The Christian religion influenced history in countless ways and is an interesting topic for a research paper. Since you can have a research paper written on any part of the Christian religion, it is up to you to decide if you want to study the history, religious aspects, psychological underpinnings or the social implications of the Christian religion.
The Christian religion is one of the world's three major monotheistic religions in the Abrahamic tradition. It is a religion based on the following tenants:
- The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth
- Jesus was a first-century Jewish prophet hailed as the Christ
- Jesus was said to be the Son of God
- Believers hold that he rose from the dead after His crucifixion in order to atone for the sins of all mankind
The Christian religion expanded across the Mediterranean world within a few decades after Christ's crucifixion (circa AD 30). While Peter, one of Jesus' original 12 apostles is remembered as the first pope of the Christian religion, its spread was largely the result of the missionary work of Paul of Tarsus, who was the first to take the Gospel of Jesus out of the Jewish world and into the larger Greco-Roman society. The Christian religion remained a small, and often persecuted sect until AD 313, when the Roman emperor Constantine converted and declared it the official religion of the Empire.
During the Middle Ages, the Christian religion achieved cultural hegemony across western Europe. The Church was the only large institution to survive the fall of Rome in the West, and largely shaped nearly every aspect of life and culture for the next thousand years. It was in 1517 that Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation, which split the Christian religion into its two main camps: Catholicism and Protestantism. Many believe that in the modern world, the Christian religion is declining in the face of increasing secularism.
The United States was founded largely by Christians. Today, the majority of Americans, even in an increasingly plural society, are Christian. Our presidents have all been white, Christian men. It is no surprise that these powerful men would call upon the ideas and values of their upbringing when speaking to the public - a majority of whom identifies with Christian values. Scholars point to a "civil religion," a broad, overarching faith that goes beyond Americans' formal religion. Its key feature is that it is flexible and ever-changing and therefore always available for leaders to tap into (Pierard, xii). "Religious beliefs frequently influence how people vote and the kind of pressure they bring on politicians to enact legislation to fit their particular views".
While cynics can point to examples of where presidents and those who wanted to be president used Biblical verse or imagery to manipulate and persuade, others see these references as heartfelt expressions of the men's beliefs. Religious images are powerful images, reaching deep into most people's minds and souls.