Christian Fish Symbol

It has become popular for believers to use the Christian fish symbol to denote their beliefs in Christianity. We’ve seen the Jesus fish symbol on the back of cars, clothes, stickers and even some business’s add a small fish symbol to their business graphics. So it is not uncommon to see this symbol and it seems well accepted that anyone displaying it has at least some allegiance to the Christian beliefs.

A little digging around reveals some interesting things about the Christian fish meaning but I would have to say that the exact details of how this symbol became a universal symbol for Christianity is sketchy. There could very well be more than one true explanation to the story of the Jesus fish.

In ancient times the fish symbol was associated with several pagan symbols and particularly the pagan great mother goddess. There are those that demonize the Christian fish since it once represented pagan religions. That is their choice and I can respect that.

It is unmistakable that in the Christian faith “fish” played many roles. To name a few, Jesus miraculously fed thousands with only a few fish and some bread on two occasions. Jesus told the disciples that he would make them fishers of men. There was a miraculously large catch at the direction of Jesus after his resurrection. The tax money required was in the mouth of a fish. Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a great fish. Jesus cooked fish and fed them after his resurrection. Jesus included fishermen in his group of twelve disciples.

It is not hard to see how fish and a fish symbol could be used to represent Christianity.

The Greek word for fish (ichthus) can be considered an acrostic for Jesus Christ, of God, the Son, the Savior. An acrostic is a written series in which the first, last, or other particular letters form a word, phrase, the alphabet, etc. I am not an expert on Greek or acrostics but those who are say that this is a possible origin of the symbol as well. It’s all just Greek to me!

There are also two other possible origins of the Christian fish symbol. It is said that in the Roman Empire early Christians used the fish symbol to point to secret meeting places to avoid being found and persecuted. In a similar meaning it is said that when two people met, one would draw half of the symbol in the dirt and if the other were a Christian they would complete the symbol to reveal that they were a Christian.

It is interesting to note that if these two scenarios are true it is nearly opposite of the way that the symbol is used today where we display it to reveal our beliefs to all who see it.

Non-believers have also caught on and have modified the fish symbol by adding legs to symbolize evolution as well as other adaptations.

Even the Christian fish itself comes in several varieties. Some are plain while others have Jesus, ICTUS, a cross or even a Jesus fish eating a Darwin fish.

It doesn’t matter what the exact origin of the fish symbol for Christianity is I would say that it is well accepted today that it symbolizes Christianity to most people.

We at Avid have even used the Christian fish symbol in the designs of some of our clothing.

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