25 Fun Facts About Christianity You Should Know
Christianity is the world’s largest religion with over 2 billion followers globally. Spanning thousands of years of history, this monotheistic Abrahamic religion has had a profound influence on human civilization.
From its origins in ancient Judea to its prominence across the globe today, Christianity continues to shape cultures and touch lives. Even if you’re not a Christian yourself, learning about the faith provides insight into art, politics, literature and so much more.
Let’s explore some fun and fascinating facts about Christianity:
Table of Contents
1. There Are Three Major Branches
Christianity has three main branches: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Catholicism is the largest with 1.3 billion followers. Orthodoxy has over 200 million adherents. And Protestantism, which includes denominations like Methodists and Baptists, has 900 million believers.
2. The Holy Trinity Explained
Christians believe in one God manifested in three persons: The Father, The Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Together they form the Holy Trinity. This central mystery of most Christian faiths is that God is three yet one at the same time.
3. Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ, also called Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Messiah, is the focal point of Christianity. Christians believe he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, performed miracles, died by crucifixion, buried, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended into heaven.
4. The Origins of Christmas
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. The early church chose this date to coincide with pagan winter solstice festivals. Christmas combines traditions from ancient Rome, Yule and other influences into the celebration we know today.
5. Speaking in Tongues
Glossolalia or “speaking in tongues” is practiced in some Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. It sounds like gibberish but is considered a Holy Spirit-given prayer language. Paul’s letters in the New Testament contain one of the first mentions of glossolalia.
6. Food Rules Based on the Bible
Leviticus outlines Jewish food customs, which influenced later Christian beliefs around “clean” and “unclean” foods. Restrictions include pork, rabbit, shellfish and more. Some denominations still follow these kosher-style guidelines today.
7. The Surprising Origins of the Cross Symbol
Using the cross as a Christian symbol didn’t really take off until the 4th century AD when crucifixion faded as a punishment. Before that, early Christians used symbols like peacocks, anchors and fish to represent their faith.
8. Contraception Controversy
The Catholic Church prohibits artificial contraception based on biblical scripture. However, a recent survey showed most U.S. Catholics (89%) believe using birth control is morally acceptable.
9. Divorce and Remarriage
While conservative Christians discourage divorce, most denominations do allow remarriage after a divorce. But under Catholicism, marriage is considered a sacrament and indissoluble. So divorced Catholics who remarry are deemed adulterers unless they receive an annulment of the first marriage.
10. The Mystical Story Behind the Lord’s Prayer
Two versions of this famous prayer by Jesus exist in the gospels. Christians view the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) as a mystical summation of the faith given by Christ to engage God and call for His return to Earth.
11. Heaven, Hell and Judgment Day
Basic Christian eschatology includes belief in the Second Coming of Christ, final divine judgment of all souls and the afterlife destinations of heaven or hell. Views differ about timing, the rapture, tribulation period and other End Times prophecies.
12. The Apostle Paul Never Met Jesus
Paul the Apostle, previously called Saul of Tarsus, authored nearly half of the New Testament. This former anti-Christian zealot converted after a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Despite not knowing Jesus during His lifetime, Paul’s epistles helped spread Christianity.
13. Past Scandals and Controversies
Throughout history, people have leveraged Christianity to defend contradicting positions on topics like racism, science, women’s rights and more. While faith can be a force for good, it has also been misused to justify violence, abuse, colonialism and other evils.
14. Symbolism in the Book of Revelation
This final book of the New Testament uses symbols and numbers, including four horsemen, seven seals, and 666 (the mark of the beast). Revelation outlines passible End Times events, which leads to varying Christian interpretations.
15. The Lost Years of Jesus
The canonical gospels reveal little about Jesus’s life from around age 12 to 30. This 18-year gap, also called the “unknown years” or “lost years”, leads to much speculation about Jesus’s early adulthood and travels before his ministry.
16. How Sunday Became the Christian Sabbath
Saturday, considered the seventh day, was the Jewish Sabbath when Jesus lived. At some point after Christ’s death, Christian worship shifted from Saturday to Sunday, which became known as the Lord’s Day in honor of His resurrection.
17. Satan Has Many Names
The devil goes by many sinister biblical names – Lucifer, Beelzebub, Prince of Darkness, Evil One, Tempter and Destroyer. While some Christians consider Satan a literal fallen angel, others view these names as symbolic of evil and adversary.
18. Infant Baptism Origins
Infant baptism was not widely practiced for the first few centuries of Christianity. By the 5th century, this ritual increased as the view spread that baptism is necessary to remove the taint of original sin. This is still a doctrine in several Christian traditions.
19. Why Are There Different Denominations?
In the 1500s, the Protestant Reformation led to the theological diversity seen today within Christianity. As groups splintered from the Catholic Church and new movements emerged, distinct Protestant denominations formed over disagreements about beliefs and practices.
20. The Relationship With Judaism
Christianity originated from Judaism in the 1st century CE and shares the same Abrahamic roots. While they diverged, Christianity retains the Hebrew Bible (altered Old Testament), belief in prophets like Moses, and other common elements.
21. What the Bible Says About Money
The Bible contains over 2000 verses about money and possessions. Key concepts include stewardship, generosity, and reliance on God rather than wealth. Tithing (giving 10%) is a traditional form of charity encouraged in Christianity.
22. The Complex History of Christian Missionaries
Christian missionaries have traveled for centuries spreading their faith worldwide. While some truly served communities, others forcibly imposed Western ideals with little regard for indigenous cultures and people. This legacy continues to impact global politics.
23. Fasting for Spiritual Purification
In addition to abstaining from food during Lent, Christians have practiced fasting throughout history. Many denominations view fasting periods as an opportunity to focus spiritually, repent sins, develop self-control and sacrifice in unity with Christ’s suffering.
24. Prominent Relics and Holy Sites
Places of pilgrimage with sacred relics bring many Christians closer to their faith. Some examples include the Holy Grail, Shroud of Turin, Virgin Mary’s milk, bones of saints and disciples, and holy sites like the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
25. The Influence of Christian Values
Concepts like compassion, service, justice and human dignity are central to Jesus’s teachings. These values have inspired monumental social reforms like civil rights, charities, education and healthcare shaped by Christianity’s moral framework while translating to secular institutions.
This quick tour through Christianity reveals the rich history and influence of the world’s largest faith. Beyond church walls, fascinating Biblical tales and practices have inspired literature, music, philosophy, politics, art and our culture. By learning fun facts about other religions, we expand mindsets and find threads of our shared humanity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is unique about Christianity?
Christianity is unique in its belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, incarnate as both fully human and fully divine. Christians believe Jesus's teachings, death and resurrection offer the promise of salvation and eternal life. The concept of grace, the Holy Trinity, and the final book of the Bible called Revelation are also somewhat unique theological principles in Christianity.
What are some fun Christianity facts for kids?
Fun facts about Christianity to teach kids include that Christmas wasn't originally Jesus's birthday, there were 12 disciples also called apostles, the cross was not always a Christian symbol, there are 66 books in the Protestant Bible, Jesus walked on water, and Christians originally worshipped on Saturdays.
What is an interesting fact about religion in general?
One fascinating fact true of many religions is the common use of music, chants, prayer beads, candles, incense and other tools to create spiritual experiences. Different religions have variations on rituals for marriage, funerals, dietary restrictions, holidays and worship. And most promote moral values like the Golden Rule.
What are some fun facts about the start of Christianity?
In the beginning, Christianity was a small sect within Judaism. The first Christians had to hide and were persecuted. Jesus's disciple Peter played a big role in the early Christian church. Paul's missionary trips helped Christianity spread far. The faith slowly became legal and more mainstream in ancient Rome thanks to converts like Emperor Constantine.