Christians are self-professed followers of Jesus Christ. The broadest formal limits of "Christian" could perhaps be set as a group or individuals who believe/identify with Jesus, the man of Nazareth, as the second person of the Trinity. Even this definition leaves out many Unitarians, who might call themselves Christians.
A narrower definition is that Christians are those believers who look to the New Testament as their sacred scripture and practice the sacraments of baptism and eucharist. Some Christian Orthodox groups would add adherence to the ancient creeds of the church, such as the Nicene or Apostles'. Again, this excludes some groups who would call themselves Christians, such as Mormons or Christian Scientists. Some Evangelical Christians limit the definition of Christian to those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their savior.
Christians are broken up into a dizzying array of churches and denominations. The most basic division in Christianity is betwen Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. While there are a variety of Christian groups around the world, the notion of large numbers of denominations co-existing in the same territory is a peculiarly American phenomenon, as are many of the denominations themselves. After the Protestant Reformation, each country had a dominant religion which was largely a product of the choice made by its ruler. Most of Europe and Latin America, retains national or regional patterns of religious affiliation dating to that era. Some still have established religions, and others have provided for religious pluralism only recently.
Because of this diversity, it is almost impossible to name a set of "core values" of the Christian faith. The majority of churches identified as Christian recognize their theology in the following list:
- Resurrection of Christ
- Dual divinity and humanity of Christ
- Call to holiness (living as people set apart—but not above—by God).
- Call to service or loving care of one another and the world around them.
- Call to be peacemakers in the world
- Call to spread the "good news"
- Jesus' atonement on the cross
- Forgiveness and grace
Not only are Science and Christianity not at odds but some great progressive scientists have been Christians.