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Christians () are people who follow or adhere to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...
, a monotheistic
Abrahamic religion The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, be ...
based on the life and teachings of
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest r ...
. The words ''
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. He was a fir ...
'' and ''Christian'' derive from the
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
title ''Christós'' (Χριστός), a translation of the
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic languages, Semitic languages, spoken b ...
term ''
mashiach The Messiah in Judaism () is the savior and liberator figure in Jewish eschatology, whose role is to restore Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek ...
'' (מָשִׁיחַ) (usually rendered as ''messiah'' in English). While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance. The term "Christian" used as an adjective is descriptive of anything associated with Christianity or
Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. ...
, or in a proverbial sense "all that is noble, and good, and Christ-like." It does not have a meaning of 'of Christ' or 'related or pertaining to Christ'. According to a 2011
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisanism in the United States, nonpartisan American think tank (referring to itself as a "fact tank") based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends s ...

Pew Research Center
survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...
, about 26% live in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

Europe
, 24% live in
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories in ...

sub-Saharan Africa
, about 13% live in
Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict crite ...
and the
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. T ...

Pacific
, and 1% live in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organi ...

Middle East
and
North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in the west, to Egypt's ...

North Africa
. Christians make up the majority of the population in 158 countries and territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. About half of all Christians worldwide are
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
, while more than a third are
Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. ...
(37%).
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, Christianity will remain the world's largest religion in 2050, if current trends continue. In recent history, Christians have experienced persecution of varying severity, especially in the
Middle-East The Middle East is a transcontinental region in Afro-Eurasia which generally includes Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatoli ...
, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia."Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'".
''
BBC News BBC News is an operational business division of the United Kingdom’s state affiliated media British Broadcasting Corporation The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting Hou ...
''. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
Kay, Barbara. "Our politicians may not care, but Christians are under siege across the world".
''
National Post The ''National Post'' is a Canadian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper. The paper is the flagship publication of Postmedia Network Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (also known as Postmedia Network, Postmedia News or Postmedia) is a ...
''. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
Wintour, Patrick. "Persecution of Christians coming close to genocide' in Middle East - report".
''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gua ...

The Guardian
''. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.


Etymology

The Greek word (''Christianos''), meaning "follower of Christ", comes from (''Christos''), meaning "
anointed Anointed is a contemporary Christian music duo from Columbus, Ohio Columbus is the List of U.S. state capitals, state capital and the List of cities in Ohio, most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio. With a population estimated at 898,553 ...
one", with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
, ''christos'' was used to translate the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
מָשִׁיחַ (''Mašíaḥ'',
messiah In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient I ...
), meaning " ne who isanointed". In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are likewise derived from the Greek, such as ''Chrétien'' in French and ''Cristiano'' in Spanish. The abbreviations ''Xian'' and ''Xtian'' (and similarly-formed other parts of speech) have been used since at least the 17th century: ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive res ...
'' shows a 1634 use of ''Xtianity'' and ''Xian'' is seen in a 1634–38 diary. The word ''
Xmas '': "Give her a for Xmas" Xmas (also X-mas) is a common abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from ...

Xmas
'' uses a similar contraction.


Early usage

The first recorded use of the term (or its
cognate In linguistics, cognates, also called lexical cognates, are words that have a common etymology, etymological origin. Cognates are often inherited from a proto-language, shared parent language, but they may also involve loanword, borrowings from ...
s in other languages) is in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as w ...

New Testament
, in
Acts 11 Acts 11 is the eleventh chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christianity, Christian Bible. It records that Saint Peter defends his visit to Cornelius the Centurion, Cornelius in Caesarea and retells Peter's vision of a sh ...
after Barnabas brought Saul (Paul) to
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says: "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." ( Acts 11:26). The second mention of the term follows in
Acts 26 Acts 26 is the twenty-sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book o ...
, where
Herod Agrippa II Herod Agrippa II (; AD 27/28 – or 100), officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes shortened to Agrippa, was the eighth and last ruler from the Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dy ...

Herod Agrippa II
replied to
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." ( Acts 26:28). The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4, which exhorts believers: "Yet if '' ny man suffer' as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." ( 1 Peter 4:16). Kenneth Samuel Wuest holds that all three original New Testament verses' usages reflect a derisive element in the term ''Christian'' to refer to followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name ''Christians'', had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames. However Peter's apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over "Nazarenes" and the term ''Christianoi'' from
1 Peter The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) i ...
becomes the standard term in the
Early Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers who established the intellectual and doctrinal foundations of Christianity. The historical peri ...
from
Ignatius Ignatius is a male given name of presumed Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...

Ignatius
and
Polycarp Polycarp (; el, Πολύκαρπος, ''Polýkarpos''; la, Polycarpus; AD 69 155) was a Christian bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a ...

Polycarp
onwards. The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include
Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...
, referring to "the tribe of Christians, so named from him;"
Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – c. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger (), was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Rom ...

Pliny the Younger
in correspondence with Trajan; and
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classic ...
, writing near the end of the 1st century. In the ''
Annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writing#I ...
'' he relates that "by vulgar appellation hey werecommonly called Christians" and identifies Christians as
Nero Nero ( ; Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68 AD) was the fifth Roman emperor, ruling from 54 to 68. His infamous reign is usually associated with Tyrant, tyranny, extravagance, and debauchery.Kragelund, Patric ...

Nero
's scapegoats for the
Great Fire of Rome The Great Fire of Rome ( la, incendium magnum Romae), was an urban fire that occurred in July, AD 64. The fire began in the merchant shops around Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus, on the night of 19 July. After six days, the fire was brough ...
.


Nazarenes

Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "
Nazarenes Nazarene may refer to: * A person from Nazareth Nazareth (; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Natzrat''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. ( ...
".
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, ...

Jesus
is named as a Nazarene in Matthew 2:23, while
Paul Paul may refer to: *Paul (name), a given name (includes a list of people with that name) *Paul (surname), a list of people People Christianity *Paul the Apostle (AD 5–67), also known as Saul of Tarsus or Saint Paul, early Christian missionar ...
is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5. The latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene also referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth. The term Nazarene was also used by the Jewish lawyer
Tertullus In the Bible, Tertullus (a modification of "Tertius") was a lawyer, who was employed by the Judaism, Jews to state their case against Paul of Tarsus, Paul in the presence of Antonius Felix, Felix (Acts 24:1-9). The charges he raised against the Tw ...
(''Against Marcion'' 4:8) which records that "the Jews call us Nazarenes." While around 331 AD
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου), ...

Eusebius
records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name
Nazareth Nazareth (; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Natzrat''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography' ...

Nazareth
, and that in earlier centuries "Christians" were once called "Nazarenes". The Hebrew equivalent of "Nazarenes", ''Notzrim'', occurs in the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''ha ...
, and is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian.


Modern usage


Definition

A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian.
Denomination Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist denomination * Denomination (currency) * Denomination ( ...
s and sects disagree on a common definition of "Christianity". For example, Timothy Beal notes the disparity of beliefs among those who identify as Christians in the United States as follows:
Although all of them have their historical roots in Christian theology and tradition, and although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists (
Christian Fundamentalism Christian fundamentalism in its modern form began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among British and American ProtestantsMarsden (1980), pp. 55–62, 118–23. as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism , Solo ...
), for example, would not acknowledge Mormonism or Christian Science as Christian. In fact, the nearly 77 percent of Americans who self-identify as Christian are a diverse pluribus of Christianities that are far from any collective unity.
Linda Woodhead Linda Jane Pauline Woodhead (born 15 February 1964) is a British academic specialising in the religious studies Religious studies, also known as the study of religion, is an academic field devoted to research into religion, religious beliefs ...

Linda Woodhead
attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that "Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance." Michael Martin evaluated three historical Christian creeds (the
Apostles' Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". It most likely o ...
, the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea The First Council of Nicaea (; gr, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops ...
and the
Athanasian Creed was traditionally thought to be the author of the Athanasian Creed, and gives his name to its common title. The Athanasian Creed, also called the Pseudo-Athanasian Creed and sometimes known as ''Quicunque Vult'' (or ''Quicumque Vult'') which is bot ...
) to establish a set of basic Christian assumptions which include belief in
theism Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a supreme being God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, S ...
, the
historicity of Jesus The question of the historicity of Jesus is part of the study of the historical Jesus as undertaken in the quest for the historical Jesus and the Portraits of the historical Jesus, scholarly reconstructions of the life of Jesus. Virtually all sc ...
, the
Incarnation Incarnation literally means ''embodied in flesh'' or ''taking on flesh''. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient Sentience is the capacity to be aware of feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of to ...
,
salvation Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its co ...
through faith in Jesus, and
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, ...
as an ethical role model.


Hebrew terms

The identification of Jesus as the Messiah is not accepted by Judaism. The term for a Christian in
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
is נוֹצְרִי (''Notzri''—"Nazarene"), a
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been ...

Talmud
ic term originally derived from the fact that Jesus came from the
Galilean Generically, a Galilean (; he, גלילי; grc, Γαλιλαίων; la, Galilaeos) is an inhabitant of Galilee, a region of Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of I ...

Galilean
village of
Nazareth Nazareth (; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Natzrat''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography' ...

Nazareth
, today in northern Israel. Adherents of
Messianic Judaism Messianic Judaism is a modern Syncretism, syncretic Christianity, Christian New religious movement, religious movement that incorporates some elements of Rabbinic Judaism, Judaism and Jewish culture, Jewish tradition with Evangelicalism, Evangeli ...
are referred to in modern Hebrew as יְהוּדִים מְשִׁיחִיִּים (''Yehudim Meshihi'im''—"Messianic Jews").


Arabic terms

In Arabic-speaking cultures, two words are commonly used for Christians: ''Naṣrānī'' (), plural ''Naṣārā'' () is generally understood to be derived from
Nazarenes Nazarene may refer to: * A person from Nazareth Nazareth (; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Natzrat''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. ( ...
, believers of
Jesus of Nazareth Jesus; he, יֵשׁוּעַ, '' Yēšū́aʿ''; ar, عيسى, ʿĪsā ( 4 BC AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunc ...
through
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
(Aramaic); ''Masīḥī'' () means followers of the Messiah.Society for Internet Research
The Hamas Charter
note 62 (erroneously, "salidi").
Where there is a distinction, ''Nasrani'' refers to people from a Christian culture and ''Masihi'' is used by Christians themselves for those with a religious faith in Jesus.,
Trekking through the Moroccan Sahara
'.
In some countries ''Nasrani'' tends to be used generically for non-Muslim Western foreigners. Another Arabic word sometimes used for Christians, particularly in a political context, is ''Ṣalībī'' ( "Crusader") from ''ṣalīb'' ( "cross"), which refers to
Crusaders The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...
and may have negative connotations. However, ''Ṣalībī'' is a modern term; historically, Muslim writers described European Christian Crusaders as ''al-Faranj'' or ''Alfranj'' () and ''Firinjīyah'' () in Arabic. This word comes from the name of the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was ...

Franks
and can be seen in the Arab history text Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh by
Ali ibn al-Athir Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ash-Shaybani, better known as Ali 'Izz al- Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari ( ar, علي عز الدین بن الاثیر الجزري) (1160-1233) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, ع ...
.


Asian terms

The most common
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
word is ''Masīhī'' (), from
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
. Other words are ''Nasrānī'' (), from
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...
for "Nazarene", and ''Tarsā'' (), from
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
word ''Tarsāg'', also meaning "Christian", derived from ''tars'', meaning "fear, respect". An old Kurdish word for Christian frequently in usage was ''felle'' (فەڵە), coming from the root word meaning "to be saved" or "attain salvation". The Syriac term ''Nasrani'' (Nazarene) has also been attached to the
Saint Thomas Christians The St Thomas Christians, also called Syrian Syrians ( ar, سوريون, ''Sūriyyūn''), also known as the Syrian people ( ar, الشعب السوري, ALA-LC: ''al-sha‘ab al-Sūrī''; syr, ܣܘܪܝܝܢ), are the majority inhabitants o ...
of
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
, India. In the Indian subcontinent, Christians call themselves ''Isaai'' ( hi, ईसाई, ur, عیسائی), and are also known by this term to adherents of other religions. This is related to the name they call Jesus, ''Isa Masih'', and literally means 'the followers of 'Isa'. In the past, the
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
s used to call Christians in
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Wester ...
by the Portuguese loanword ' (from Arabic ''Nasrani''), but the term now refers to the modern Kristang creoles of
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
. In the
Indonesian language Indonesian (, ) is the official language of Indonesia. It is a standard language, standardized variety (linguistics), variety of Malay language, Malay, an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the ...

Indonesian language
, the term '" is also used alongside '. The Chinese word is (), literally "Christ follower". The two characters, now pronounced ''Jīdū'' in Mandarin Chinese, were originally used phonetically to represent the name of Christ. In Vietnam, the same two characters read '' Cơ đốc'', and a "follower of Christianity" is a . In Japan, the term ''kirishitan'' (written in Edo period documents , , and in modern Japanese histories as ), from Portuguese ', referred to Roman Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries before the religion was banned by the Tokugawa shogunate. Today, Christians are referred to in Standard Japanese as () or the English-derived term (). Korean still uses (Revised Romanization, RR: ) for "Christian", though the Portuguese loanword (Revised Romanization, RR: ) now replaced the old Sino-Korean vocabulary, Sino-Korean (Revised Romanization, RR: ), which refers to Christ himself. In Thailand, the most common terms are (Royal Thai General System of Transcription, RTGS: ) or (Royal Thai General System of Transcription, RTGS: ) which literally means "Christ person/people" or "Jesus person/people". The Thai word (Royal Thai General System of Transcription, RTGS: ) is derived from "Christ". In the Philippines, the most common terms are ' (for "Christian") and ''Kristiyanismo'' (for "Christianity") in most Philippine languages; both derives from Spanish ' and ' (also used in Chavacano) due to the country's rich history of early Christianity during the History of the Philippines (1565–1898), Spanish colonial era. Some Protestants in the Philippines uses the term ' (before the term "born again" became popular) to differentiate themselves from Catholic Church in the Philippines, Catholics (''Katoliko'').


Russian terms

The region of modern Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet bloc) has a long history of Christianity and Christian communities on its lands. In ancient times, in the first centuries after the birth of Christ, when this region was called Scythia, the geographical area of Scythians - Christians already lived there. Later the region saw the first states to adopt Christianity officially - initially Armenia (301 AD) and Georgia (country), Georgia (337 AD), later Christianization of Bulgaria, Bulgaria ( 864) and the Great Russian Principality ( rus, Великое княжество Русское, ) or Kievan Rus', Kyivan Rus ( 988 AD). In some areas, people came to denote themselves as Christians (russian: христиане, крестьяне) and as Russians (russian: русские). In time the Russian term "крестьяне" () acquired the meaning "peasants of Christian faith" and later "peasants" (the main part of the population of the region), while the term russian: христиане () retained its religious meaning and the term russian: русские () began to mean representatives of the heterogeneous Russian nation formed on the basis of common Christian faith and language, which strongly influenced the history and development of the region. In the region the term "Pravoslav faith" (russian: православная вера,, "Orthodox faith") or "Russian faith" (russian: русская вера, ) from earliest times became almost as known as the original "Christian faith" (russian: христианская, крестьянская вера ). Also in some contexts the term "cossack" (russian: козак, казак ) was used to denote "free" Christians of steppe origin and Russian language.


Other non-religious usages

Nominally "Christian" societies made "Christian" a default label for citizenship or for "people like us". In this context, religious or ethnic minorities can use "Christians" or "you Christians" loosely as a shorthand term for mainstream members of society who do not belong to their group - even in a thoroughly secular (though formerly Christian) society.


Demographics

As of the early 21st century,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...
has approximately 2.4 billion adherents.33.39% of 7.174 billion world population (under "People and Society") The faith represents about a third of the world's population and is the largest religion in the world. Christians have composed about 33 percent of the world's population for around 100 years. The largest Christian denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion adherents, representing half of all Christians. Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western World, where 70% are Christians. According to a 2012
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisanism in the United States, nonpartisan American think tank (referring to itself as a "fact tank") based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends s ...

Pew Research Center
survey, if current trends continue, Christianity will remain the world's largest religion by the year 2050. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. While Muslims have an average of 3.1 children per woman—the highest rate of all religious groups—Christians are second, with 2.7 children per woman. High birth rates and conversion were cited as the reason for Christian population growth. A 2015 study found that approximately 10.2 million Muslims converted to Christianity. Christianity is growing in Africa, Asia, the Muslim world,Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census
/ref> and Oceania.


Socioeconomics

According to a study from 2015, Christians hold the largest amount of wealth (55% of the total world wealth), followed by Muslims (5.8%), Hindus (3.3%) and Jews (1.1%). According to the same study it was found that adherents under the classification Irreligion or other religions hold about 34.8% of the total global wealth. A study done by the nonpartisan wealth research firm New World Wealth found that 56.2% of the 13.1 million millionaires in the world were Christians. A Pew Center study about Religiosity and education, religion and education around the world in 2016, found that Christians ranked as the second most educated religious group around in the world after Jews with an average of 9.3 years of schooling, and the highest numbers of years of schooling among Christians were found in Germany (13.6), New Zealand (13.5) and Estonia (13.1). Christians were also found to have the second highest number of Academic degree, graduate and post-graduate degrees per capita while in absolute numbers ranked in the first place (220 million). Between the various World Christianity, Christian communities, Singapore outranks other nations in terms of Christians who obtain a university degree in institutions of higher education (67%), followed by the Christianity in Israel, Christians of Israel (63%), and the Christianity in Georgia (country), Christians of Georgia (57%). According to the study, Christians in North America,
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

Europe
,
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organi ...

Middle East
,
North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in the west, to Egypt's ...

North Africa
and Asia Pacific regions are highly educated since many of the world's universities were built by the historic Christian denominations, in addition to the historical evidence that "Christian monks built libraries and, in the days before printing presses, preserved important earlier writings produced in Latin, Greek and Arabic". According to the same study, Christians have a significant amount of gender equality in educational attainment, and the study suggests that one of the reasons is the encouragement of the Protestant Reformers in promoting the education of women, which led to the eradication of illiteracy among females in Protestant communities.


Persecution

In 2017, Open Doors estimated approximately 260 million Christians are subjected annually to "high, very high, or extreme persecution"Weber, Jeremy. "'Worst year yet': the top 50 countries where it's hardest to be a Christian".
''Christianity Today''. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
with North Korea considered the most hazardous nation for Christians.Enos, Olivia. "North Korea is the world's worst persecutor of Christians".
''Forbes''. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
In 2019, a reportMounstephen, Philip. "Interim report".
''Bishop of Truro's Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians''. April 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
commissioned by the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to investigate global persecution of Christians found persecution has increased, and is highest in the Middle East, North Africa, India, China, North Korea, and Latin America, among others, and that it is global and not limited to Islamic states.Mounstephen, Philip. "Final Report and Recommendations".
''Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro's Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians''. July 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians.


See also

* Christendom * Conversion to Christianity * Cultural Christian * Early Christianity * List of Christian denominations * List of Christian denominations by number of members * List of Christian synonyms * List of religions and spiritual traditions * List of religious organizations * Lists of Christians


References


Bibliography

Etymology * (from which page numbers are cited) also available in * {{Authority control Christians, Christian terminology New Testament Greek words and phrases Religious identity