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A creed is a statement of belief, usually religious belief. The word derives from the Latin credo for I believe.

Table of contents
1 Christian creeds
2 Islamic creeds
3 Further Reading

Christian creeds

Christianity, affirming that God has been made manifest in the human being Jesus Christ, has formulated a number of statements of faith that seek to put its doctrine in a nutshell.

In this sense, perhaps the earliest statement of Christian faith is the slogan affirming that Jesus is LORD, which appears in St Paul's Epistle to the Romans 10:9. The meaning and importance of this slogan comes from its affirmation that Jesus Christ is the god Yahweh of Judaism incarnate, a doctrine thought impossible and indeed blasphemy by the rest of the Jewish community.

As Christianity wrestled with the implications of this statement, its developing theology required more complex formulations. It is likely that the earliest creed of Christianity that deserves the title in full is the Apostles Creed. Christian mythology attributes this creed to all of the twelve Apostles as a joint composition, and assigns one phrase of the creed to each Apostle. This attribution is unlikely, but the creed itself is quite old; it seems to have developed from a catechism used in the baptism of adults, and in that form can be traced as far back as the second century. The Apostles Creed seems to have been formulated to resist Docetism and similar ideas associated with Gnosticism; it emphasizes the birth, physical death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Nicene Creed clearly derives from the Apostles Creed, and equally obviously represents an elaboration of its basic themes. The most salient additions to this creed are much more elaborate statements concerning Christology and the Trinity. These reflect the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A. D., and have their chief purpose the rejection of Arianism, which the church adjudged a heresy. In the Roman Catholic liturgy the Nicene Creed is repeated during each Mass.

The emergence of increasingly elaborate creeds may suggest the fossilisation of primitive faith and imply constraints on dynamic theologising.

Other notable creeds include the:

Of the above list, Christians today probably use the Nicene Creed most widely, followed by the Apostles Creed.

Compare the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Islamic creeds

The most basic attempt to put the religion of Islam in a brief statement of doctrine is the shahada, the proclamation that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet.

Further Reading

There is also a rock band called Creed, best known for their 1999 album Human Clay. The fundamentalist Christian upbringing of the group's lead singer and the symbolism of the band's lyrics have led the band to be referred to as a Christian rock band in disguise, a title politely, and repeatedly, declined by the band themselves.