In Acts 26:20, the apostle Paul says: “I went about, first to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, and through all the country of Judea, and then to the Gentiles. I proclaimed that they must change the way they think and act, so that, having turned to God, their deeds might show the fruits of a changed heart.”
This Bible verse tells us that being a true Christian requires a changed heart. But, what exactly does this entail? The beliefs of the Christian faith are too complex to fit into just one article, but these are the basic facts.
General Information about Christianity
A few of the essential beliefs of Christianity are that:
- One God created Heaven and Earth.
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
- Jesus was crucified, and rose from the dead, a sacrifice that made possible human salvation from sin and eternal suffering.
- He will return to Earth to judge humanity and create a new Earth for us, free from evil.
- Human’s souls have eternal life, and a person will go either to Heaven or Hell upon death.
- Unrepentant sin, or the defying of God’s laws, is what causes a person to go to Hell.
- God forgives a person’s sins if they are repentant.
There are many other additional beliefs that are followed by some Christian denominations but not others. However, all varieties of Christian faith believe the things described above, and follow the teaching of Jesus.
The history of Christianity has shaped the evolution of its beliefs and culture. It first started as a Jewish religious sect in Judea, a region that today encompasses Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. It separated from Judaism and become its own religion, quickly spreading throughout the Asian, European, and African continents. By the 4th century AD, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The huge variety of Christian beliefs and lifestyle exists because of the various schisms and splits the faith has gone through over the centuries. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths split apart from one another in 1054, and the Protestant faith split from Catholicism in the 16th century. After this, many new denominations starting to spring up left and right. Today, there are thought to be as many as 40,000 distinct flavors of Christianity across the world.
7 Interesting Facts about Christianity
1. Jesus Really Existed
It’s a natural human desire to have verifiable proof in something before believing in it. Rest assured, Jesus of Nazarene was not a mythological figure. There is a good deal of historical proof of his life. Various writings from different people who lived around the time of Jesus’ life document his existence. Even his crucifixion is historically verified. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote in 116 AD about Jesus and his execution by Pontius Pilate.
2. The Bible Is Only the Beginning
Not all sacred religious texts made it into what we know as the Bible. There are a huge number of sacred religious texts written by various apostles and other religious leaders around the time of Jesus’ life. Some include the Apocalypse of Peter, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Gnostic Texts, and the Gospel of Thomas. There are countless others, many of which have been lost or destroyed.
3. Christian Culture is Everywhere
Modern Christians express their faith through many avenues. So, the Christian faith has a way of finding its way into many aspects of modern culture. Christianity today can come in the form of Christian novels, Christian music, and Christian magazines and newspapers such as the Christian Post. You’ll also find that Christianity blossoms on the Internet, especially through forums and the major digital social platforms. There are many sites and forums dedicated to Christian quotes and Bible study.
4. Christ Isn’t Jesus’ Name
Jesus is often referred to as “Jesus Christ”. Is there any difference between “Jesus” and “Christ”? Is “Christ” Jesus’ last name?
“Jesus” and “Christ” can be used separately to refer to the same person. However, they mean different things. Whether or not the two names are truly interchangeable depends on how you look at it.
The word “Christ” is not the last name of Jesus. Instead, it is a title meaning “anointed one”. So, “Jesus Christ” really means “Jesus the Anointed One”.
What about the name “Jesus” itself? Jesus is the anglicized version of the Hebrew name Yeshua. The meaning of this name is “Yahweh is salvation”. Both Jesus’ given name and his title are suited to his nature.
5. Christmas Isn’t Jesus’ Birthday
December 25th may be when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but in fact, the date of his birth is unknown. Scholars aren’t even sure exactly why December 25th ended up being Christmas. It may have been that the Christian celebration came to replace pagan mid-winter festivals as people converted to Christianity.
6. Christianity Is the Largest Religion
This faith had small, humble origins. But, over the centuries it has attracted more followers than any other faith. Today, about one-third of all people in the world are Christian.
7. Christian Dogma Is Complex
Exactly what Christians believe varies depending on the denomination. Beliefs have also changed a lot over time. For example, Christian science beliefs have vacillated over the course of the centuries. When it comes to such scientific discoveries as the laws of physics, the Big Bang, and evolution, there is no one Christian belief.
However, today a good majority of Christians are aligned with modern science. Nevertheless, there are exceptions and it’s important to accept and appreciate the variety in Christian faith.
A Word of Ending
Christianity is an ancient religion that holds that Jesus Christ can save us from sin if we accept him as our Lord and savior. The complex history of the faith gives rise to a rich variety in Christian practice today, yet all Christians are united in Christ.