Diversifying Washburn’s campus by understanding Christianity

There are more than 2.1 billion Christians in the world according to religioustolerance.org, an extensive informative Web site about various religions.


With 32 percent of the world’s population, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Islam is second at 19 percent. The United States is a predominantly Christian nation with 76.5 percent or 159 million Americans identifying themselves as Christian.


The Rev. Eduardo Bousson is the campus minister for Washburn Campus Ministry, a Christian group on campus. Bousson explained that Christianity started as an offshoot of Judaism with an understanding that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Messiah prophecy.


“In the prophecies of Isaiah, the Messiah was said to bring balance to the world and free the Jewish people from the control of whatever group was oppressing them at that time,” said Bousson. “In the understanding of the prophecy, the Messiah will bring about political and economic freedom. Early Christians thought of themselves as Jewish people who had found the Messiah.”


Bousson explained that Jesus’ title was the Christ, which is Greek for “Messiah,” which is Hebrew for “anointed one.”


“Jesus was not a military leader like the Jewish people expected the Messiah to be,” said Bousson. “His intent was to establish a kingdom for all people and this caused the Jewish people to become disillusioned. He revolutionized the religious landscape and the social landscape. For the first time, people worshiped as brothers and sisters, regardless of their social ranking.”


The Christian book is called the Bible. All the books in the bible are called the Canon. The Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the Jewish books and the New Testament is made up primarily of four Gospels and the letters of the apostle Paul. The Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


The Bible was canonized in 382 CE. The Council of Trent in the 16th century determined that the Catholic Bible would have seven more Old Testament books. These seven books are called the deuterocanon, or second canon by Catholics, or the apocrypha by Protestants. It was around this time that the books of the Bible were officially decided for both Catholics and Protestants.


The basis for Christianity is the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ after he was crucified and dead for three days.


“The cross represents all that is wrong with the world,” said Bousson. “When God resurrected Jesus, it was the reversal of all the bad things. It was the reversal of fear, selfishness, sin and even eventually death. Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians that in Christ we are a new creation.”


Christians believe that through Christ’s resurrection one can truly understand the love of God. Christians also believe that Jesus will return one day to bring about a new Kingdom of God.


The Gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew discuss the Great Commandment that Christians are to live by. Essentially, this is to love God and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.


There are many denominations of Christianity. These include Catholic, many branches of Protestants, Mormons and others.