The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form; the adjective ecumenical can be applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation among Christians and their churches, whether or not the specific aim of that effort is full, visible unity. The terms ecumenism and ecumenical come from the Greek οἰκουμένη, which means "the whole inhabited world", was used with specific reference to the Roman Empire; the ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church and the "whole inhabited earth" as the concern of all Christians. In Christianity the qualification ecumenical is used in terms such as "ecumenical council" and "Ecumenical Patriarch" in the meaning of pertaining to the totality of the larger Church rather than being restricted to one of its constituent local churches or dioceses.
Used in this original sense, the term carries no connotation of re-uniting the separated Christian denominations, but presumes a unity of local congregations in a worldwide communion. The word was used in the context of large ecumenical councils that were organized under the auspices of Roman Emperors to clarify matters of Christian theology and doctrine; these "Ecumenical Councils" brought together bishops from around the inhabited world as they knew it at the time. There were a total of seven ecumenical councils accepted by both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism held before the Great Schism. Thus, the modern meaning of the words ecumenical and ecumenism derives from this pre-modern sense of Christian unity, the impulse to recreate this unity again. There are a variety of different expectations of what that Christian unity looks like, how it is brought about, what ecumenical methods ought to be engaged, what both short- and long-term objectives of the ecumenical movement should be. Ecumenism and nondenominational or post denominational movements are not the same thing.
If ecumenism is the quest for Christian unity, it must be understood what the divisions are which must be overcome. Christianity has not been a monolithic faith since the first century or Apostolic Age, if and today there exists a large variety of groups that share a common history and tradition within and without mainstream Christianity. Christianity is the largest religion in the world and the various divisions have commonalities and differences in tradition, church government and language; the world's 2.2 billion Christians are visibly divided into different communions or denominations, groupings of Christians and their churches that are in full communion with one another, but to some degree exclusive of other Christians. The exact number of these denominations is disputed, based on differing definitions used; the largest number quoted is "approximately 45,000" from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The World Christian Encyclopedia lists "approximately 33,000" in 2001.
Yet, at the same time, the World Council of Churches counts only 348 member churches, representing more than half a billion members. This, with the Catholic Church's 1.25 billion Christians, indicates that 349 churches/denominations account for nearly 80% of the world's Christian population. One problem with the larger numbers is. For example, the Catholic Church is a single church, or communion, comprising 24 distinct self-governing particular churches in full communion with the bishop of Rome. Further, the Catholic Church presence in each country is counted as a different denomination—though this is in no way an ecclesiologically accurate definition; this can result in the one Catholic Church being counted as 242 distinct denominations, as in the World Christian Encyclopedia. Additionally, single nondenominational congregations or megachurches without denominational affiliation are counted each as its own denomination, resulting in cases where entire "denominations" may account for only a handful of people.
Other denominations may be small remnants of once larger churches. The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing have only two full members, for example, yet are a distinct denomination. Most current divisions are the result of historical schisms—a break in the full communion between united Churches, bishops, or communities; some historical schisms proved temporary and were healed, others have hardened into the denominations of today. However individual denominations are counted, it is acknowledged that they fall into the following major "families" of churches: The Catholic Church; some of these families are in themselves a single communion, such as the Catholic Church. Other families are a general movement wit
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Different characteristics tend to exist within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination and other sources of genetic variation. Evolution occurs when evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift act on this variation, resulting in certain characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population, it is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules. The scientific theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in the mid-19th century and was set out in detail in Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. Evolution by natural selection was first demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can survive.
This is followed by three observable facts about living organisms: 1) traits vary among individuals with respect to their morphology and behaviour, 2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction and 3) traits can be passed from generation to generation. Thus, in successive generations members of a population are more to be replaced by the progenies of parents with favourable characteristics that have enabled them to survive and reproduce in their respective environments. In the early 20th century, other competing ideas of evolution such as mutationism and orthogenesis were refuted as the modern synthesis reconciled Darwinian evolution with classical genetics, which established adaptive evolution as being caused by natural selection acting on Mendelian genetic variation. All life on Earth shares a last universal common ancestor that lived 3.5–3.8 billion years ago. The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite, to microbial mat fossils, to fossilised multicellular organisms.
Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped by repeated formations of new species, changes within species and loss of species throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Morphological and biochemical traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, can be used to reconstruct phylogenetic trees. Evolutionary biologists have continued to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses as well as constructing theories based on evidence from the field or laboratory and on data generated by the methods of mathematical and theoretical biology, their discoveries have influenced not just the development of biology but numerous other scientific and industrial fields, including agriculture and computer science. The proposal that one type of organism could descend from another type goes back to some of the first pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander and Empedocles; such proposals survived into Roman times. The poet and philosopher Lucretius followed Empedocles in his masterwork De rerum natura.
In contrast to these materialistic views, Aristotelianism considered all natural things as actualisations of fixed natural possibilities, known as forms. This was part of a medieval teleological understanding of nature in which all things have an intended role to play in a divine cosmic order. Variations of this idea became the standard understanding of the Middle Ages and were integrated into Christian learning, but Aristotle did not demand that real types of organisms always correspond one-for-one with exact metaphysical forms and gave examples of how new types of living things could come to be. In the 17th century, the new method of modern science rejected the Aristotelian approach, it sought explanations of natural phenomena in terms of physical laws that were the same for all visible things and that did not require the existence of any fixed natural categories or divine cosmic order. However, this new approach was slow to take root in the biological sciences, the last bastion of the concept of fixed natural types.
John Ray applied one of the more general terms for fixed natural types, "species," to plant and animal types, but he identified each type of living thing as a species and proposed that each species could be defined by the features that perpetuated themselves generation after generation. The biological classification introduced by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 explicitly recognised the hierarchical nature of species relationships, but still viewed species as fixed according to a divine plan. Other naturalists of this time speculated on the evolutionary change of species over time according to natural laws. In 1751, Pierre Louis Maupertuis wrote of natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms, Erasmus Darwin proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single microorganism; the first full-fledged evolutionary scheme was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's "transmutation" theory of 1809, which envisaged spontaneous generation continually producing simple forms of life that developed greater complexity in parallel lineages with an inherent progressive tendency, postulated that on a local level, these lineages adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by their use or disuse in parents.
These ideas were cond
Creationism is the religious belief that the universe and life originated "from specific acts of divine creation", as opposed to through natural processes, such as evolution. Creationism covers a spectrum of views including evolutionary creationism, but the term is used for literal creationists who reject various aspects of science, instead promote pseudoscientific beliefs. Literal creationists base their beliefs on a fundamentalist reading of religious texts, including the creation myths found in Genesis and the Quran. For young Earth creationists, these beliefs are based on a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative and rejection of the scientific theory of evolution. Literalist creationists believe that evolution cannot adequately account for the history and complexity of life on Earth; the first use of the term "creationist" to describe a proponent of creationism is found in an 1856 letter of Charles Darwin describing those who objected on religious grounds to the then-emerging science of evolution.
The basis for many creationists' beliefs is a literal or quasi-literal interpretation of the Old Testament from stories from the book of Genesis: The Genesis creation narrative describes how God brings the Universe into being in a series of creative acts over six days and places the first man and woman in a divine garden. This story is the basis of creationist biology; the Genesis flood narrative tells how God destroys the world and all life through a great flood, saving representatives of each form of life by means of Noah's ark. This forms the basis of creationist geology, better known as flood geology. A further important element is the interpretation of the Biblical chronology, the elaborate system of life-spans, "generations," and other means by which the Bible measures the passage of events from the creation to the Book of Daniel, the last biblical book in which it appears. Recent decades have seen attempts to recast it as science. There are non-Christian forms of creationism, notably Islamic creationism and Hindu creationism.
Several attempts have been made to categorize the different types of creationism, create a "taxonomy" of creationists. Creationism covers a spectrum of beliefs which have been categorized into the general types listed below. Young Earth creationists such as Ken Ham and Doug Phillips believe that God created the Earth within the last ten thousand years as described in the Genesis creation narrative, within the approximate time-frame of biblical genealogies. Most young Earth creationists believe. A few assign a much older age to the universe than to Earth. Creationist cosmologies give the universe an age consistent with the Ussher chronology and other young Earth time frames. Other young Earth creationists believe that the Earth and the universe were created with the appearance of age, so that the world appears to be much older than it is, that this appearance is what gives the geological findings and other methods of dating the Earth and the universe their much longer timelines; the Christian organizations Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society both promote young Earth creationism in the US.
Another organization with similar views, Answers in Genesis —based in both the U. S. and the United Kingdom—has opened the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, to promote young Earth creationism. Creation Ministries International promotes young Earth views in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the US, the UK. Among Roman Catholics, the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation promotes similar ideas. In 2007, Ken Ham founded the Creation Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event described in the Book of Genesis is to be taken figuratively; this group believes that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of modern evolutionary theory are questionable. Old Earth creationism itself comes in at least three types: Gap creationism called "restoration creationism," holds that life was created on a pre-existing old Earth; this version of creationism relies on a particular interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2.
It is considered that the words formless and void in fact denote waste and ruin, taking into account the original Hebrew and other places these words are used in the Old Testament. Genesis 1:1–2 is translated: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." "And the earth was without form, void. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."Thus, the six days of creation start sometime after the Earth was "without form and void." This allows an indefinite "gap" of time to be inserted after the original creation of the universe, but prior to the creation according to Genesis. Gap theorists can therefore agree with the scientific consensus regarding the age of the Earth and universe, while maintaining a literal interpretation of the biblical text; some gap creationists expand the basic version of creationism by proposing a "primordial creation" of biological life within the "gap" of time. This is thought to be "the world that was" mentioned in 2 Peter 3:3–7. Discoveries of fossils and archaeological ruins older than 10,000 years are ascribed to this "
New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis as a result of its eclectic structure. Although analytically considered to be religious, those involved in it prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body and use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist; as a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, Theosophy and the European Lebensreform movement. A number of mid-twentieth century influences, such as the UFO religions of the 1950s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, the Human Potential Movement exerted a strong influence on the early development of the New Age.
The exact origins of the phenomenon remain contested, but there is general agreement that it developed in the 1970s, at which time it was centred in the United Kingdom. It expanded and grew in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular within the United States. By the start of the 21st century, the term "New Age" was rejected within this milieu, with some scholars arguing that the New Age phenomenon had ended. Despite its eclectic nature, a number of beliefs found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self; this is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate through the form of channeling. Viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name.
There is a strong focus on healing using forms of alternative medicine, an emphasis on a New Age approach to science that seeks to unite science and spirituality. Centred in Western countries, those involved in the New Age have been from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds; the degree to which New Agers are involved in the milieu varied from those who adopted a number of New Age ideas and practices to those who embraced and dedicated their lives to it. The New Age has generated criticism from established Christian organisations as well as modern Pagan and indigenous communities. From the 1990s onward, the New Age became the subject of research by academic scholars of religious studies; the New Age phenomenon has proved difficult to define, with much scholarly disagreement as to its scope. The scholars Steven J. Sutcliffe and Ingvild Sælid Gilhus have suggested that it remains "among the most disputed of categories in the study of religion"; the scholar of religion Paul Heelas characterised the New Age as "an eclectic hotch-potch of beliefs and ways of life" that can be identified as a singular phenomenon through their use of "the same lingua franca to do with the human condition and how it can be transformed."
The historian of religion Olav Hammer termed it "a common denominator for a variety of quite divergent contemporary popular practices and beliefs" that have emerged since the late 1970s and are "largely united by historical links, a shared discourse and an air de famille". According to Hammer, this New Age was a "fluid and fuzzy cultic milieu"; the sociologist of religion Michael York described the New Age as "an umbrella term that includes a great variety of groups and identities" that are united by their "expectation of a major and universal change being founded on the individual and collective development of human potential."The scholar of religion Wouter Hanegraaff adopted a different approach by asserting that "New Age" was "a label attached indiscriminately to whatever seems to fit it" and that as a result it "means different things to different people". He thus argued against the idea that the New Age could be considered "a unified ideology or Weltanschauung", although he believed that it could be considered a "more or less unified'movement'."
Other scholars have suggested. The scholar of religion George D. Chryssides called it "a counter-cultural Zeitgeist", while the sociologist of religion Steven Bruce suggested that New Age was a milieu. There is no central authority within the New Age phenomenon that can determine what counts as New Age and what does not. Many of those groups and individuals who could analytically be categorised as part of the New Age reject the term "New Age" in reference to themselves; some express active hostility to the term. Rather than terming themselves "New Agers", those involved in this milieu describe themselves as spiritual "seekers", some self-identify as a member of a different religious group, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. In 2003 Sutcliffe observed that the use of the term "New Age" was "op
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, hierarchy and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity; the more extreme elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were". The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time, thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.
Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s. According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959: "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself". In contrast to the tradition-based definition of conservatism, some political theorists such as Corey Robin define conservatism in terms of a general defense of social and economic inequality. From this perspective, conservatism is less an attempt to uphold traditional institutions and more, "a meditation on—and theoretical rendition of—the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, trying to win it back". Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy.
Individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation. Liberal conservatism is a variant of conservatism, influenced by liberal stances; as these latter two terms have had different meanings over time and across countries, liberal conservatism has a wide variety of meanings. The term referred to the combination of economic liberalism, which champions laissez-faire markets, with the classical conservatism concern for established tradition, respect for authority and religious values, it contrasted itself with classical liberalism, which supported freedom for the individual in both the economic and social spheres. Over time, the general conservative ideology in many countries adopted economic liberal arguments and the term liberal conservatism was replaced with conservatism.
This is the case in countries where liberal economic ideas have been the tradition such as the United States and are thus considered conservative. In other countries where liberal conservative movements have entered the political mainstream, such as Italy and Spain, the terms liberal and conservative may be synonymous; the liberal conservative tradition in the United States combines the economic individualism of the classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism. A secondary meaning for the term liberal conservatism that has developed in Europe is a combination of more modern conservative views with those of social liberalism; this has developed as an opposition to the more collectivist views of socialism. This involves stressing what are now conservative views of free market economics and belief in individual responsibility, with social liberal views on defence of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. In continental Europe, this is sometimes translated into English as social conservatism.
Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism that combines liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or more the right-wing of the liberal movement. The roots of conservative liberalism are found at the beginning of the history of liberalism; until the two World Wars, in most European countries the political class was formed by conservative liberals, from Germany to Italy. Events after World War I brought the more radical version of classical liberalism to a more conservative type of liberalism. Libertarian conservatism describes certain political ideologies within the United States and Canada which combine libertarian economic issues with aspects of conservatism, its four main branches are constitutionalism, paleolibertarianism, small government conservatism and Christian libertarianism. They differ from paleoconservatives, in that they are in favor of more personal and economic freedom. Agorists such as Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled libertarian conservatism right-libertarianism.
In contrast to paleoconservatives, libertarian conservatives support strict laissez-faire policies such as free trade, opposition to any national bank and opposition to business regulations. They are vehemently opposed to environmental regulations, corporate welfare and other areas of economic intervention. Many conservatives in the United States, be
Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach. While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance; the term "Christian" is used as an adjective to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense "all, noble, good, Christ-like."According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. 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. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the Americas, about 26% live in Europe, 24% live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 13% live in Asia and the Pacific, 1% live in the Middle East and North Africa.
About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic. Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. Christians make up the majority of the population in territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. Christians have made noted contributions to a range of fields, including the sciences, politics and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000 reveals that of Nobel Prizes laureates identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference; the Greek word Χριστιανός, meaning "follower of Christ", comes from Χριστός, meaning "anointed one", with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, meaning " anointed." In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.
The abbreviations Xian and Xtian have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634-38 diary. The word Xmas uses a similar contraction; the first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, after Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says: " the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers: "Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. 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 becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.
The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include Josephus, referring to "the tribe of Christians, so named from him. In the Annals he relates that "by vulgar appellation called Christians" and identifies Christians as Nero's scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome. Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "Nazarenes". Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Math 2:23, while Saul-Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5; the latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth. The term Nazarene was used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus which records that "the Jews call us Nazarenes." While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, that in earlier centuries "Christians" were once called "Nazarenes". The Hebrew equivalent of "Nazarenes", occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian. A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian.
Denominations 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, although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists, 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 attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that "Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united