18 Things Christians Often Misunderstand About Their Own Religion

Christianity is a large, complex religion dating back two millennia, with numerous denominations worldwide. Many Christians are unaware of the differing beliefs of other denominations and even their own church’s teachings. Here are 18 things Christians often misunderstand about their religion. 


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In Christianity, salvation is the idea that humans are saved from sin through their faith in Jesus. Some Christians are unaware that other denominations have differing views about the nature of salvation. In Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, salvation is participation in the renewal of human nature, while Western Catholics divide it into justification and sanctification. Protestantism teaches that only God can lead them to salvation and that performing good works or rituals alone won’t merit His grace.

The Concept of the Trinity

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Most Christian churches believe in the central doctrine of the Trinity concerning the nature of God. Britannica explains that the Trinity is “the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead,” rooted in God’s threefold figure: Creator, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. 

Hell and Eternal Punishment

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In Christianity, hell is the place for those unrepentant sinners who reject God irrevocably, where they suffer physically and spiritually. Literal interpretations of hell from biblical texts have given rise to its common depiction as a fiery underground environment, but modern religious writers usually interpret it metaphorically. 

The Role of Women in the Church

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Women have played an important role in Christianity throughout history, especially in marriage and formal ministry positions in certain denominations. Most churches now hold egalitarian views regarding women’s roles in the church, but in Catholic and Orthodox churches, only men can serve as priests and elders. 

The Rapture and the End Times

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Christians often confuse the Rapture and the Second Coming when studying end-times Bible prophecy. The rapture is described in both 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50–54 as when Jesus returns to remove believers and the church from the earth. The second coming is when Jesus returns to destroy evil and defeat the Antichrist. 

The Infallibility of the Bible

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Many Christians are confused about Biblical infallibility, as various denominations have different views. Catholics hold to the Bible’s inerrancy and freedom from error, and some evangelicals believe only God is inerrant and infallible. Christianity.com argues that “the Bible is exclusive in its infallible nature” and “cannot be mistaken about anything.”

The Nature of Jesus Christ

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Some Christians often misunderstand Jesus Christ’s nature. The hypostatic union describes the union of Jesus’s humanity and divinity in one individual personhood. He is both perfectly divine and perfectly human, with complete and distinct natures. 

The Sacraments

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Not all Christians are aware of the Catholic Church’s seven sacraments. Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders are considered mystical channels of divine grace instituted by Christ and celebrated with a visible rite. 


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Christians often assume their method of prayer is the same as that used by other denominations. Some believe chanting will help them to concentrate and experience God, while others practice meditational prayer in silence. 

The Creation Story

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Some Christians assume they must believe in the biblical story of creation or the modern scientific understanding of the “Big Bang.” Christianity.org.uk argues that “Christians do not have to choose between Bible-based faith and a respect for science” and that “far from science being in principle opposed to faith, it can be argued that our modern science grew out of it.”

The Importance of the Church

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Churches are central to Christianity, where the community comes together to praise and worship God. Church attendance has become a less central part of Christians’ lives in several countries, including America, over recent decades as countries have grown increasingly secular. 

Christian Ethics and Morality

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Many Christians derive their ethics and morality from the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. For Christians, following these biblical teachings means living their lives according to God’s will. 

The Prosperity Gospel

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Many Christians are unaware of the prosperity gospel. Some charismatic Christians believe faith, donations to religious causes, and positive speech will increase their wealth. For them, financial blessing and physical well-being are always God’s will. 

The Virgin Birth

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Many Christians have misunderstandings about the birth of Jesus. Britannica explains that the Virgin Birth is the “doctrine of traditional Christianity that Jesus Christ had no natural father but was conceived by Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit.” It is an important article of belief for Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and most Protestants, and is also accepted by Muslims. 

Angels and Demons

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Some Christians are unaware of the differences between angels and demons in the Bible. Angels are the messengers of God and can appear as humans or in more bizarre forms, including a wheel covered in eyes. Demons, meanwhile, are fallen angels who joined Satan’s rebellion against God. 

Christian Festivals and Holy Days

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Not all Christians are aware of the stories behind Christmas, Easter, and other celebrations. Commercialization over the past decade has reduced mainstream understanding of these holy days, and some Christians have forgotten their true meaning. 

Papal Supremacy 

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Christians who aren’t Catholics are often confused by the concept of papal supremacy. In Catholicism, this doctrine holds that the Pope has supreme authority over the whole church because of his office as Vicar of Christ. 

Ecumenism and Interdenominational Relations

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Not all Christians know about Ecumenism, which Britannica defines as the “movement or tendency toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation.” In 1948, the World Council of Churches was established to further the cause of Ecumenism, and today, it includes many of the major denominations.

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