17 Religious Facts Most People Get Wrong

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By Jonathan Trent

Many people throughout the world have reflected on the words, lessons, and teachings of the Bible. However, certain religious facts can be misunderstood even by those who have read the Bible multiple times, just like these 17 religious facts most people don’t get right.

The Bible Doesn’t Say Three Wise Men

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The three wise men are notable figures in the Bible, often depicted in nativity plays worldwide. However, the Holy Book never explicitly clarifies how many wise men there are. Instead, the number three likely emerged from the quantity of gifts they bring.

Jesus Wasn’t Born on December 25th

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Our common belief is that Jesus was born on December 25th, mainly because we celebrate Christmas on this date. However, The Washington Post reminds us that Dec. 25 is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus’s birth, as historical evidence suggests Jesus was born in the spring.

Buddha Wasn’t Fat

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Despite what many people believe, Buddha wasn’t fat or overweight in the slightest. In fact, Siddhartha Gautama, the original Buddha, was rather slim. People may confuse this figure with Budai, who represents peace and feelings of abundance in Chinese folklore.

Witches Weren’t Burned at the Stake in Salem

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Many people falsely believe that the accused witches in Salem were burned at the stake, with many modern depictions of this adding to this belief. However, these witches were hanged, not burned. Burning people at the stake was never a common practice in colonial America!

The Dalai Lama Isn’t Just One Person

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Possibly because ‘the’ is put before ‘Dalai Lama,’ many people assume that this is one singular entity. However, there are multiple Dalai Lamas, as there is a long line of them who are thought to be the reincarnations of the one before them.

The Forbidden Fruit Wasn’t an Apple

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Sin entered the world when Eve ate a forbidden “fruit,” but despite the assumption, the fruit was never clarified as an apple. In fact, Psychology Today speculates it seems far more likely that the forbidden fruit would have been a fig, pomegranate, quince, or some other species.

The Star of David Isn’t Solely a Jewish Symbol

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This symbol of the Star of David has been associated solely with Judaism in the modern age. It’s possible that these assumptions gained speed in the 19th century, but they have also been applied and used by many different cultures and religions throughout history.

There Are Multiple Hindu Holy Texts

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Contrary to popular belief, there is not one Hindu holy text. In fact, there are other significant texts, including the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Ramayana. Hinduism has a diverse and bountiful range of literature and traditions that is not confined to just one text!

Muslims Worship the Same God as Christians and Jews

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One type of God is not worshiped by everyone globally. In fact, while Muslims, Christians, and Jews all worship the God of Abraham, in Islam, God is called Allah, which is the Arabic word for God. While they may share some of the same principles, their views of God differ.

Sikhs Aren’t Required to Wear Turbans

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Turbans are frequently seen as compulsory for Sikhs, but the reality is very different. In fact, not all Sikhs wear turbans, as they have the choice of whether to wear them or not. Those who do opt to wear them intend to showcase their religious identity, while others might not see this as necessary.

Hell in the Bible Is Not One Specific Place

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Hell is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, but it’s not limited to just one place. Rather, the Bible makes reference to Sheol, Gehenna, and Hades, which all align with the idea of Hell. There is also speculation as to whether Hell was a physical or non-physical place.

Confucius Wasn’t a Religious Leader

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Confucious is seen as a religious leader today. However, National Geographic confirms that he was hailed after his death as “The Uncrowned King,” a philosopher whose sound bites of wisdom became China’s handbook on government and its code of personal morality, confirming that he wasn’t a religious founder.

The Vatican Isn’t the Only Papal Residence

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The Pope has several official residences, including the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, meaning that the Vatican isn’t the only papal residence. Another notable papal residence is Castel Gandolfo, which is outside Rome, allowing the Pope to travel anywhere within the Vatican’s domain.

Mormon Underwear Isn’t Magic

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Magic and luck have long been associated with the garments worn by Mormons, yet this bizarre assumption is not accurate. Such undergarments have a deeper meaning as they symbolize the pact made with God and have likely been misconstrued over time. How could they be magic!?

Shinto Shrines Aren’t Temples

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Shinto shrines are places of worship in Shintoism, distinct from Buddhist temples, meaning that they aren’t exactly temples. They are an expression of loyalty to kami, spirits associated with natural forces and ancestors, and usually have torii gates that fit in seamlessly with nature. How interesting!

Easter Is Named After a Pagan Goddess

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Many people claim that the word ‘Easter’ originates from Pagan roots, but as Catholic Answers lays out, this is nonsense. Contrary to the belief that Easter refers to a Pagan goddess, the word is actually just connected to spring themes of rebirth, which showcases the fusion of Christian and pagan traditions.

The Qur’an Is Only Considered Perfect in Arabic

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Last but not least, many Muslims believe the Qur’an’s divine message is preserved perfectly in any language; however, Islamic traditions entail reciting and memorizing in Arabic and only Arabic. Any translations that have been made are thought to be inaccurate in their representation of the words of Allah. Remember that!

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