Christianity Fast Facts

Editor’s Note: This page has been retired and is no longer being updated.

CNN  — 

Here is a look at Christianity, the most practiced religion in the world.


Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings and death of Jesus Christ.

Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth and the universe.

The belief in one God originated with the Jewish religion.

Christians believe Jesus is the “Messiah” or savior of the world. They also believe that he is the son of God.

Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem to Mary, a virgin at the time of conception, and Joseph, her husband. Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and told she would conceive a son and he would be the Messiah.

Jesus was crucified on a cross. His death made salvation and forgiveness of sins possible for all.

On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus arose from the dead. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter, which is considered Christianity’s most important holiday.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, God’s presence remained on earth in the form of the Holy Spirit to be a comforter to all.

Salvation can only be obtained by believing that Jesus was sent by God to forgive the sins of every human, and to confess those sins to him.

Interpretations of the Bible and the practices of each church vary by denomination, but the belief in one God and Jesus as the Messiah is central to all Christians.


Christian beliefs date back thousands of years before Christ.

Many prophets predicted the coming of Christ according to Christian belief.

Many theologians believe that Jesus was crucified between 30 and 33 AD.

The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today.

392 AD - Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire.

1054 - Disputes about the Pope’s role and authority cause a split in Christianity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The split still exists today.

1517 - Martin Luther, a German monk, starts a movement called the Reformation after he criticizes certain church practices as well as the supremacy of the pope. This divides Western Christianity into the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism.


World Religions (Pew 2015 estimate):
Christian - 31.2%

Muslim - 24.1%

Unaffiliated - 16%

Hindu - 15.1%

Buddhist - 6.9%

Folk religions - 5.7%

Jewish - 0.2%

United States Religions (Pew 2019 estimate):
65% of adults in the US identify as Christians.

Protestant - 43%

Unaffiliated (includes atheist and agnostic) - 26%

Roman Catholic - 20%

Mormon - 2%

Jewish - 2%

Muslim - 1%

Buddhist - 1%