and a half millennia ago.

2
  • This just went over my head :). To me it felt it differs from the other answers since it didn't put Jesus in front. I didn't go through the links provided though, because it would lead to more links.
    – Ram
    Dec 17, 2021 at 6:54
  • @Ram: It did, though, albeit covertly. Throughout the four Gospels, detailing His life and teachings, Christ says and does things that, to us, sane human beings, seem utterly bizarre, if not outright inhuman, and I'm not even talking about His miracles here. Thus, one inevitably starts asking oneself, what state of mind naturally generates the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes described therein, so that, by entering it, one might ultimately become like Him, since, within the average human mind-frame, we're otherwise strongly inclined to behave in a manner diametrically opposed to it.
    – user46876
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .