Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
Homeschooling known as home education is the education of children at home or a variety of other places. Home education is conducted by a parent or tutor or online teacher. Many families use less formal ways of educating. "Homeschooling" is the term used in North America, whereas "home education" is used in the United Kingdom, in many Commonwealth countries. Before the introduction of compulsory school attendance laws, most childhood education was done by families and local communities. In many developed countries, homeschooling is a legal alternative to private schools. In other nations, homeschooling remains illegal or restricted to specific conditions, as recorded by homeschooling international status and statistics. According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, about three percent of all children in the US were homeschooled in 2011–2012 school year; the study found that 83 percent were White, 5 percent were Black, 7 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander.
As of 2016, there are about 1.7 million homeschooled students in the United States. On average, homeschoolers score above the national average on standardized tests. Homeschool students have been accepted into many Ivy League universities. For most of history and in different cultures, the education of children at home by family members was a common practice. Enlisting professional tutors was an option available only to the wealthy. Homeschooling declined in the 19th and 20th centuries with the enactment of compulsory attendance laws. But, it continued to be practiced in isolated communities. Homeschooling began a resurgence in the 1960s and 1970s with educational reformists dissatisfied with industrialized education; the earliest public schools in modern Western culture were established during the reformation with the encouragement of Martin Luther in the German states of Gotha and Thuringia in 1524 and 1527. From the 1500s to 1800s the literacy rate increased. Home education and apprenticeship continued to remain the main form of education until the 1830s.
However, in the 18th century, the majority of people in Europe lacked formal education. Since the early 19th century, formal classroom schooling became the most common means of schooling throughout the developed countries. In 1647, New England provided compulsory elementary education. Regional differences in schooling existed in colonial America. In the south and plantations were so dispersed that community schools such as those in the more compact settlements of the north were impossible. In the middle colonies, the educational situation varied. Most Native American tribal cultures traditionally used home education and apprenticeship to pass knowledge to children. Parents were supported by tribal leaders in the education of their children; the Native Americans vigorously resisted compulsory education in the United States. In the 1960s, Rousas John Rushdoony began to advocate homeschooling, which he saw as a way to combat the secular nature of the public school system in the United States, he vigorously attacked progressive school reformers such as Horace Mann and John Dewey, argued for the dismantling of the state's influence in education in three works: Intellectual Schizophrenia, The Messianic Character of American Education, The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.
Rushdoony was called as an expert witness by the Home School Legal Defense Association in court cases. He advocated the use of private schools. During this time, American educational professionals Raymond and Dorothy Moore began to research the academic validity of the growing Early Childhood Education movement; this research included independent studies by other researchers and a review of over 8,000 studies bearing on early childhood education and the physical and mental development of children. They asserted that formal schooling before ages 8–12 not only lacked the anticipated effectiveness, but harmed children; the Moores published their view that formal schooling was damaging young children academically mentally, physiologically. The Moores presented evidence that childhood problems such as juvenile delinquency, increased enrollment of students in special education classes and behavioral problems were the result of earlier enrollment of students; the Moores cited studies demonstrating that orphans who were given surrogate mothers were measurably more intelligent, with superior long-term effects – though the mothers were "mentally retarded teenagers" – and that illiterate tribal mothers in Africa produced children who were and more advanced than typical western children, "by western standards of measurement".
Their primary assertion was that the bonds and emotional development made at home with parents during these years produced critical long-term results that were cut short by enrollment in schools, could neither be replaced nor corrected in an institutional setting afterward. Recognizing a necessity for early out-of-home care for some children special needs and impoverished children and children from exceptionally inferior homes, they maintained that the vast majority of children were far better situated at home with mediocre parents, than with the most gifted and motivated teachers in a school setting, they described the difference as follows: "This is like saying, if you can help a child by taking him off the cold street and housing him in a warm tent warm tents should be provided for all children – when obviousl