Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning "without" and gnosis, "knowledge", translating to unknowable) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly theological claims regarding metaphysics, afterlife or the existence of God, god(s), or deities—is unknown or (possibly) inherently unknowable.
Agnostics claim either that it is not possible to have absolute or certain knowledge or, alternatively, that while certainty may be possible, they personally have no knowledge. Agnosticism in both cases involves some form of skepticism.
Demographic research services normally list agnostics alongside categories such as atheist and non-religious, although this is misleading, since religious people can be agnostic (indicating a lack of absolute certainty, therefore treating their religion as a faith).
Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of any deities. It is contrasted with theism, the belief in a God or gods. Atheism is commonly defined as the positive belief that deities do not exist, or as the deliberate rejection of theism. However, others—including most atheistic philosophers and groups—define atheism as the simple absence of belief in deities (cf. nontheism), thereby designating many agnostics, and people who have never heard of gods, such as newborn children, as atheists as well. In recent years, some atheists have adopted the terms strong and weak atheism to clarify whether they consider their stance one of positive belief (strong atheism) or the mere absence of belief (weak atheism).
Many self-described atheists share common skeptical concerns regarding supernatural claims, citing a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Other rationales for atheism range from the philosophical to the social to the historical. Although atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism, rationalism, and naturalism, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors that all atheists adhere to.
In Western culture, atheists are frequently assumed to be irreligious or non-spiritual. However, some religious and spiritual beliefs, such as several forms of Buddhism, have been described by outside observers as conforming to the broader, negative definition of atheism due to their lack of any participating deities. Atheism is also sometimes equated with antitheism (opposition to theism) or antireligion (opposition to religion), despite many atheists not holding such views.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents in 2001, Christianity is the world's largest religion. It is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippine Islands, Australia, and New Zealand. It is also growing rapidly in Asia, particularly in China and South Korea..
Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect, and shares many religious texts with Judaism, specifically the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament (see Judeo-Christian). Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion. Some Christians consider Christianity to have superseded Judaism, because of the conviction that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Others believe that Christianity has been grafted on to Israel, and that Judaism remains relevant as the religion of God's chosen people. The name "Christian" (Greek Χριστιανός Strong's G5546), meaning "belonging to Christ" or "partisan of Christ", was first applied to the disciples in Antioch, as recorded in Acts 11:26. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek Χριστιανισμός) is by Ignatius of Antioch.[
· 1 decade ago