Christianity in India.
Christianity is the religion founded by Jesus Christ, but it has its roots in Judaic tradition. The Church has played a key role in Christianity. It has determined the Christian worldview. It is the popular view that Christianity has a long background in India. According to traditions, Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ, landed on the coast of Kerala in 52 A.D. and set up seven churches in different areas. Then he travelled to Madras where he was martyred at Mylapore in 72 A.D. But the spread of Christianity in India, in the true sense of the terms, came with the advent of the Europeans from the early 16th century on-wards. Among the earliest missionaries were Portuguese followed by the Dutch, the French and the British along with other European and American missionaries. Initially the missionaries worked in the tribal areas and among the untouchable population, but later on spread their activities in urban areas too.
The Christians constitute the second largest religious minority in India and they are 2.34% of the total population of the country. It is one of the oldest religious minority. They are widely distributed in the country forming a sizable portion of population in several states and union territories. The Christian population reveals a strong tendency of concentration in the Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (about 56% of the Christian population live in these states). A second major concentration is seen in the North-Eastern states about 22% of the total Christian population.
Though at national level, they form around 2.5%, at state level they are in majority in three states: Nagaland (88%), Mizoram, (86%) and Meghalaya (65%). There are a few other states with a significant percentage of Christians. These are Manipur (34%), Goa (30%), Kerala (19%), Arunachal Pradesh (10%) and Tamil Nadu (6%). In Assam and Sikkim they form 3% of the state population while in the remaining states their population varies between 0.4% to 2%. The essence of Christianity is universal brotherhood, egalitarian outlook and service of the underprivileged. Through the vast network of social services, it has been able to provide educational and medical facilities to relatively isolated regions of India.
Christians believe that Jesus was born to Mary, a virgin, and that God, the father sent him to redeem man of his sins. Jesus is considered the Son of God by all Christians. Christmas, an important religious festival, marks the anniversary of Jesus birth . Celebrations are marked by attending the Church, eating festival food, wearing new clothes etc. On Good Friday, Christians mourn the crucification of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection or victory over death on the following Sunday, Easter. The Eucharist service, the central part of Christian rituals, enacts the life of Jesus.
Bible is the sacred look of the all Christians. The four Gospels (a part of the Bible) of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are read by the Christians. These constitute the memories of Jesus life. Jesus. is considered as the father, son and holy spirit and all the Christians believe in the Trinity. Jesus was sent to earth, so that man and God would become reconciled. They believe in the Day of Judgement when men are either rewarded or punished according to the life led.