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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 ...

Christianity
, 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 Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...
. 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 nonpartisan Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's el ...

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'' ...

Americas
, about 26% live in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

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 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
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. ...

Pacific
, and 1% live in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
and
North Africa North Africa or Northern 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 th ...

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 r ...

Catholic
, while more than a third are
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
(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 ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical term that commonly refers to the region spanning the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia (including modern Turkey and Cyprus), Egypt, Iran and Iraq. The term came in ...
, 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 ...

BBC News
''. 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 ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

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 , a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ', , and of a originated in , and in the , in which a ''mashiach'' is a king or traditionally with . ''Ha mashiach'' (), often referred to as ' ...
), 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 A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' 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 Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
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 ...

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) ...
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 ...

Polycarp
onwards. The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century and military leader, best known for ', who was born in —then part of —to a father of descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He initially fought a ...
, 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 Classi ...
, 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 and the documentation of the past. Events before the History ...
'' he relates that "by vulgar appellation hey werecommonly called Christians" and identifies Christians as
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

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 The Circus Maximus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a cla ...
.


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 Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

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, ''Nāṣəraṯ''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest Cities in Israel, city in the Northern District (Israel), Northern District of Israel. Nazareth i ...

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 Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has ...
, 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 (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. Through the power of the ...
, the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
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, supreme being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with ''deism'', the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism (a ...
, the
historicity of Jesus The question of the historicity of Jesus is part of the study of the historical Jesus The term "historical Jesus" refers to the reconstruction of the life and teachings of Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Y ...
, 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 Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in re ...
through faith in Jesus, and
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
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 and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

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 surrounding the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret).The New Testament notes that the Apostle Saint Peter, Peter's accent ...

Galilean
village of
Nazareth Nazareth ( ; ar, النَّاصِرَة, ''an-Nāṣira''; he, נָצְרַת, ''Nāṣəraṯ''; arc, ܢܨܪܬ, ''Naṣrath'') is the largest Cities in Israel, city in the Northern District (Israel), Northern District of Israel. Nazareth i ...

Nazareth
, today in northern Israel. Adherents of
Messianic Judaism Messianic Judaism ( he, יהדות משיחית ; יַהֲדוּת מְשִׁיחִית, yahadút mešiḥít ; Yahadut Meshikhit) is a label attached in recent years to a wide spectrum of modern religious movementVarious sociological classifica ...
are referred to in modern Hebrew as יְהוּדִים מְשִׁיחִיִּים (''Yehudim Meshihi'im''—"Messianic Jews").


Arabic terms

In , 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, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
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 ...

Crusaders
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 whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

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 Syriac language, Syrian Christians of India, ''Marthoma Nasrani'', ''Malankara Nasrani'', or ''Nasrani Mappila'', are an Ethnoreligious group, ethno-religious community of Indian Christians in the state 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 Weste ...
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 Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
. In the
Indonesian language Indonesian (, ) is the official language of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-E ...

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 The Japanese term , from Portuguese ''cristão'' (cf. Kristang), meaning "Christian", referred to Catholic Christians in Japanese and is used in Japanese texts as a historiographic term for Catholics in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. ...
'' (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 The Tokugawa shogunate (, Japanese 徳川幕府 ''Tokugawa bakufu''), also known as the , was the military government {{Systems of government Military dictatorships A military government is generally any government A government is th ...

Tokugawa shogunate
. Today, Christians are referred to in
Standard Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic languages, Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan languages, Ryukyuan) language family, and its ultimate ...
as () or the English-derived term (). Korean still uses ( RR: ) for "Christian", though the Portuguese loanword ( RR: ) now replaced the old Sino-Korean ( RR: ), which refers to Christ himself. In Thailand, the most common terms are ( RTGS: ) or ( RTGS: ) which literally means "Christ person/people" or "Jesus person/people". The Thai word ( RTGS: ) is derived from "Christ". In the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, the most common terms are ' (for "Christian") and ''Kristiyanismo'' (for "Christianity") in most
Philippine languages The Philippine languages are a proposed group by R. David Paul Zorc (1986) and Robert Blust Robert A. Blust (born 1940, ) is a prominent linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system ...
; both derives from Spanish ' and ' (also used in
Chavacano Chavacano or Chabacano is a group of varieties spoken in the . The variety spoken in , located in the southern Philippine island group of Mindanao, has the highest concentration of speakers. Other currently existing varieties are found in Cavit ...

Chavacano
) due to the country's rich history of early Christianity during the Spanish colonial era. Some Protestants in the Philippines uses the term ' (before the term "
born again Born again, or to experience the new birth, is a phrase, particularly in evangelicalism Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestant C ...
" became popular) to differentiate themselves from
Catholics 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 ...
(''Katoliko'').


Russian terms

The region of modern Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former
Soviet bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
) 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 The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
- Christians already lived there. Later the region saw the first states to adopt Christianity officially - initially
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
(301 AD) and
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
(337 AD), later
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...
( 864) and the Great Russian Principality ( rus, Великое княжество Русское, ) or
Kyivan Rus Kievan Rus' or Kyivan Rus' ( orv, Роусь, Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") was a loose federationJohn Channon & Robert Hudson, ''Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia'' (Penguin, 1995), p.16. of East Slavs, East Slavic and Finno-Ugric peoples, Finno- ...
( 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 The Cossacks * russian: казаки́ or * be, казакi * pl, Kozacy * cs, kozáci * sk, kozáci * hu, kozákok, cazacii * fi, Kasakat, cazacii * et, Kasakad, cazacii are a group of predominantly East Slavic languages, East Slav ...
" (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 ...

Christianity
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 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 ...

Roman Catholic Church
, with 1.3 billion adherents, representing half of all Christians. Christianity remains the dominant religion in the
Western World The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
, where 70% are Christians. According to a 2012
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's el ...

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
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
s
converted to Christianity Christianization ( or Christianisation) is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and througho ...
. Christianity is growing in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
, Asia, the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...

Muslim world
,Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census
/ref> and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
.


Socioeconomics

According to a study from 2015, Christians hold the largest amount of wealth (55% of the total world wealth), followed by
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
(5.8%),
Hindus Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...
(3.3%) and
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
(1.1%). According to the same study it was found that adherents under the classification
Irreligion Irreligion or nonreligion is the absence or rejection of religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precise ...

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 religion and education around the world in 2016, found that Christians ranked as the second most educated religious group around in the
world In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the world ...

world
after
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
with an average of 9.3 years of schooling, and the highest numbers of years of schooling among Christians were found in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
(13.6),
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
(13.5) and
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
(13.1). Christians were also found to have the second highest number of
graduate Graduate refers to someone who has been the subject of a graduation, namely, someone who has completed the requirements of an academic degree. Education * Graduate, an alumnus * Graduate diploma, generally a postgraduate qualification, although ...
and
post-graduate Postgraduate education (graduate education in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of th ...
degrees per capita while in absolute numbers ranked in the first place (220 million). Between the various
Christian communities Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe th ...
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
outranks other nations in terms of Christians who obtain a university degree in institutions of
higher education Higher education is tertiary education Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge ...
(67%), followed by the Christians of Israel (63%), and the Christians of Georgia (57%). According to the study, Christians in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
,
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
,
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern 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 th ...

North Africa
and
Asia Pacific The Asia-Pacific is the part of the world In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in dif ...
regions are highly educated since many of the world's
universities A university () is an of (or ) and which awards s in several . Universities typically offer both and programs in different schools or faculties of learning. The word ''university'' is derived from the ''universitas magistrorum et scholari ...
were built by the historic
Christian denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
, 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 Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...

gender equality
in educational attainment, and the study suggests that one of the reasons is the encouragement of the
Protestant Reformers Protestant Reformers were those theologians whose careers, works and actions brought about the Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within W ...
in promoting the
education of women Female education is a catch-all term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education (primary education Primary education is typically the first stage of formal education, coming after preschool and before secondary school. Primar ...
, which led to the eradication of illiteracy among females in Protestant communities.


Persecution

In 2017,
Open Doors Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in the world. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and Christian literature, give discipleship training and provide practical support, such as emergency ...
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 ''Christianity Today'' magazine is an evangelical Evangelicalism (), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the e ...
''. 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 ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family The Forbes family is one of the Boston Brahmins—a wealthy extended American family long prominent in Boston, Massachusett ...

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 of the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is a Departments of the United Kingdom Government, department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It was created on 2 September 2020 through the merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Of ...
(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".
'' 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 Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian state A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the ...
*
Conversion to Christianity Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis''), an episode of the television series * "The Conversion" ...
*
Cultural Christian Cultural Christians are nonreligious persons who adhere to Christian valuesChristian values historically refers to value (personal and cultural), values derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ (title), Christ. The term has various applicatio ...
*
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
*
List of Christian denominations A Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct Religion, religious body within Christianity that comprises all Church (congregation), church congregations of the same kind, identifiable by traits such as a name, peculiar hist ...
*
List of Christian denominations by number of members A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname)List or Liste is a European surname. Notable people with the surname include: List * Friedrich List (1789–1846), German economist * Garrett List (194 ...
* List of Christian synonyms *
List of religions and spiritual traditions A ''list'' is any enumeration An enumeration is a complete, ordered listing of all the items in a collection. The term is commonly used in mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity ( ...
*
List of religious organizations This is a list of religious organizations by faith. As it can be a matter of debate as to whether an organization is in fact religious, organizations only appear on this list where the organization itself claims or has claimed to be a religious or ...
*
Lists of Christians Christians 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, teac ...


References


Bibliography

Etymology * (from which page numbers are cited) also available in * {{Authority control
Christian terminology Words or phrases used to refer to concepts associated with 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 o ...
New Testament Greek words and phrases Religious identity