Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that has evolved from Judaism, which is also an Abrahamic religion. The word in itself is derived from the Greek word ‘Christos’, meaning ‘The Anointed One’. Here are some interesting facts about Christianity―the world’s largest religion―that are not common knowledge.
Did You Know?
Between 4th century and 6th century C.E., Christianity was a major religion in Egypt.
The followers of Jesus Christ are known as Christians. Christianity is the most followed religion in the world today. Almost ⅓ of the world’s population follows this religion. Originally, the religion mainly existed in Europe and America, both North and South. Since the 19th century, it has seen an increase in its reach, as its followers have traveled far and wide throughout the world.
Christians perform worship services in church. Sistine Chapel, in Vatican City, is the official residence of the Pope. The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church all over the world. The Christian Bible is the collection of holy and sacred scriptures. The Holy Bible is made up of two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Some of the scriptures from the Old Testament are sacred to Judaism and Islam, both Abrahamic religions as well.
Roman Catholic Cross
Eastern Orthodox Cross
Old City, Jerusalem
Origin of Christianity
The origins of Christianity can be traced back to 1st century C.E. Jesus of Nazareth had an increasing number of followers throughout his lifetime, who were influenced by his teachings. Some believe that Christianity evolved as early as 33 A.D., not long after Jesus Christ was crucified by the Roman Empire. At the beginning, Christian converts were Jewish by birth, who believed that Jesus Christ was divine. This belief did not go down well with other Jews. There remain many similarities between the two religions because of the Jewish ancestry of many Christians. Jesus Christ spent most of his childhood and adulthood in Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem that he was tried by the Roman Empire, crucified, and resurrected. The city, thus, is of importance to Christianity as well as Judaism, and even Islam.
With time, the differences between the Jews and the Christians widened. Owing to this fact the disciples moved out of Israel/Palestine and started traveling through west Asia and Europe. There were an increasing number of followers during the 2nd and 3rd century. There were three Jew-Roman wars fought, the last of which was a Bar-Kokhba revolt. Initially, the Roman Empire was not supportive of this emergent new religion. This, however, changed with time. The acceptance helped gain Christianity a ground in the Roman Empire. Constantine converted to Christianity in the fourth century. After this, his mother visited Jerusalem to decide the location of the holy sites that were associated with the last days of Christ. This further increased the importance of Jerusalem in Christianity. There have been crusades spread over three centuries: 11th, 12th, and 13th century, to free the holy land.
Important Beliefs of Christianity
- God: There exists only one God.
- Holy Trinity: Christians believe in the Holy Trinity; God as Father, His Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Church: Manifestation of the Holy Spirit on Earth.
- Baptism: Commitment made towards the teachings of Christ.
- Life After Death: Christians believe in life after death.
- Humans Nature: The human nature is considered to be born in sin.
Christians believe that people who are not baptized will enter the phase of limbo. In Latin, limbo means ‘edge’.
A key Christian belief is that Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven in bodily form, and will return to Earth on Judgment Day.
Interesting Christianity Facts
- Christian beliefs date back centuries before Christ.
- Christianity evolved from Judaism towards the end of 1stcentury C.E.
- The Roman Empire accepted Christianity as an official religion in the 4th century C.E.
- Today, there are over 40,000 denominations in Christianity. A majority, though, follow Roman Catholicism.
- Christianity has the largest number of followers spread worldwide.
- The Bible has been translated into 1,200 different languages. This also includes Klingon, for Star Trek enthusiasts.
- The Bible has been written by about 40 different authors.
- In 1054, Christianity split into two denominations: Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church.
- In 1517, as a result of the movement started by Martin Luther, called the Reformation, a new denomination was born in Christianity; ‘Protestantism‘.
- The Bible is the most sold book, and also the most ‘shoplifted’ book in the world.
- There are close to 6 million books written about Christianity.
- Originally, in the Bible, angels were portrayed as monsters/fearsome creatures. This changed around the end of the 4th century, when angels started to be depicted with two wings, the way we know them today.
- Genesis 6:3 says, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” This points to the fact that humans can live to a maximum age of 120 years.
- Contrary to popular belief, the 3 wise men did not reach the manger in which Jesus was born in time.
- Adam and Eve were not expelled from the Garden of Eden because they had sinned. This happened so as to prevent them from eating from the ‘Tree of Life’, because if they did so, they would become spiritual bodies, and live forever.
- Everyone is taught that man thought the Earth was flat, before Christopher Columbus discovered that the Earth was actually round. Well, there is mention of a round Earth long before Christopher Columbus existed. Isaiah 40:22 – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…”.
- The prophet Muhammad is mentioned by name just 4 times in the Quran, while Jesus is mentioned 37 times, and Moses 177 times.
- The Holy Bible consists of 66 books.
- There are 7 Deadly Sins: lust, pride, anger, envy, sloth, avarice. and gluttony.
- There are 7 Virtues: prudence, courage, temperance, justice, faith, hope. and charity.
- The words “Don’t Be Afraid” appear 365 times in the Bible, the same number as the days in a year.
- The 2 most important teachings of Jesus are: ‘to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul’; and ‘to love your neighbor as yourself’.
- The Bible was first written in 3 languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.
- The 12 disciples were forbidden from carrying food, money, or extra clothing.
- The only apostle who was actually present at the crucifixion of Jesus was John.
Christianity originated in Israel. Today, there are over 2 billion people who follow this religion around the world. As this religion has been present in the west for many centuries, western culture has now become equivalent to Christian culture.