Christianity is an “integrated belief system” bound by the interrelated teachings and their pivotal role regarding the attainment of salvation. The foundation of Christianity is built upon the obedience of God’s will through emulating his son – Jesus Christ. Significant people, ethics and practises among Christianity hold the common thread of Love, Death and Resurrection and salvation which emphasise their necessity towards living in accordance to God’s revelation. Hence, Paul of Tarsus’ letters, sexual ethics and Baptism all provide adherents with “distinctive answers” and thus shape and form the way adherents relate to themselves, each other and God to fulfil “enduring questions of human existence”. These questions are centred on the meaning of life, origin and adherents’ ultimate purpose – entering the Kingdom of God. While the major beliefs are shared among all variants, there are degrees of difference in regard to the interpretations these beliefs. Essentially, the components of Christianity are inextricably linked by the embodiment of love, highlighting “an integrated belief system”, thus providing “distinctive answers to the enduring questions of human existence’.
Death and resurrection and Love are common elements which hold pivotal value towards attaining salvation and the kingdom of God . It is through these components which binds sexual ethics and baptism amongst Paul of Tarsus’ teachings, thus supporting Christianity as an “integrated belief system”. Paul heavily influences and reinforces the foundational importance of love in all that an individual lives. As an apologist, he explained how Christianity should be a lived expression of its principal beliefs through his letters. In doing so, he provides adherents with “distinctive answers” regarding the fundamental Christian values including pacifism, humanitarianism and pure attention through agape. Hence, these virtues surrounding love, hold pursuit of providing a “distinctive answer” to adherents on living a righteous life by “fulfilling the law” according to God’s will. Therefore, love is a focal point which permeates all variants and essentially responds to adherents “enduring questions of human existence” in respect to the fulfillment of salvation exemplified in bounded by the common principal beliefs, that adherents truthfully understand the gravity of love and its role towards earning eternal union with God in his heavenly kingdom – the ultimate purpose and “answer” according to the “enduring questions” of a Christian life.
Subsequently, Paul further develops the following teaching of death and resurrection within his writings to emphasise the nature of God and the attributions of sacrificial love in which adherents are called to emulate. Paul of Tarsus taught that the death and resurrection of Christ was a significant turning point which not only signalled the end of the need to live by Jewish law but rather to live by Christ’s law – the commandment of love. Through coining the term ‘agape’, Paul provided adherents with These writings essentially highlight the purpose of “human existence” by demonstrating the highest form of love – sacrifice. Adherents are called to “answer” by mimicking the love of God in their daily expressions of the faith. Thus Paul promoted the idea of keeping faith in the works of God so that adherents may the notion the attainment of salvation through faith, also expressed in the quote Essentially, he clarified the meaning and implication of the death and resurrection of Jesus; to continue to live in emulation of God’s forgiving and merciful nature. Subsequently, Paul’s letters amplifying the primacy of love and the call to live in centrality to these Holistically, these overarching beliefs of love and death and resurrection amplified by Paul of Tarsus give value to the all components of Christianity giving value to an “integrated belief system ”.
Similarly, like Paul of Tarsus, Sexual ethics within Christianity helps to provide adherents with guidelines to follow an obedient and ethical life to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Sexual ethics are immensely based upon the common belief amongst all components of Christianity – Love. Thus, Christianity gives way to an “integrated belief system”, as Paul of Tarsus, Sexual ethics and baptism are bounded by the teachings of love in attainment for salvation. Christian ethics are based on the belief that humans are made in the image and likeness of God “ justifying that each being is called to respect and dignity towards themselves and others. Henceforth, the “distinctive answers” regarding “human existence” lie within sexual ethics which teaches sexuality to be love-giving and life-giving. Therefore, this practical expression is paramount towards receiving salvation and the heavenly Kingdom of God – the ultimate purpose of Christian life that fulfils the “enduring questions of human existence”. Given that sex is an integral part of human life, adherents are able to live out this gospel message of love through their relationship with each other. Adultery refers to sex outside of marriage relations which restricts the contribution to God’s plan of companionship and love. According to Paul teaches that any relation outside the Christian framework of love are immoral and dishonours God. Thus, sex is taught to be founded upon the virtues of honesty and integrity by following the context which all denominations Christian teaches; confined in a loving relationship. According to Catholicism, Evidently, it is through the “integrated” teaching of love which essentially “answers the enduring questions of human existence” regarding relations with one another in the context of marriage. Therefore, love is an overarching principle which shapes adherents understanding on the purpose of life; to faithfully relate to others with peace, justice and honour in order to bring forth the kingdom of God – Salvation.
Homosexuality is understood among some denominations to challenge the ideal of marriage and family. Majority of variants heavily emphasise sex for unity and procreation. Therefore, actions of sexual immorality, such as homosexual relations, do not display love of God but rather neglects his will and restricts adherent’s pathway to salvation. Many variants are divided over the sexual issue of homosexuality. Various Christian denominations including Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and Lutheranism refer to the Bible in order to be provided with “distinctive answers” regarding these ethical dilemmas. According to , adherents are revealed the intention behind homosexual relations – a lustful association which forbids the gift of procreation and the intentions God expounded upon. Thus, homosexuality ignores the context of right relationships decreed by God – unitive and life-giving. In doing so, adherents are taught that they This ‘abomination’ restricts the frameworks of love which Paul of Tarsus warns adherents about in Therefore, sexual ethics is threaded by the teachings of love and self-dignity. However, due to the diversity of expression, the “integrated” teaching of Love overpowers the interpretation of some denominations such as liberal protestants. This variant upholds more flexibility in regard to “answering the enduring questions” regarding human interaction. In doing so, LGBT-affirming denominations regard homosexuality as a natural occurrence and celebrate gay marriage in the right context; a loving relationship between two people. Essentially, love is a central principle common among all components of Christianity as an “integrated belief system” which holds value towards “answering enduring questions” regarding purpose, vocation and life after death in attainment for salvation.
Moreover, Baptism is yet another component of Christianity which also expounds upon core Christian beliefs including love, the nature of God and the death and resurrection of Christ. Correspondingly, Paul of Tarsus and sexual ethics incorporate these principal beliefs hence deeming Christianity as an “integrated belief system”. Baptism is a rite to mark purification, commitment and inclusion in the Christian religion, all of which are practical expression in order to reach the Kingdom of God. It is a pivotal initiation which signifies the admission of an individual into most Christian churches. Roman Catholic, Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches hold belief in infant baptism, as it holds an integral role in offering the gift of salvation – the “distinctive answer” to life’s “enduring questions”. Contrastingly, Baptism within Baptist and Evangelical churches accept adult baptism as a means of truthfully understanding and recognising their life to Christ and His teachings however believe it is not necessary for salvation.
The “integrated belief” regarding the holy trinity and the nature of God is expounded upon , Christian’s such as orthodox extend on this belief through the expression of the trinity (immersion); the sign of the cross. This trinitarian act is Essentially, the immersion in water, emphasises the purification from all sin and spiritual regeneration. As Christ dictates himself Thus, Baptism is a practical expression and “distinctive answer” towards life’s “enduring questions” on how to unite with Christ according to his will through the gift of the Paschal Mystery. Baptism is particularly linked to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Applied in Paul of Tarsus’ letters, he authorises baptism as a burial with Christ and rising with him, Holistically, denominations such as Catholicism and Orthodoxy immersion into water, symbolises new life alongside the drawing of the old self and rebirth. This outlines how Baptism plays a pinnacle role in one’s quest to understand “enduring questions” regarding salvation from God. Salvation is therefore obtained through the forgiveness of sins emulated by the crucifixion and replicated in baptism. This ritual is essentially accompanied by Paul’s “integrated” teachings on the trinity, the death and resurrection and their role towards uniting with Christ .
Love is another “integrated” teaching, which is embedded within the baptismal promise, Christian adherents are called to follow. This gateway to salvation, guides adherents to profess their faith through baptism . Amongst Baptist and evangelical churches, adherents believe in adult baptism; whereby the adherent him/herself consciously decides when they are faithfully committed to satisfy God’s will. Holistically, all denominations are called to continuously fulfil the baptismal promise, besides the Salvation Army and the Quakers. According to adherents are exposed to replicate this love by submitting to his call for baptism. This provide adherents with “distinctive answers” as they enter into a special relationship with God, whereby they are given the purpose to commit to their baptismal promise and live out their ‘faith’ in their lives to ‘eternal life’. Therefore, Baptism demonstrates the desire of the adherent to follow the example set out by Jesus, who himself was baptised by John in the river Jordan (Mark 1:9). Thus, adherents understand that they, through baptism, demonstrate love by committing to follow the commandment set by Jesus, . In doing so, baptism is the way to discipleship, and the calling of one to be God’s followers and children. Consequently, it is through the belief of love which amplifies Christianity as “integrated belief system” due to its commonality between ethics and Paul’s teachings. Hence, these teachings hold intrinsic value towards “providing answers” in regard to “enduring questions on human existence”, including how to attain salvation – the ultimate arouse for adherents if the Christian faith.
Conclusively, Christianity holds focus on three interrelated aspects: Paul of Tarsus, Sexual ethics and Baptism. All of which incorporate principal beliefs including love, nature of God, life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and their pivotal role towards understanding the Christian vocation – Kingdom of God. Fundamentally, these binding factors of these hold “distinctive answers” across all denominations regarding the “enduring questions on human existence” including one’s purpose of life; union with God. Therefore it is through the embodiment of these beliefs which give value as to how Christianity is an “integrated belief system.”