The Eleven Most Influential Figures of Christianity Ranked in Order of Importance

1.) Plato (428-347 BC): Athenian Philosopher, the first intellectual to pioneer the concept of an immortal soul separate and above the physical body.

2.) Paul the Apostle (5-67 AD): Jewish/Greek epistolarian. Responsible for earliest known Christian writings. Developed the concept of “salvation by faith.” His arguments for the largely superfluous nature of the Mosaic Law laid the intellectual foundations for the spread of Christianity to Western Europe.

3.) Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD): North African, Berber intellectual who wrote a grand synthesis of the theories of Paul the Apostle and Neo-Platonism. Developed key Christian concepts like original sin and the trinity.

4.) Constantine the Great (272-337 AD): First Roman Emperor to declare himself Christian. Organized the First Council of Nicaea, which codified the main tenets of orthodox Christianity.

5.) Jesus (0 -33 AD): Syrian Jewish political activist and militant in the early days of the Roman Empire. May or may not have considered himself a Christian. Pioneered the concept of spiritual, as opposed to armed rebellion against state power. Early advocate of single-payer, free at the point of service health-care. No longer influential in the modern day Christian religion, at least compared to important American successors like Joel Osteen, Jim Bakker, and George W. Bush.

6.) Mary Magdalene (Early First Century AD): Associate of Jesus. Early female Christian. Laid the foundation for the development of Christianity as an underground religion (heavily organized by women) in Pagan Rome.

7.) Charlemagne (748-814 AD): Founder of Western Europe. Extended the concept of Christianity as a state religion. His use of forced conversion (salvation at the point of the sword) brought Christianity to Northern Italy, Germany, and the Western Slavs. Rendered it largely impossible for the Umayyad Caliphate to extend its power into Northern Europe.

8.) Muhammad (571-632 AD) Arab merchant and religious leader. Solidified monotheism in the Near East and North Africa against paganism. Has, over the centuries, provided Christian state leaders with a militant “other” that eventually led to the Christian idea of Holy War, which, in turn laid the foundations for a militarized Western Europe and eventual world conquest.

9.) Hernán Cortés (1485-1547 AD): Opened the southern part of the Western Hemisphere, the birthplace of the current leader of the Roman Catholic Church, to the Christian religion.

10.) Martin Luther (1483-1546 AD): His protests against the corruption inside the Roman Catholic Church led to a revival of Christianity in Western Europe, as well as the important, and militant Calvinist faith (which eventually became key to the Christianization of North America).

11.) Francisco Franco (1892-1974 AD): Prevented the secularization of Spain, and in turn, of Latin America, by the militant left. Reestablished the idea of Christian state power. Paved the way for orthodox Christianity to emerge as a major factor in the destruction of the Soviet Union by his, largely unacknowledged, intellectual and spiritual successor Karol Józef Wojtyła.

2 thoughts on “The Eleven Most Influential Figures of Christianity Ranked in Order of Importance”

  1. Ho, ho, ho. Putting a cat among the pigeons. Very good. That’ll get people riled up.

    ‘What! That turdball Franco? Better my uncle Harry the Swedenborgian!’ And where’s a women,eh? Pope Joan. Emma Goldman. Anne Boleyn.

    1. Well if I had to add more women I’d probably say Constantine’s mother (who made the very first pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher) or Augustine’s mother. You might also throw in Teresa of Avila or Elizabeth I (who saved Protestantism from the Spanish).

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