05 December 2009

A History of Christianity

BBC iPlayer is the thing! I just started watching Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity. It isn't your usual history of Christianity since he digs into things such as the Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic, Syriac, and other Oriental Orthodox Churches. The most interesting of these Churches was the Orthodox Church of the East which was headquartered in Baghdad!

Professor MacCulloch posits that the true origins of Christianity lie further east than Constantinople, and that at one point Christianity was poised to triumph in Asia, maybe even in China. He has this theory that the headquarters of Christianity may well have been Baghdad not Rome, and if that had happened then western Christianity would have been very different.

The next episodes deal with the rise of Rome, The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Reformation, and the concept of scepticism in Christianity with one more episode to be announced. This has real potential to get you thinking!

The interesting thing is that Professor MacCulloch points out that Christianity is hardly monolithic in its nature, which most people neglect. This is especially true for those who wish to establish "Chritianity" as a state religion. Which "Christianity" are you proposing to be the State religion: Catholic? Pentacostal? Some of the varied forms of Orthodox Churches? Protestantism is hardly monolithic as well going from High Church Anglican (Episcopal) to Fundamentalist Bible Churches. The website has a neat little accompanying piece in league with the Open University called Defining Christianity.

I mean some people can't agree about Christmas! Is it Pagan or religious?

Anyway, this is an interesting series that looks at the History of the Church from a totally different point of view. I am taking the the "What type of Christian are you" Survey as a lark. It actually isn't easy.

My written responses were that "being a Christian means that you see salvation as coming from Jesus Christ" and I have "difficulty in believing that Christ is the road to Salvation". I would be a Christian if the religion was that discussed by Jesus of Montreal, one of my favourite all time films.

So, go out there and get another take on Christianity!