Great Religious Traditions: Christianity

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Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:21 am

To my Brother Gelin,

Great Religious Traditions: Christianity

Figure 1.--.
The Christian religion is one of the three great monotheistic religions to emerge out of the Middle East. Christianity was a small sct of Judiasm until Paul extended the faith to gentiles. Christians believe that Jesus was the son or earthly manifestation of God. The precise character of Jesus and the Holy trinity is a matter of doctrinal dispute among Christian denominations. The major denominations are the Catholic, Protestant and Oethodox or Eastern churches. There have been other denominations of considerable importance, some of which like the Copts still exist. The Church was split by the Great Scism in the ?th century and the Reormation in the 16th century. While Christianity rose in the Middle East, it was largely suplanted there by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries. Christianity adter being adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century AD eventually became the primncipal European religion and as a result of European colonialism, the principal relogion of South and North America. for centuries in the Medieval Era, the Cathloic Church was the one unifying force in Europe and played a major role in the Feudal System.

The Christian religion is one of the three great monotheistic religions to emerge out of the Middle East. While the theology and ritual of Christian denominations vary widely, there are some common elements that all denominations share to varying degrees. As with all religions, Christians believe that man requires super-human assistance and guidance. Chfristians believe that communion between Gos and man is possible and that God is willing to assist man. Christianity's unique feature is that Jesus Christ is the agent for brining man in communion with God. And it is here that Christians different greatly. Some believe this communion must be mediated by the Church while others that the individual can and should engage in firect communioin with God. While the theology varies widely, all Christians believe that Jesus in some way is the means by which man open communion with God.

Jesus of Nazareth was an actual historical figure. Scholars agree on virtualy nothing about him, except that he was a Jew and a very moving and prfound spirtual leader. We do not even know precisely when he was born and died, despite the fact that the modern calendar is based on him, BC meaning before Christ and AD meaning after death. That in in itseld leaves a gap of over 30 yeatrs--Jesus' life span. That imprecission comes from the fact that the modern sating system ( the split betweem BC and AD) was inventd 5 centuries after Christ (525 AD). Pope John I assigned a monk named Dionysius the task of preparing a standardized calendar for the western Church. It was based on Jesus' birth. Modern scholars, however, believe that Dionysius was off by a few years. Jesus was probably born about 4 or 5 BC. The central issue about Jesus is just who he was. Most agree that he was a great spiritual leader. Christians see Jesush as the Messiah. They disagre as to the actual nature of Jesus. This disagreement was the central issue within the early Christian Church. While addressed at the Council of Niccea and essentiually settled in Catholic cannonical law, it is an issue which still concerns Christian scholars.

The histoy of the early Christian Church is an amazing story of how a small splinter group of Judism (itself a very mall religious group) came to dominate the powerful Roman Empire. Christianity competed with many other religious sects within an empire which was largely tolerant of religion--but singled out Christianity for prosecution. Evenually it was Christinity, however, that replaced the state religion upon which the Empire was founded. It is important to note that Christianity grew without any central authoity. The papacy which came to dominate Christianity rose in a later period of the Church's development. Christianity developed in local communities in many scattered locations throughout the Empire. Thus the Church that was legalized by Constantine at the beginning of the 4th century was a Church with no widely agreed threology or canonical tradition.

1st century
Christianity was a small sect of Judiasm until Paul extended the faith to gentiles. Christians believe that Jesus was the son or earthly manifestation of God. The early church has been termed the Jesus Movement. Eatrly Christians were mostly Jews and followed the Jewish religious calandar and practices. It was the Apostle Paul that converted Christianity from a Jewish sect into a religious movement that would eventually emerged as the Roman state relgion. Paul became the apostle to the gentiles. He moved away from Jewish ritual, motly notably circumscision. Gradualy Christianity moved away from its Jewish origins to more Greco-Roman influences. A factor here was in the Jewish uprising in Jeruselem. The Roman supression of the Jews in the province included the Jesus movment. Thus the center of Christianity shifted from Jerusalem to the gentile communities in Greece, Turkey, and Rome where Peter and Paul preached. The image of the good shephered for example was a Roman icon for plinanthropy and civic duty. Romans looked on Christians as supertitious. Christians as the movement grew in strength laughed at Roman gods and their myths and traditions. This was, howeve, dangerous. The Roman gods and adoration of the emperor was the state religion and practice of the religion was considered a civic duty. The Romans were unsure how to treat early Christians. Religious authorities, including Jewish, complained because the Christians were attracting their followers. But the Christians for the most part honest, law abiding people. Persecutions in the 1st century were limited involving realtively few people. Early Christians were seen as Jews and thus exempted from certain civic duties such as sacrificing to the emperor. The Christian Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John) provide different views of the gradual separation of Christiand from Jews. Here the general trend was the expulsion of Christiand from the Tempels rather than Christiams leaving the Jewsish faith. The Gospels differ because they were written at different times and in different location.

2nd century
Christianity by the second century was emerging as an entirely new religion, separate from Judiaism. As a result, Roman attitudes began to reflect that shift. Christianity was not seen as a religion, but rather a superstition. As Christianity emerged from Judiaism, a serious problem developed. Christians lost the protection afforded to members of a recognized religion. The very newness of Christianity precluded Roman authorities from seeing Christianity as a real religion. Roman governors wrestled with how to treat Chridstians. Those adversely affected by Christians (pagan priets, Jewish authorities, personal enemies, competing merchant, ect. denounced Christians. It was the failure to perform civic duties that led to Chrisians being seen as criminals. Pliny the Elder in the early 2nd century was unsure how to deal with Christians brought into his court. Few were accused of any crime other than that they were accused of being Christians. Pliny decided on giving the accused the chance to recant and prove their sincerity by sacrificing to to the emperor. Gradually this approach became strandard practice throughout the empire. The nature of Christianity also evolved. Jesus had preached the coming of the kingdom of God. Gradually Christians began reinterpreting the message. Jesus himself became the message. There were in Imperial Rome many religious sects in the Roman Empire (Isis, Mythrus, and others) of considerable importance. While know long gone, these cults appear to have had a important influences on Christiamity. There are significant similaritities between nIsis and how Mary is venerated. The most important feast day of Mythrus is December 25. Pagan Romen was very tolernt of other religions, as long as they did not threaten Roman political authority. Christians who refused to perform their civic duties such as sacrifice to the emperor and engage in other state ceremonies seemed to represent a danger. Supression of the Christians was not, however, systematic. It was largely local and sporadic. Christians that were denounced were arrested, but Roman authorities never launched a sustematic effort to find and arrest Christians. It was not uncommon for Christians to visit their frinds and relatibes that had been arrested without fear of impriosonment themmselves.

3rd century
It seems strange that Christians officially outlawed by Roman authoirities would triumph in the struggle for the soul od the Empire. Christian historians have stressed the superior religious message of Christianity. Paganism was a polytheistic creed. Monotheism is generally viewed as a more advance level of religion. Christianity offered dignity in this life and hope of after life. Christianity was especially appealing to the huge number of slaves in the Roman Empire. Roman Gods looked much like the emperor and powerful men of the Senate. Christianity preached that man, all men, were created in God's image. This was a powerful message not offered by other competing rligious sects in the Empire. Modern historians stress the social mutual support offered church members as a major reason for the success of Christianity. The Church fed the hungary and cared for widows and orphans at a time when there was no state institutions to do so. Many of the early Church institutions which began to appear in the mid-3rd century developed to administer social welfare. Mutual social support had been a factor from the ealiest days of Christianity, but by the mid-3rd century it had reached a level that formal ibstitutions and organization were required. Christianity became almost a state within a state. Roman Imperial authorites felt poweer slipping away. The Germamans and the Persians reprented increasing dangers. Some see that the declining respect for the traditional religion as the cause of the Empire's inability to deal with its external enenies. The Christians with their rejectionsof the traditional gods were blamed for breaking the contract between Rome anf the gods and were blamed for natural disasters as well as foreign reversals. The Emperot Desius in 250 AD launched a majoir persecution of the Christians. Even the name Chritianius was enouch to be arrested. This persecution was much more extensive than earlier persecutions. The reactions of Christians was different than that of the early martyrs. They did not willingly awccept martyrdom. Some fled to the hills. Many recanted and offered sacrifices to the emperor or at least obtained documents attesting that they had done so. It was Diocletian (284-305 AD) that conducted the last effort to supress the Chritians, but by this time they were just too numerous. In addition, they held many important imperial posts. Many Christians were literate because it was important to read holy scriptures. Thus the imperial admministration could no longer run without Christians. By the last decade of the 3rd century, there was a surge in converts. Christians wre becoming a majority in many areas.

Roman Empire
Despite three centuries of supression, Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire at the beginning of the 4th century AD. The turning point occurred in the first decade of 4th century with the resignation of Diocletian (305 AD). A power struggle followed. A first political, open hostilities broke out between Maxentius and Constantine (310). Constanine was not a Christian, but a devotee of god of war Mars and the Sun god Apollo--Sol Invictus. He was, however, favorably disposed toward the Christians because his mother, later consecrated as St. Helena, was a Chritian. Constantine the night befor the decisive battle with Maxentius had a vision of the Sun with the image of the Cross and the legnd "By this coinquer". He had his men paint croses on their shields and won the decisive victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 AD), leaving Constantine in control of the Empire. When Diocletian and Maximian retired (305), persecution of the Christians was still in progress. Constantine realized that the Christians were a major force. They had tp be supressed or integrated. There were still many in imperial circles that wanted to supress the Christians. Constantine was a pragmatist and astutely asessed the growing strength of the Christians. After Constantine's victory, he rally ended all persecution and even made arrangment for restitution if possible. He not only end the suppression, but actively promoted the Church, allocating money to build churhes, pasy salaries, copy and manuscripts. Christians were granted freedom of worship, including publi devotions. Sunday was made a day of rest, although the name suggests this was in deference to Apllo. Constantine also relocated the imperial capital from Rome to Constantinopke, a straetegic location on the Bosporous. Constantine sought unity. While the Church received official sanction and support, the Church now was less independent and had to submpit to imperial political control. One of the first actions of the Church once it obtained imperial sanction was was to begin the procecutions of other Christians who did not conform to approved theology. Church leaders sought to supress Marsian and Gonostics Christians.

The Papacy
The primacy of the papacy in the Roman Catholic or Western Church is based on authority conveyed to the apostle Peter by Jesus who told him that hecwould be the rock upon which the Church would be built. Peter was the first bishop of Rome. Subsequent popes were primarily bishops of Rome in a Curch that was not centralized in any real way. This of course made in difficult for the Roman Empire to effectivdely supress the early Church. The Roman Empire itself was, however, highly centralized. Even with limited reak authority, the Bishop of Rome had enormous influence in an empire centered on Rome. The first pope who attempted to aggresively exert his authority as pope was Victor I (189-198). Withoutvthe authority of the state, such authority was limited. Victor attempted to secure uniformity in Church practice and took issue with thediffereingb practices in the East such as the date for Easter. The first clearly defined powerful pope was Leo I (440-61). Leo attempted to establish a system of papal vicariates through which Roman church oractice could be inforced. While information on may early popes is sparse, by the time of Gregory I the Great (590-604) we know much more about the papacy. The papacy at this time had extensive land holdings in North Africa, Sicily, and Gaul. Gergory not onlt managed to preserve these land holdings throgh the tumultous period of babarain invasioins, but laid the ground work for the conversion of the pagan tribes and the authority of the papacy as new Feudal states and principalities arose in the West.

The precise character of Jesus and the Holy Trinity is a matter of doctrinal dispute among Christian denominations. It was an issue that several early Church councils wrestled with and continues to separate the major Christian denominations today. Here the early Church did not have the organization or the scholarship to deal with many issues arising from Christian scriptures such as the Trinity. Thus the Church had to turn to classical scholarship which had traditions like purgatory which have no basis in the Gospels or earlier Jewish tradition. As a result, the Church that emerged from the Roman Empire was a combination of both Jesus' teachings and classical scholarship. [Hanson]

Arian Heresy (4th Century)
The most serious issue in the newly legalized Christian Church was the nature of the Godhead, and specifically the precise relationship of the Son to the Father. In the early years of the Church, many thought Christ was not the earthly embodiment of God. Arius ( -336) was a presbyter at Alexandria, an important center of Christin teaching, and became prominent in the Church because of his preaching on the nature of the Trinity. Ariius taught Christ was not co-eternal with the Father and that Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were three separate and distinct manifestations. He believed that Son or Jesus was subordinate to the Father, in fact a creation of the Father. He insisted that if Jesus was the son of God that he must be on an order of importance less than God. Egyptian and Libyan bishops condemned his teachings (321 AD). Arius was excomunicated by his bishop, but his teaching hd considerable support within the Church. This did not end his teaching. Constantine sought unity. He summoned what has become known as the First Ecumenical Council of the church. The opening session was held on 20 May 325 in the great hall of the palace at Nicaea, Constantine himself presiding and giving the opening speech. He called the Council of Nicea to settle the theologicalm questions (325 AD). Athanasius was the chief opponent of Arius at the Council. Arius' views were consemned, his writings burned publically, and Arius banished to Illyria. The council formulated a creed which, although it was revised at the Council of Constantinople (381-82) and is today known the Nicene Creed. The Arian heresy did not end here. It was a factor in the conflict between Clovis and the Visagoths and between Arian and Catholic Gauks in Spain. Even today it is a theme in Christian theological debates, although it is not accepted by any important Christian Church.

The major denominations are the Catholic, Protestant and Oethodox or Eastern churches. There have been other denominations of considerable importance, some of which like the Copts still exist.

Islam (7th and 8th Centuries)
While Christianity rose in the Middle East, it was largely suplanted there by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Byzantine Empire for several centuries oprevented the spread of Islam into Europe, Moorish warriors from North Africa conquuered most of Spain and battle for France un the 8th century.

Medieval Church
The Christian Church developed in the Roman Empire. The supression of Christians was a constant theme during the reigns of many emperors. The early Church fathers (Peter, Paul, and many others) operated in this hostile environmnt. Finally with Constantine, the Church became the official religion of the Empire. Early Church theologiand like Augustine lived at a time that the Church was not only tolerated, but the official religion of the Empire and a rligion that acted to supress other rival creeds. The Church was thus significantly influenced by the Empire. Much of the Church's organization (pope, cardinal, bishop, ect) was a relection of how the Roman Empire was organized, although the modern organization of the Church and the primacy of the Pope only developed over time. The political structure of the Empire was reflected in how Christian diosceses were set up. Even before conversion, important local officials (Roman, Celtic, and Germanic) might protect or even endow monastaries and convents seeing it beneficial to have "a powehouse of prayer" in their territory. [Brown] One remarkable aspect of the triumph of Christianity in Europe was the fact that Christianity was the religion of the defeated Empire, yet it was gradually adoped by the victorious barbarians. The story of medieval conversions is a fascinating one. Actual conversion took many forms. Very few European people were Christianized by conquest. Rather conversion occurred by coverting leaders, primarily by persuasion. This process took many forms (missionary zeal, princly fiat, election, and shamanistic vision). Many features of the modern Church were not aspects of the early Church. One of the most important is the cult of the saints. Another is the confessional, intitially only practiced by the most deeply pious. One aspects of the confessional was tariffed penances based on penitentials. Surviving medieval penitentials provide a wealth of information to sociologists concerning the intimate details of everyday life. [Brown] Christianity became the principal European religion and as a result of European colonialism, the principal relogion of South and North America. for centuries in the Medieval Era, the Cathloic Church was the one unifying force in Europe and played a major role in the Feudal System.

Conflicting Papal Roles (10th Century)
The Papacy fased a crisis in the 10th century. The modern papacy had not yet emergred. Popes experienced increasing difficulties with their conflicting roles. The pope was responsible for the religious duties of the Rome bishopric, but the pope was also a aprince of Italy, the political leader of the Roman state, a sizeable part of central Italy. Even more the pope was the head of the Roman Catholic Church. There were considerable conflicts between these roles and the pope found himself in political conflict with important European rulers rather than the recognized head of the Church. This badly damaged the reputation and spiritual authority of the papacy.

East-West Division (1054)
Even before the fall of Rome, differences had begun to develop between the Eastern and Western churches. After Rome fell these differences gradually grew in significance and the Pope in Rome increasingly lost authority over the eastern churches to Patriarch of Constantinople. When the final break came in the 11th century, there were already in practice two separate churches. The formal schism came in 1054 when Pope Leo IX took the extrodinary actioin of excommunucating Michael Caerularuius who was the patriarch of Constantinople (1043-59) and by extension the entire Eastern Church. After the division of the Eastern and Western Empires it was perhaps inevilatable that the Church would also divide. It is perhaps surrising that the division took so long to become formalized.

Catharists (12-14th Century)
Historians use the term Catahrists or Cathari to described a large number of widely defused sects and were related to Gnostic Christianity. The Novatians in the 3rd century who had heretical beliefs about baptism. Some include the 10th century Paulicians in Thrace. The sect by the 12th centiry was of considerable importance in thecBalkans (Albania, Bulgaria, and Slavonia) before the Turkish conquest. In the West the sect began to gain importance in Turin about 1035 and were called Patarini from a street in Milan where rag gatheres were common. The Catahrists gained their greatest influence in southern France, especially around Montaillou, where they were called Albigenses or Poblicants (a coruption of Paulicians). They are also assiciated with the Waldenses of France, Germany, and Italy. The Catharists held Manichaean view and held to an asectic life style. Their religious ritual was simple. The Church was apauled at the growing strength of this hersey by the 13th century. The Catharists refused to pay tithes or give obedience to the Roman Church. Religious leaders were called "perfects" or "Good Men". The Church's reaction was to organize the only Crusade ever carried out in Europe. [Weis] The Cathar books and scrolls were destroyed to an extent that there are virtually no surviving documents. All we have are the records of the Dominican inquisators who persecuted them. Slowly the Catharists fell into the hands of the Inquisition. Many Catharists themselves were also condemned to the flames. The Catharists were doomed by the 14th century Crusade supported by the French monarchy which coveted the lands of unruly nobels who supported them. One writer describes the Crusade that suppresed the Catharuists as the largest land grab in French history. The province of Languedoc where people spoke Occitan was seized by the French. [O'Shea]

Great Schism (1378-1409)
The Great Schism occurred in 1378 as a result in the disputed succession after the death of Gregory XI. The cardinals chose a Neoploitan, Bartolommeo Prignano , pope as Urban VI at the conclave in Rome. Afterwards, several catdinals claimed they had been unduly pressured by the vilonence perpetrated by Urban's supporters. They elected Clement VII who took up residence in Avignon, France. This continued including rival successions. Finally at the Council of Pisa (1409), both rival popes, Gregory XII and Benedict XIII, were deooised and Alexander V elected as pope of a reunited Church.

Although generally classified by most scholars as the last century of the medieval era, the 14th century is generally seen as the beginning of the Renaissance and the beginning of a modern state of mind. "Renaissance" means "rebirth" in French and describes the cultural and economic changes that occurred in Europe beginning in the 14th century. The precise time is difficlt to set and of course varied accross Europe. The Renaissance began at Firenze around 1300 and gradually spread north. Even so, the indicators that constitute the Renaissance did not reach other areas of Europe 1-2 centuries. It was during the Renaissance that Europe emerged from the Feudal System of the Middle Ages. The stagnant Medieval economy began to expand. The Renaissance was not just a period of economic growth. It was an age of intense cultural ferment. Enormous changes began in artistic, social, scientific, and political endevours. Perhaps of greatest importance was that Europeans began to develop a radically different self image as they moved from a God-centered to a more humanistic outlook.

Modern Europe
It is in Europe that the modern concept of man develops along with democracy, experimental size, and entreprenurial capitalism. The Christian Church had a major role in its development. The Catholic Church helped launch many of the beginning steps, but then became a conservative force, supressing thinkers like Gaileo and Conpernicus. It is the mostly Protestant north where the modern outlook is launched. Historians debate the actual process. Some believe that religious faith played a major role. [Stark] This argument, however, seems rather strasined. Christianity does seem to have played a role in the development of the modern outlook, but it seems more likely that the Reformation with its emphasis on personal study and revelation that played a key role. While Protestant sects were often as authoritarian as Catholocism, the emphasis on self study created so many different sects that eventually religious toleration was the only practical outcome.

The Holy Office of the Inquisition was a system of tribunals which became a permanent institution charged by the Catholic Church to eradicate heresies and preserve the Faith. The Catholic Church, reflecting its Roman origins had a hierarchical structure with a strong central bureaucracy. When Constantine made Christianity the state religion, heresy became a crime under civil and not just cannon law. Heretics could now be punished by secular authorities. For centuries the Church addressed heresy in an ad hoc manner. But in the Middle Ages a permanent structure came into being to deal with the problem. Beginning in the 12th century, the Church decided to create a permanent institution to fight heresy. The Church in the 12th century was at the peak of its power. Its moral authority was unquestioned. The Papacy decided that strong action was needed to disuade non-conformistrs like the Catahri. Pope Gregory IX in 1231 published a decree detailing severe punishment for heretics and created the Inquisition to enfirce hisb decree. Pope Gregory gave the Dominican Order responsible for organizing the search and investigation of heretics, although individual inquisators did not have to be Dominicans. The Holy Office of the Inquisition by the end of the 13th century had been established througout Europe in all principalities loyal to the Catholic Church. Inquisitors had the authority to bring suit against any individual. Those accused by the Inquisition had virtually no rights as we know them today. The inquisators employed various means to ensure the accused cooperated in the trail. Until the creation of the Holy Office, there had been no tradition of routinely employing torture in Christian canon law, although it was commonly resorted to in civil trails. The Inquisition gradually adopted the measures used by civil authorities. Inquisators were commonly resorting to coersive measures including torture by the mid-13th century. The inquisators findings were read before a large audience. The now chastened penitents would abjure on their knees with one hand on a Bible held by the inquisitor that they now rejected their heretical beliefs. A variety of absues soon occurred in local inquisitions. The confiscation of property was a powerful inducement to coruption. Also accusations to the Inquisition became a an all too frequrent way of settling persoinal disputes and vendettas. The papacy, as a result of local abuses, acted to limit the Inquisition. The papacy both issued reforms and regulated the Inquisition. Paul III became pope in 1241. He quickly established a more organized system for administering the Inquisition. Secular authorities in many areas began to intervene by the 14th century. Ferdinand and Isabel, after finally defeating the Moors in 1492 embarked on an effort to purify Spain. They gave the Spanish Inquisition independent from Rome. Spanish authorities dealt harshly with suposedly insincere converted Moslems and Jews ( conversos ) as well as illuminists. The Spanish Inquisition with its massive public autos-da-fé became notorious throughout Europe, but especially Elizabethan England which was targeted by the Spanish Armada and would have faced the Inquisition if Phulip II's forces had succeeded. Elizabethan courtiers and churchmen were thus active in spreading especially lurid accounts of the Spanish Inquisition. Elsewhere in Europe, especially the North, the Inquisition was more benign.

The Protestant Reformation
The Protestan Revolution was the religious struggle during the 16th and 17th century which began as an effort to reform the Catholic Church and ended with the splintering of the Western Christendom into the Catholic and Protestant churches. Combined with the Renaissance which preceeded it, the reformatuin marked the end of the Medieval world and the beginning of a modern world view. The French Revolution which followed the Reformation in the 18th century marked the beginning of our modern age. Conditions developing in Medieval Europe laid the groundwork for the Reformation. The Reformation began when a German monk, Martin Luthur nailed his 95 Thesis on the church door in ??? (1517). Luthur was offended by the papal sale of indulgences by which the Renaissance popes were fiancing the splendid new church of St. Peters in Rome. Luthur's concern with indulgences were soon mixed with a complex mix of doctrinal, political, economic, and cultural issues that would take Ruropean Church anfd temporal leaders nearly two centuries to partially resolve and several devestating wars, especially the 30 Years War in Germany. Western Christendom would be left permanently split and even the Cathloic Church profoundly changed. Changes in man's view og himself and the Church were to also affect his view relative to the state and many in Europe began to question royal absolutism and divinr right monarchy, a process keading to the French Revolution.

Counter Reformation
The Church by the beginning of the 17th century had reconstituted itself as a resesult of its efforts to combat the Reformation.

French Revolution
The Church was a primary piller of the Ancien Regime. One of the main elements of the Revolution was anti-clericism. The Revolution through Catholic forces in Europe, only recently recovering from the Reformation, into disorder. French Republican agents in Italy forced Pope Pius VI from Rome as a prisoner (1798). He died the next year in Valence. Napoleon ordered no new pope be elected. Napoleon was to end the Holy Roman Empire in Germany with its Hapsburg emperor. He might have done the same to the papacy. Cardinal Chiaramonti who became Pope Pius VII (1800-23) managed to save the papacy through the personal relationship with Napoleon. Napoleon was to have him there for his crowing as emperor in 1800. Under his papcy the modern Catholic church began to take shape, both during Napoleon's rule and in the Bourbon restoration that followed it.

Religious Toleration

Protestant Missionaries
The history of Christian missionaies is extensive and an important chapter of European history. It is largely an account of the Catholic Church. This did not change until the 19th century when Victorians, especially the English, began to evangelize the Gospel. British missionaries set out to bring the Gospel to the new Empire. Protestant missionaries were different from the Catholic missionaries in that they brought their families with them. British colonial officizals by the 19th century were also bringing their families, but were more likely to live in cloistered foreign communities. The missionary families were more likely to live with the local population since their mission was to convert them. American Protestants also took up this mission, especially after the Civil War (1861-65). American missionzaries went to many foreign locations, but no country fired the American missionary zeal more than China. The Espeys were part of this missionary effort. The missionaries themselves were concerned with salvation. There effort was, however, much more significant. With them they brought modernity and opening to a wider world. Often they set up schools, the first modern schools in China. In their wake came businessmen. They brought with them American products, stimulating a demand for these goods. Europeans seized control of treaty ports in China. The United States did not do this, but there were military consequences. The Japanese invasion of China (1937) was accompanied with horendous attrocities against Chinese civilians. Reports from missionaries in China had a profound impact on American public opinion. Thus when President Roosevelt began a series of diplomatic efforts including embargoes to force Japan out of China, he received considerable support in still largely isolationist America.

Faith Healing
Christian faith healing is as as old as Christianity, in fact older. Jesus as a Jewish teacher before the Christian Church was established was noted for performing miracles, especially healing the sick. As the New Testament accounts progress, Jesus' healings become more and more marvelous, culminating in raising the dead. In the early Church, the remains of the saints as other icons came to be seen as having curative powers. Cathedrals vied with each other over the holy icons they possessed, in part to more effectively attrat pilgrims, many of which had aliments for which they were seeking cures. The Protestant Churchs formed by the Reformation for the most part looked askance at icons and faith healing. Protestant faith heeling did There is, however, did develop, although not among the main steam denominations. There have even been children noted for their curing abilities.

Religious Clothing
Church attendance used to be an occasion for dressing up in your best clothes. This was as true for children as their parents. Church is no longer such a formal occasion. Men commonly still wear a sports coat and tie, but often not a suit. Boys are much less likely to wear a sports jacket or suit. Special days such as Easter and Christmas or events such as weddings and christenings, however, still often are occasions for formal dress.

Brown, Peter. The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000 2nd edition (Blackwell paperback: 2003), 625p.

Hanson, Vicor Davis. Book-TV C-Span 2, March 7, 2004.

O'Shea, Stephen. The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars (Walker, 2001), 333p.

Stark, Rodney. For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformation, Science, and The End of Slavery (Princeton University Press, 2003), 488p.

Weis, René. The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars, 1290-1329 (Knopf, 2001), 399p.


Post by Gelin_ » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:09 am

leonel, your text is extremely long, but right from the start the writer is off the mark:

[quote]The Christian religion is one of the three great monotheistic religions to emerge out of the Middle East. Christianity was a small sect of Judaism until Paul extended the faith to gentiles...[/quote]
Wrong! The records show clearly that the doctrine of Jesus was embraced by both Jews and Gentiles very early in the 1st century A.D. At that time, there was no pope whatsoever (not even the papacy idea), and Rome was attempting to destroy the faith through persecutions throughout the empire. Therefore, the idea that a certain pope extended the faith to the gentiles is simply false.


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