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Just three-in-ten say there is no higher power in the universe. But young adults are far less likely than their older counterparts to say they believe in God as described in the Bible. The survey also shows that, compared with older adults, those under age 50 generally view God as less powerful and less involved in earthly affairs than do older Americans. At the same time, however, young adults are somewhat more likely than their elders to say they believe that they personally have been punished by God or a higher power in the universe. Among U. The data also show that, compared with those with lower levels of educational attainment, college graduates are less likely to believe that God or another higher power in the universe is active and involved in the world and in their personal lives.

And just one-third of college graduates say God determines all or most of what happens in their lives, far below the share who say this among those with less education. Republicans and Democrats have very different notions about God. Republicans also are more likely than Democrats to say God has protected, rewarded or punished them see Chapter 2.

Among Democrats, the survey finds big differences between whites and nonwhites in views about God. Most nonwhite Democrats, who are predominantly black or Hispanic, say they believe in God as described in the Bible, and seven-in-ten or more say they believe God is all-loving, all-knowing or all-powerful, with two-thirds ascribing all of these attributes to God.

In these ways, nonwhite Democrats have more in common with Republicans than they do with white Democrats. And just one-in-three white Democrats say they believe God or another higher power in the universe is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.

Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. A note on trends in belief in God. Why, then, is this an opportune moment for a new survey exploring American beliefs about God? In this report, Protestants are categorized into one of three traditions the evangelical Protestant tradition, the mainline Protestant tradition or the historically black Protestant tradition based, as much as possible, on their denominational affiliation.

Pagination Next: 1. Beliefs about the nature of God 2. Related Fact Tank Apr 25, Publications Nov 3, Publications Jul 16, Publications May 12, Interactives May 12, Artistic depictions of God the Father were uncontroversial in Catholic art thereafter, but less common depictions of the Trinity were condemned.

In Pope Benedict XIV explicitly supported the Throne of Mercy depiction, referring to the "Ancient of Days", but in it was still necessary for Pope Pius VI to issue a papal bull condemning the decision of an Italian church council to remove all images of the Trinity from churches. God the Father is symbolized in several Genesis scenes in Michelangelo 's Sistine Chapel ceiling , most famously The Creation of Adam whose image of near touching hands of God and Adam is iconic of humanity, being a reminder that Man is created in the Image and Likeness of God Gen God the Father is depicted as a powerful figure, floating in the clouds in Titian's Assumption of the Virgin in the Frari of Venice , long admired as a masterpiece of High Renaissance art.

In some of these paintings the Trinity is still alluded to in terms of three angels, but Giovanni Battista Fiammeri also depicted God the Father as a man riding on a cloud, above the scenes. In both the Last Judgment and the Coronation of the Virgin paintings by Rubens he depicted God the Father using the image that by then had become widely accepted, a bearded patriarchal figure above the fray. While representations of God the Father were growing in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Low Countries, there was resistance elsewhere in Europe, even during the 17th century. In most members of the Star Chamber court in England except the Archbishop of York condemned the use of the images of the Trinity in church windows, and some considered them illegal.

In the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list, [65] [66] mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons.

However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece , Romania , and other Orthodox countries.

God is Not a Christian – Br. Nicholas Bartoli – SSJE

The Christian characterization of the relationship between God and humanity involves the notion of the "Kingship of God", whose origins go back to the Old Testament, and may be seen as a consequence of the creation of the world by God. The term " Kingdom of God " does not appear in the Old Testament, although "his Kingdom" and "your Kingdom" are used in some cases when referring to God. France points out that while the concept of "Kingdom of God" has an intuitive meaning to lay Christians, there is hardly any agreement among scholars about its meaning in the New Testament.

Interpretations of the term Kingdom of God have given rise to wide-ranging eschatological debates among scholars with diverging views, yet no consensus has emerged among scholars. By the middle of the 20th century realized eschatology which in contrast viewed the Kingdom as non-apocalyptic but as the manifestation of divine sovereignty over the world realized by the ministry of Jesus had gathered a scholarly following. Hebrews refers to "God the Judge of all" and the notion that all humans will eventually " be judged " is an essential element of Christian teachings.

A number of gospel passages warn against sin and suggest a path of righteousness to avoid the judgement of God. In early Christianity , the concept of salvation was closely related to the invocation of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit". The term "Trinity" does not explicitly appear in the Bible , but Trinitarians believe the concept as later developed is consistent with biblical teachings.

The general concept was expressed in early writings from the beginning of the 2nd century forward, with Irenaeus writing in his Against Heresies Book I Chapter X : [78]. Around AD in Adversus Praxeas chapter 3 Tertullian provided a formal representation of the concept of the Trinity , i. Tertullian also discussed how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The First Council of Nicaea in AD and later the First Council of Constantinople in AD defined the dogma "in its simplest outlines in the face of pressing heresies " and the version used thereafter dates to Bernhard Lohse states that the doctrine of the Trinity does not go back to non-Christian sources such as Plato or Hinduism and that all attempts at suggesting such connections have floundered.

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Don’t All Good People Go to Heaven?

The doctrine of the Trinity is considered by most Christians to be a core tenet of their faith. Strictly speaking, the doctrine is a mystery that can "neither be known by unaided human reason", nor "cogently demonstrated by reason after it has been revealed"; even so "it is not contrary to reason" being "not incompatible with the principles of rational thought".

The doctrine was expressed at length in the 4th-century Athanasian Creed of which the following is an extract: [19] [20]. We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The 20th century witnessed an increased theological focus on the doctrine of the Trinity, partly due to the efforts of Karl Barth in his fourteen volume Church Dogmatics.

The emergence of Trinitarian theology of God the Father in early Christianity was based on two key ideas: first the shared identity of the Yahweh of the Old Testament and the God of Jesus in the New Testament , and then the self-distinction and yet the unity between Jesus and his Father.

The concept of fatherhood of God does appear in the Old Testament, but is not a major theme. The paternal view of God as the Father extends beyond Jesus to his disciples, and the entire Church, as reflected in the petitions Jesus submitted to the Father for his followers at the end of the Farewell Discourse , the night before his crucifixion.

In Trinitarian theology, God the Father is the "arche" or "principium" beginning , the "source" or "origin" of both the Son and the Holy Spirit, and is considered the eternal source of the Godhead. The Son is eternally born from God the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father, [26] [96] and, in the Western tradition, also from the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, Father is one with, co-equal to, co-eternal, and con-substantial with the Son and the Holy Spirit, each Person being the one eternal God and in no way separated, who is the creator: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent.

Trinitarians believe that God the Father is not pantheistic , in that he is not viewed as identical to the universe, but exists outside of creation, as its Creator. Since early Christianity , a number of titles have been attributed to Jesus, including, Messiah Christ and the Son of God. The narrative of the gospels place significant emphasis on the death of Jesus, devoting about one third of the text to just seven days, namely the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem. The two Christological concerns as to how Jesus could be truly God while preserving faith in the existence of one God and how the human and the divine could be combined in one person were fundamental concerns from well before the First Council of Nicaea The Chalcedonian Creed of , accepted by the majority of Christians, holds that Jesus is God incarnate and " true God and true man " or both fully divine and fully human.

Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin.

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As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. More recently, discussions of the theological issues related to God the Son and its role in the Trinity were addressed in the 20th century in the context of a "Trinity-based" perspective on divine revelation. In mainstream Christianity , the Holy Spirit is one of the three divine persons of the Holy Trinity who make up the single substance of God; that is, the Spirit is considered to act in concert with and share an essential nature with God the Father and God the Son Jesus.

The Holy Spirit's presence was especially felt following the ascension of Christ, although not to the exclusion of an early presence as attested by the Old Testament and throughout the New Testament.


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In Christian theology Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith.


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The Holy Spirit enables Christian life by dwelling in the individual believers and enables them to live a righteous and faithful life. He acts to convince unredeemed persons both of the sinfulness of their actions and thoughts, and of their moral standing as sinners before God. In Eastern Orthodox theology , essence of God being that which is beyond human comprehension and can not be defined or approached by human understanding. Most Protestant denominations and other traditions arising since the Protestant Reformation , hold general Trinitarian beliefs and theology regarding God the Father similar to that of Roman Catholicism.

This includes churches arising from Anglicanism , Baptist , Methodism , Lutheranism and Presbyterianism. Some Christian traditions reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and are called nontrinitarian.

So is God a Christian?

Nontrinitarianism goes back to the early centuries of Christian history and groups such as the Arians , Ebionites , Gnostics , and others. The Nicene Creed raised the issue of the relationship between Jesus' divine and human natures. While the Witnesses acknowledge Christ's pre-existence, perfection, and unique "Sonship" with God the Father, and believe that Christ had an essential role in creation and redemption, and is the Messiah, they believe that only the Father is without beginning.

In the theology of God in Mormonism , the most prominent conception of God is the Godhead, a divine council of three distinct beings: Elohim the Father , Jehovah the Son, or Jesus , and the Holy Spirit. The Father and Son are considered to have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Spirit has a body of spirit.