FASCINATING FACTS: 48 Righteous Facts About Christianity
Almost a third of the world’s population consider themselves Christian, making it the largest religion on earth.
Christians follow the teachings of Jesus, a Jewish man who many believed was the promised Messiah written about in the Old Testament.
Jesus is often referred to as “Christ,” a title that comes from a Greek word meaning “Anointed One.”
Many Christians believe in “The Trinity,” the idea that God has always been Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “incarnation” of God as a human.
According to the Bible, Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary, who was impregnated by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ father, Joseph, was a carpenter. He is the patron saint of Mexico, Canada, and Belgium.
According to Christian tradition, Jesus performed several miracles during the years he taught, including walking on water, feeding a crowd of five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and raising multiple people from the dead.
Despite Jesus preaching multiple times about taking care of the poor and needy, 49% of Christians believe government aid to the poor does more harm than good.
Muslims also consider Jesus a prophet, although they do not believe he was the son of God.
Many Christians use the symbol of the Cross as an image for their faith. Jesus was killed by being nailed to a cross, an act Christians believe paid the price of their sins and allows them to be one with God.
After being crucified, the Bible says that Jesus was resurrected after three days of lying in a tomb.
Christians believe Jesus will return to the earth to judge humanity for their actions. This is often called the “Second Coming” or the “Final Judgement” and is depicted most famously in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
The two major Christian holidays—Christmas and Easter—celebrate Jesus’ birth and death and resurrection, respectively.
In 64 AD, a fire raged through Rome. Emperor Nero wanted to deflect the blame and accused Christians of setting the blaze. Many were tortured and killed because of his accusations.
The earliest celebration of Christmas dates to 336 AD. The holiday replaced a pagan tradition of celebrating the winter solstice after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity.
In 392 AD, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, replacing thousands of years of pagan worship. Many Roman temples were converted into churches in the process.
Marcion of Sinope was an early Catholic who believed the God of the Old Testament was actually a devil, inspiring Marcion to collect Christian writings that supported his radical new theology. His work helped create the Bible, Christianity’s main religious text, that most read and follow today.
The Bible is split into two parts—the “Old” and the “New.” The Old Testament tells of the creation of the world and the history of the Israelites, God’s chosen people. The New Testament details Christ’s life and teachings, and includes the writings of apostles after Jesus died.
The first four books of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are known collectively as “the Gospels,” and their accounts give most of the information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus.
One Renaissance version of the Bible, known as the “Sinner’s Bible,” was recalled in the 1600s because of a typo reading, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
The “Golden Rule,” often known as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is credited to Jesus in the book of Matthew.
Many scholars believe Christianity would not have survived had it not been for the teachings and writings of Paul, the man responsible for many of the books in the New Testament.
The apostle Paul wasn’t always known by that name; before he became converted to Christianity, he was known as Saul, and he spent much of his time arresting and murdering early Christians.
While Jesus restricted his teachings to the Jewish people, Paul believed that Gentiles (non-Jews) also deserved to hear the word of God.
The many people who died because of or in defense of their Christian faith are known as “martyrs.” They are also considered saints by the Catholic Church.
Saint Josaphat is a Christianized version of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became the Buddha.
Many Christians believe in “sacraments,” acts of devotion that show a life dedicated to Christ. Most Christians believe in two main sacraments—baptism and the Eucharist—which come from Christ’s instruction in the Bible. Other sacraments include confirmation, penance, marriage, anointing the sick, and ordination of religious leaders.
One fourth of Catholics do not believe in hell, despite scripture and Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant teachings about its existence.
The Eucharist is the practice of recreating the Last Supper, the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before he was killed. Christians eat bread and wine during this sacrament to represent Christ’s body and blood.
Catholicism and the Orthodox Church split in 1054, when the Patriarch of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople could not agree on certain aspects of doctrine and religious practices.
The Crusades were a series of holy wars Christians led against Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. While Christians were ultimately unsuccessful in reclaiming Jerusalem from Muslim occupation, the Catholic Church made a large sum of money from the raids.
The split between the Catholic tradition and Protestant belief happened because of a man named Martin Luther. In 1517, Luther composed a list of 95 observed concerns about the Catholic Church (called the Ninety-five Theses). The publication of his list sparked a religious revolution across Europe.
Early Protestants believed that the scriptures should be available to everybody, not just religious leaders. In response, several Protestants, like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, translated the Bible from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew into more accessible languages like German and English. Because of this, they were branded as heretics and put to death, but their efforts made the Bible and other religious texts available for a wide range of readers.
Martin Luther, and therefore his Protestant followers, believed in the idea of sola scriptura, or “only scripture,” as the source for truth and revelation.
Protestants believe that each individual must form a relationship with Christ rather than relying on a relationship with a religious leader to ensure salvation.
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
– C. S. Lewis
Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Iran.
Seventy-one percent of Americans identify as Christian.
About 50% of all Christians are Catholic. Protestant and Orthodox Christians make up the majority of the other half.
For every person who converts to Catholicism, there are six people who leave the faith. This is the highest rate of loss for a Christian religion in the United States. Evangelical Protestants do better: for every person who leaves an evangelical denomination, 1.2 people move to another evangelical sect.
There are more “religiously unaffiliated” people in the United States than there are Catholics and Protestants.
Alabama is the most Christian state in America, with 84% of its residents reporting Christianity as their religious affiliation. Vermont is the least Christian, with only 54% of its residents claiming Christianity as their religion.
Christianity is majority female—55% of its congregants are women.
Sixty-six percent of American Christians are white.
Over half of Christians are married.
Christians have a life expectancy of between 71–75 years, which is ten years less than those who practice Judaism.
Half of American Christians believe in evolution in some form (either as a natural process or by God’s design).
Christians make up a majority—92%—of the United States Congress. In 2015, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, was the only member of Congress to claim no religious affiliation.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all “Abrahamic” religions, since all three believe in Abraham as a forefather and a prophet.