What Causes Division In Christianity

Christianity is one of the largest and most varied religions in the world today – yet many churches, groups and factions seem to be in disagreement with one another. What is the source of these divisions and why do they exist? This article takes an in-depth look into what causes division in Christianity and provides insights into how Christians of different backgrounds can live and reconcile in harmony.


The most significant factor in Christian division is religious doctrine. Christianity is made up of a variety of denominations, each following their own interpretation of the Bible and attempting to practice their faith accordingly. In some cases, these interpretations and practices can be vastly different – leading to heated debates and divisions within Christian communities.
For instance, the issue of divorce is a contentious topic for many denominations. While some denominations allow for divorce to take place in certain circumstances, other denominations forbid it outright. This kind of disagreement leads to divisions between religious leaders and the communities of Christians they represent.
In addition, different denominations have distinct beliefs on a host of important topics – from the existence of Hell, to the interpretation of the Virgin Birth, to understandings on sacraments and moral standards.

Power Dynamics

Another factor that contributes to divisions in Christianity is power dynamics. As Christianity grows and spreads, there is a natural tendency for different leaders to attempt to gain control and influence over their respective groups. This leads to infighting and competition between various leaders and organizations, undermining efforts towards harmony and unity.
This power dynamic issue is also parallel to another issue: the dominance of certain denominations. As certain denominations become more and more popular, other denominations might be left feeling ‘sidelined’ – leading to further divisions within the religion.

Societal and Cultural Differences

Another factor that can cause divisions in the Church is differences in cultural and societal backgrounds. Christians from different parts of the world will often bring different cultural norms and expectations to their faith. As such, these differences can be seen in things like worship styles, social customs and language preferences – leading to further divisions within Christianity.
The issue of societal and cultural differences can also lead to external criticism of Christianity. This has been seen in recent years, with many people criticizing Christianity’s failure to embrace different cultures – leading to greater divisions in the Church.


A final factor that contributes to divisions in Christianity is politics. Religion and politics are two very powerful forces and it is inevitable that disagreements on certain political issues will arise within the Church. The issue of abortion and same-sex marriage in particular, can lead to huge divisions within denominations and across the Church in general.
Different interpretations on the role of the State, economics, and personal liberties can also lead to divisions within the Church, leaving to chasms between those who believe in a more conservative approach and those who side with a more liberal approach.

Personal Subjectivity

It’s also important to note that personal subjectivity also plays a role in divisions in the Church. As in any faith, no two individuals will interpret the Bible or practice their faith in exactly the same way.
Different opinions on theology, lifestyle and morality can all lead to diversity of belief and even heated debates and arguments – leading to further divisions in the Church.

Historical Context

Finally, divisions can be caused from a historical context. Many denominations and organizations are borne out of specific events and changes in Christianity. he Reformation, for example, led to divisions between Catholics and Protestants, while the spread of Pentecostalism in the 1900s has led to further denominations and divisions between churches.
Even so, it is important to remember that Christianity is by definition based on human interpretation and experience. As such, different interpretations, perspectives and understandings of the Bible can and will lead to disagreements and divisions.

Harmonious Living

The existence of divisions in Christianity should not be seen as a negative. Rather, different denominations, Churches and groups can still strive to live in harmony despite their differences.
Living in harmony involves respecting the beliefs and practices of other Christians, even if they drastically differ from your own. It also involves seeking a common understanding and recognizing that there isn’t one definitive interpretation of the Bible.
Most importantly, harmonious living involves acknowledging and understanding that divisions in the Church are normal and will happen from time to time.


Within Christianity, inclusiveness is paramount. Despite centuries of divisions, Christianity is still centered on the belief that all people are made in God’s image and as such, should be welcomed and embraced within its communities. This means that Christians should strive not to be exclusive in their beliefs, but rather to welcome and support others who have different views.
At the same time, inclusion also involves finding compromise and understanding between Christians of different backgrounds. By learning to recognize and value those different backgrounds, we can come together to create a community that is accepting of differences and open to new understandings on various issues.


Ultimately, Christian unity doesn’t mean complete uniformity among all denominations. Rather, it involves recognizing and respecting differences while still coming together to express a common faith.
This doesn’t mean that Christians should shy away from disagreements and debates – these conversations can be very healthy and productive – but it does mean that these disagreements should be held in good faith and with an understanding of the “bigger picture”.
Rather than allowing differences to cause division, Christians should strive for unity in body, mind and spirit – creating a Church that is united despite its differences.

Respectful Dialogue

The key to living in harmony, despite divisions, is to engage in respectful conversations and dialogues. This involves listening to the perspectives of others, considering different points of view, and being willing to change one’s own perspective if necessary.
Respectful dialogue is not only beneficial to individuals, but to the Church as a whole. By talking openly and respectfully, Christians of different backgrounds can learn to accept and appreciate each other – bridging the chasm between denominations and factions.

Contradictions and Conflict

Perhaps the most important point to remember when it comes to divisions in Christianity is that contradictions and conflict are inevitable. Christianity is a living faith, and as such, it is always evolving and changing. As different interpretations and understandings develop, it is only natural that disagreements arise – leading to divisions within the Church.
Rather than getting bogged down in these divisions and conflicts, Christians should recognize them and strive to live in harmony regardless. This involves accepting differences and disagreements while still striving towards a common faith and understanding.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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