12 September 2016

Christians: A Spotter's Guide

Christians can be divided into 5 families: the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. 
Although the first two are theologically distinct, they have less than 100 million members between them, so nobody really cares. 
The Eastern Orthodox Church has 300 million members, but isn’t that interesting from a spotter’s perspective as its various species usually have boring, self-explanatory names such as the Russian Orthodox Church or the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Be aware though, if you are keeping individuals from the Eastern Orthodox Church in a caged habitat they are prone to fight when placed in close proximity. 
While Catholicism is massive, with 1.2 billion followers, species are generally small and mostly concerned with variations on the liturgies used in different countries, usually based on slightly different scriptures or using a local language to the standard ‘Catholic’ rituals. 
For the dedicated spotter, Protestantism is the equivalent of the Brazilian rainforest. Why not try your luck against the following list of the most common, easiest to spot species:

Lutherans: the whole reason there are Protestants. Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in 1517 with his whacked out ideas – basically that scripture, and not the Catholic Church, is the final authority on matters of faith.

Calvinists: Split from the Lutherans because they don’t believe that Jesus Christ is actually in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Presbyterians: Calvinists from Scotland.

Baptists: don’t baptise babies because babies don’t know what’s going on. If you want to get baptised you have to ask.

Anabaptists: same as the Baptists but they came up with the idea separately.

Anglicans: basically the broader name for the Church of England. It started when Henry VIII renounced papal authority so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon in 1533. It incorporated elements of both Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation via acts of parliament in 1558 and 1559. 

Methodists: split from the Anglicans because they don’t believe that all events have been willed by God.

Pentecostals: emerged from Methodism. They believe that the Bible is literally true and in such things as divine healing and speaking in tongues.

Quakers: Split from the Anglicans. They believe that you can access God directly. No priests are required as intermediaries.

Seventh Day Adventists: grew out of the Millerites (who grew out of the Baptists). Jesus is coming back in the very near future and Saturday, not Sunday, is the proper holy day.

Mormons: believe God revealed himself to Joseph Smith. Smith published the Book of Mormon in 1830 as a complement to the Bible.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: look back to the early church. Believe Armageddon is just around the corner.


Unitarians: believe there’s just one God, not a trinity.



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