History Summarized: Spread of Christianity

Posted By on September 2, 2019


If you live in the northern hemisphere and have stepped outside as of late, you’ve probably realized that it’s colder than the farthest reaches of space. That’s because it’s winter. Hopefully this isn’t news to you, because if it is, you need to stop watching this immediately and brush up on your Magic School Bus as fast as you possibly can. Assuming we’re all on the same page and know how seasons work, you’re probably enjoying the holiday season, and if you’re a Westerner, odds are the biggest one for you is Christmas. You’ve probably decorated a tree, hung up lights, unwrapped enough presents to furnish a Viking funeral, or maybe just watched that one episode of Stranger Things on loop for three days straight. The thing is, you probably already know that none of these were original Christmas traditions way back in the day, and if we’re really trying to go for authenticity here, we shouldn’t be doing any of this in the winter at all. But you know what, to just explain what Christianity is and how it got to where it is now, I think we need to back up and start from the beginning. Yes, The Beginning. The Gospel of John starts with: “In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now what’s all this about the Word? What does that even mean? While we’re at it, how is the Word with God and also God? Why do the other three gospels start completely differently? Also, where does Jesus come into this, and wasn’t he Jewish? My point is that there’s certainly a lot of questions that come up here, and Christianity is rife with this kind of historical and theological intrigue. Despite how widespread it is in our world, it seems like the history of Christianity is almost universally glossed over or mythologized. But the fact of the matter is there’s solid and well documented history here, and I think it would do us a world of good to be educated on it. I won’t talk about Jesus’s life because you all know the highlights already. Instead, I’m going to talk about how the development of Christian doctrine is heavily influenced by its political, historical, and philosophical context. We start in the 1st century AD. The time period containing the growth of early Christianity is a fascinating time historically, as the newly formed Roman Empire was having a grand old time expanding into the Levant. The relationship between Romans and the history of Judaism is easily its own video but for the time being let it suffice to say that they really, really did not get on all that well. I will though explain that Roman religion was defined by inclusivity – shocker, right – well, the Romans believed that they had to do what they could to secure what’s called the pax deorum – the goodwill of the gods – and they were totally cool with doing whatever they needed to do to get it. That’s why their pantheon is full of gods, and every time they conquered some new territory the top of their to-do list is either finding a way to incorporate these new gods by adding them to the pantheon as is or combining them with an existing Roman god. Acquiring this pax deorum was absolutely essential to the welfare of Rome, so religious life went hand in hand with politics. It was similar to the Chinese concept of the Mandate of Heaven: if they lost the divine double thumbs up, their empire would crumble, and nobody wanted that. (Well, nobody Roman.) It’s not that the church and state weren’t separated, it’s that the church was the state. Now baby Christianity was very much the opposite, in that instead of trying to blend into the Roman pantheon and the politics thereof, Christianity insisted that it remained separate, distinct, and unique. To put it simply, the premise of holding on to their unified identity above all else is single-handedly the reason for Christianity’s staggering success as well as the reason for nearly all of the problems it would have throughout history and even today. Now Rome was no slouch when it came to religious toleration, believe it or not. Most Romans partook in what we call mystery religions — groups that met to practice quasi-secret rites in order to worship particular gods – and there were tons of them. Think of any pagan god. There was probably a mystery cult specifically for them. And Rome was eventually more or less on board with it because the Romans knew that no matter what a citizen did or which god a citizen worshipped the most in private, when it came to them as a collective of citizens they were always on board with the full Roman pantheon and were right there helping Rome keep its precious pax deorum. Now here’s the trick. Christianity’s desire to be separate and do their own religious thing apart from Roman state helps explain why the Christians were so fiercely prosecuted. If Christians didn’t conform to the Roman religion, or at least accept it in addition to their own personal devotion to Christ, Rome saw itself as being robbed of pax deorum and as a result doomed to fail. Most of us today will agree that persecuting a religion or its people simply for their beliefs is totally wrong, but if you look at it through Rome’s perspective, it does make sense why they saw Christianity as such a threat to their state. From their perspective, just by holding on to their beliefs, Christianity was disrespecting the very gods that let Rome maintain its empire at all. So this led to a slew of persecutions throughout the next few centuries, but no matter how hard Rome tried, Christianity didn’t stop. In fact, persecution probably made Christianity even stronger. It’s that whole martyr thing at the core of the religion. Think of it as “If Jesus died for our sins, we need to hold fast to our belief in him, despite how badly we’re being persecuted. He suffered through it and so can we.” There are certainly a multitude of things about Christianity that were appealing, and the afterlife is for sure on that list, but Christianity may have struck where other religions failed because of its emphasis on overcoming challenges through unity and the strength of faith in the face of open persecution. All this was going on for a few hundred years; the New Testament is slowly getting codified as Christianity tries to figure out exactly what it is. The main conflict was between the influences of Judaism and Hellenism. Jesus was Jewish and so are most of his early followers. Christianity was originally very much an offshoot of Judaism, and that’s no surprise since there were a whole bunch of them running around at the time, like those guys who made the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyway, it’s kind of why the Hebrew Bible ended up becoming the Old Testament. Christianity was, at least way back then, fundamentally Jewish, and was building on a solid framework of Jewish beliefs. The problem was that there was also a heavy push to be more Greek. If you look at the places where Paul sends his letters about how great Jesus was, you’ll notice that more than half of them are Greek places, and of course Greek was the common language of the eastern Mediterranean world thanks to our old friend Alexander the Great. But that’s another story entirely. To solve this vexing problem about where to go and what to do, the early church took the bold stance of “¿porque no los dos?” and made itself Greek and Jewish. That’s probably one reason why the final codified version of the New Testament has four gospels, each written as to appeal to a somewhat different group of people. The gospels are almost a choose-your-own-adventure of religious teaching. Matthew spoke to the Jews by relating everything back to Hebrew scripture and showing how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy and laws. Mark spoke to the Romans by emphasizing Jesus’s actions as a leader to appeal to their whole imperialistic thing. Luke spoke to the Greeks by playing to their culture’s desire to live a happy and erudite life, and the gospel of John from earlier speaks to all audiences, but takes a hard right turn into serious platonic philosophy to show how Jesus was the divine reason itself incarnate. In fact, in Christianity’s first 500 years the vast majority of theology we see is profoundly influenced by Greek philosophy, and specifically Plato, and the importance he places on the Word – otherwise, you know, speech – Logos in the Greek – reason. According to John, Jesus is the physical manifestation of this divine reason. But to get back to one of our questions from the beginning, how was the Word both God and with God? That’s where the second big conflict comes in. Is the church to be Trinitarian or not? That is, are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit the same thing, or is Jesus just a prophet sent by a God who was not actually his father? Here we see another geographical split. While the fight between leaning towards Greek or Jewish influence was more or less east to west, this Trinitarian split was more north to south. It’s all because of an early theologian by the name of Arius, whose advocacy of non-Trinitarian theology inspired a Gothic Christian missionary named Ulfilas to spread non-Trinitarian Christianity all around the Germanic tribes. Most of Southern Europe remained firmly Trinitarian. Non-Trinitarian Christianity, however, was a home run in the north, and brushing over a number of historical hiccups for the sake of time, a decent number of people were converted from both Paganism and non-Trinitarianism into Trinitarian Catholicism in a few centuries. Speaking of which, side note, the word “catholic” comes from the Greek words meaning “universal”. With that, let’s jump back in time to Rome. While all these philosophical debates were going on, Christianity was gaining ground within the Roman empire. The first big example of this is Constantine, who was born a pagan but raised by a Christian mother. Now Constantine wasn’t born as the heir to the whole empire. He had to earn that particular title by fighting one of Rome’s very peculiar 4-way civil wars which happened every now and again throughout the 3rd and 4th centuries. The night before a battle with the ruler of one such fourth of the empire which contained Italy and North Africa, Constantine had a dream in which he was instructed to paint the Christian Chi-Rho symbol, the first two Greek letters of Christ, onto his army’s shields, so he did and they won and in 313 he delivered the edict of Milan which legalized Christianity within the empire. So at this point paganism was still in charge but Constantine effectively said that Christianity can contribute to securing the pax deorum too. And this makes sense because, from Constantine’s perspective, Christianity absolutely delivered pax deorum by helping him win this battle and unite the empire. The important distinction to note here is that this decree only indicated Rome’s tolerance for Christianity. It didn’t become the official state religion until the emperor Theodosius made it so in 380 CE. From this point on my historical command becomes foggier and events stop happening quite as fast so the rest of this history will be in more of a vignette style. Since Christianity was now the official religion of the empire, it needed a new Roman makeover, so it would fit. This is the part where Christmas probably gets co-opted into one of at least two pre-existing Roman festivals. The evidence isn’t all there but the seasonal and thematic correspondences are hard to miss. Since historians actually have no original evidence at all that Jesus was born on December 25th, or any day for that matter, the Saturnalia and Sol Invictus festivals are our best bets for which ones got linked in. Our friend Theodosius made the brilliant decision to split the empire between his two sons, which had only been the cause of, oh, about, I don’t know, like five civil wars in the past century. [sigh] It’s not been a winning strategy so far by any stretch, but since it didn’t immediately blow up in everyone’s face I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one. While the empire was getting irrevocably cleaved between east and west, the church has slowly but surely been drifting farther apart along those same lines for centuries. There really is no way to properly simplify this, but I also don’t want to get on too much of a tangent here. Suffice to say that any ideology will tend to conform to the culture it inhabits with time. In the case of Christianity the Roman west ended up taking it in a different direction than the predominantly Greek east. Differences ultimately involved issues like how monks should cut their hair, how to calculate when Easter should be celebrated and the more complex question of Jesus’s nature. Was it all divine or both human and divine? That is, was it in Jesus’s very nature to be able to sin? On one side, the monophysites – Greek for “one nature” – they said no, it’s only divine, it was impossible for Jesus to sin. The other side said that Jesus’s nature was both human and divine, so he could sin, but didn’t. Debates like this were all the rage in the first millennium of Christianity and most of them ended up with one brand of Christianity being deemed unorthodox which means they were anathematized, expelled from the church, and in effect condemned to burn in the eternal fires of hell. Reminds me of middle school. And remember, this is all just for having a different point of view than the central church did. The church took maintaining a uniform orthodoxy very seriously, but I mean, hey, whatever floats your ark, man. [bird chirping] I thought that joke was hilarious. The split between the eastern and western churches grew and grew and grew until they were so separate that both sides stopped responding to the other’s text messages entirely. This mutually assured silent treatment is known as the Great Schism of 1054, the point where the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches split up for good. You know the saying, if you can’t beat them, pretend like they don’t exist. When the split happened a young boy named Odo was 12 years old. Fast forward 14 years and our little Odo became Pope Urban II. Three years into his papacy he saw a golden opportunity to end this recently formed schism. The Byzantine empire had lost a major battle along with a sizable portion of Anatolia. It’s important to note here that the church in the west had formed what’s called the Papal States in central Italy in 754, which was really just a formal recognition of the political power the pope had enjoyed in the region for over a century already. What this means is that just like our old Roman government that saw church and state as one entity, the papacy in the seventh odd century had become as much a political position as it was a religious one. The pope was running the civic business in Rome for some time at this point in history and it had also since picked up a nice little swath of territory. If you ask me, I think it’s actually really neat to see the Catholic Church emulating Rome in this way. Back to the point. Pope Urban saw a brilliant opportunity to help out the Byzantines and get their land back for them in the hope that Byzantium would recognize the benefits of sticking with the pope and Catholicism and that all that business of splitting off was just a phase. Basically Urban wanted to do the Byzantines a solid favor and have the Orthodox church repay it by running right back into the pope’s loving arms. This “favor” lasted for a few hundred years, and we today call it the Crusades. You may recall that Dante’s Inferno devotes several passages solely to bemoaning the state of the church. – For those keeping score, that’s so far a handful of popes and one major city that Dante’s blaming for the sorry state of the church. – Well, tellingly, another two hundred years later we have the Borgias, the holiest of holy families. (He said overly sarcastically.) And given that little tangle of a family tree can be considered devout, it is no surprise that at this point in history enough people are bothered by not just the Church’s debauchery, but the heavy politicking to do something drastic. Cue Martin Luther. Our pal Martin Luther’s main objection to the church was the common practice of selling indulgences. You can check out Red’s series on Dante’s Divine Comedy for more on this, but the idea is that if you sinned, you can repay the church to cut down on the amount of time your soul has to spend in purgatory before ascending to heaven. Essentially, give the church money and your sins won’t count. Martin Luther thought this and a bunch of other stuff was way wrong, but after he got no traction inside the church, he set about creating his own offshoot branch of Christianity that abstained from priestly hierarchies entirely and believed that everyone should read the Bible. Since a lot of Europe was kind of thinking the same thing as Martin Luther, and since the new invention of the printing press half a century before made large-scale communication a breeze, protest-ant-ism — Protestantism as it was called, get it – spread rapidly through the north. Soon enough you had entire communities, towns and cities rejecting hierarchies and basking in their ability to all read the Bible together and come to their own conclusions. This was all well and good until there were so many people coming up with their own interpretations that each person believed was totally right and that everyone else, especially Catholics, were obviously dead wrong, and then you get fighting – a lot of fighting. Eventually small revolts here and there gave way to entire nations breaking away from the pope and going on to do their own thing. That means now proper armies are killing each other over religion. Whoa, wait Guys – aren’t we all here because we love Jesus? No? You mean we have to make sure that our super-niche version of following and praising the same person as you is the right one, and to prove it we’ll literally kill you? Or just kill you because we have political beef with you and see this is a good enough time as any to take out our otherwise secular aggressions? Yeah, seems legit. In all seriousness, the absurdity we’re seeing here is a byproduct of the very thing that let Christianity become so powerful and widespread in the first place: the determination to hold to one’s own beliefs in the face of persecution and any external force that seeks to invalidate it. See, it’s an admirable concept and probably the reason it survived its early history, but like anything rooted in stubbornness it leads to tension. It was functionally a Christian civil war broke out because all sides were so dead set on their own interpretation. What you got was a collision between multiple immovable objects and the end result was a lot of collateral damage. It’s also interesting to note that Christianity didn’t inherit this trait from Judaism. You see, an intrinsic part of the Jewish belief system was that the Torah was meant to be debated over. It was almost its own form of worship for rabbis to just convene and argue for hours at a time over the meaning of these texts. I’ll go into more detail when I cover Judaism in its own video, but basically it was an accepted and fundamental part of the culture to present individual interpretations of sacred texts and debate their respective merits with the understanding that there was unlikely to be one right answer. Now, to be fair, what Christianity did have was a system of ecumenical councils, councils where bishops would gather to debate on matters of doctrine. However at the end of each council the bishops would vote on which side would be adopted as the official belief. So the proud tradition of debate lives on! Sort of, because at the end of the day Christianity is still pretty solidly rooted in that idea that there’s one interpretation of the texts, even if that one interpretation takes some discussion to get to. That said, the verdict of the council was overturned now and again, but this tradition of ecumenical councils nevertheless institutionalized the pursuit of one doctrine. This is another iffy consequence of that same strength of belief that carried Christianity through centuries of conflict, albeit sometimes self-induced. It’s the trade-off between strength and flexibility and Christianity is nothing if not strong. Fortunately though, when you do get big huge multinational wars popping up over the issue, eventually everyone gets it out of their system, and by the turn of the 18th century there was a huge outpouring of religious toleration from governments and between people, because everyone just kind of got tired of killing each other over this. Pretty much everyone walked away from the Reformation wars with the conclusion that “Yeah, it was pretty terrible. I think I’m just gonna let those guys do their thing and I’ll go do my own thing in my own church. Good deal, good deal.” It’s thanks to the fact that everyone calmed down and got on that whole diversity of thought bandwagon that we ever got the Enlightenment in the following century at all, which is almost universally accepted as being a very good thing. People just stopped caring about everyone else’s religion and the public discourse and popular culture turned more to matters of politics, economics, sociology, science and philosophy, which is why the Enlightenment was the intellectual powerhouse it was. It’s because of all this that we went back to the good old days, you know, when wars were fought for sensible reasons like politics and territorial disputes and centuries-old grudges between two countries that should probably just make up and kiss already. You know, sensible reasons. To recap our history. Christianity survived the harshest possible circumstances under Roman persecution, tailored their beliefs to appeal to multiple cultural demographics, reconciled one doctrinal dispute but split the church over another and capped it off with one big civil war of sorts. After which everyone got along and lived happily ever after, or maybe I just stopped caring after 1800, but who’s keeping track? Oh… Hey, sophomore year high school European history class. I totally remember you. You’re the one with the wars right? Christianity had a hard time figuring itself out for one key reason. Here’s the thing. You never see religions with belief systems as disparate as say, Judaism and Buddhism arguing with each other, because, well, there’s so little overlap between them to argue about in the first place. It’s compare and contrast instead of “I’m right, you’re wrong”. When it’s two competing sects of one religion, though, there are specific things to disagree on, and you get much more pointed arguments, as we saw with Christianity, and as I touched on in Judaism, though it’s much less of a right-wrong binary there, but that’s for its own reasons. I like to think of it as an uncanny valley of religion. It looks similar to ours, it acts similar to ours, but it’s not. It’s somehow wrong. And we want to fix those tiny little things so they can be right and be like us and we can all be happy together, but they want to do the same thing to us because to them we’re in the uncanny valley and we need to be fixed. This is the fundamental unfortunate side effect of one of Christianity’s greatest strengths, for all the good it’s done, and please don’t think I’m underselling the importance of the orphanages, schools, hospitals and medical missions Christianity has consistently been a huge proponent of for centuries. I think if we start from the platform that we all have a lot to learn about each other, we can do way more good than if we just assume we already know everything about everything. No one is completely right. I think sometimes the only option is to agree to disagree on certain things and respect the other person’s opinion. It’s not going to make everyone happy, because being disagreed with feels kinda ughh, but being happy all the time is less important than being good to people. Wasn’t Jesus’s big lesson all about occasionally turning the other cheek? You know, love thy neighbor. Give a hoot, don’t pollute. It’s all right there in the gospels people, come on! In summation, Christianity has done a lot of amazing things for civilization in the past 2,000 years, but to understand why and to make the most out of it we need to learn how it succeeded and where it failed if we’re to make progress now. You know what they say about learning history, right? Well, what they usually say around this time of year is “Oh, God, I need to learn three months worth of history or I’ll fail this final” which in its own way is a nice example of the whole doomed to repeating thing But I digress Anyway, now that all that is out of the way, go and get back to playing with those gifts you got from a fourth century saint with an affinity for women of the night who dropped your presents down a shaft meant for fire. Man, Christmas is weird.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 100 comments

  1. Jeez, all this murder to decide what's canon? Personally, I'm a follower of Norse Gods and while I'm not a fan of what the church has done sometimes or what certain jerks claim to do "as Christians", I have nothing against the religion itself, or any other for that matter. When it comes to differing beliefs, I find the best policy is: let me do me and I'll let you do you. We don't have to agree, we just have to get along.

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  2. I'm sorry, what high school did you go to? Religion was something we never covered if it was monotheist, for obvious reasons.

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  3. Actually Jesus, real Jesuah (pronounced with a "y" sound at the beginning, I probably spelled that wrong, I'm not well versed in Hebrew) was all about how everyone, even him, is imperfect, and needs to learn and repent. His big message on the cross was "forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." I wouldn't call it turning the other cheek so much as being understanding and not being quick to condemn. But that's just my interpretation, you're entitled to your own. Mathew 7:1-2 has always been a favorite of mine.

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  4. 1 John 1:1 refers to Genesis 1:1. The Evangelist was referring to the High Christology of Jesus Christ.

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  5. St, Tertullian first stated that the 25th of December as Christs birth. Constantine became emperor after he swept aside the other four tetrarchs. Also the term "Protestants" come from "The Diet of Worms" a parliament set up in the German town of Worms.

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  6. Finish enough, two of the most successful “Barbarian” groups were the two who converted to Trinitarianism as opposed to Arianism, them being the Franks and Anglo-Saxons.

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  7. As a christian myself what you said is true people and even us christians always misinterpreted the meaning of the bible even though it is literally written all over it, which is love eachother.

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  8. I’m really glad you did not try to kill the religion but instead look at it’s history from a impartial view. Thank you Blue

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  9. I'm definitely late to this party, but I just wanted to say, I don't know if you're a Christian or not, but as someone that personally follows Christ, thank you for your intelligent, thoughtful, and peaceful explanation of the history of my faith.

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  10. It was the soundtrack that did it for me. Nice overview Blue. Definitely not too preachy😉…now could we get another order of that unleavened bread? Same as before with the sauce, cheese & pepperoni. This totally going to catch on!

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  11. Can you please stick with AD and BC? Using CE and BCE is quite confusing especially when you're using BC too

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  12. Why have you labored Christianity’s flaws and the ways it can be improved, yet didn’t touch on this at all in the Islam video? I like your videos but you’ve fallen into the trap of bashing Christianity because it’s an easy target but sucking up to Islam because you know it’s a more sensitive area.

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  13. Me: I live in Texas. Of course I know how was one work. There's Heat stoke, allergy, mild discomfort, continuation of allergy season. (Summer, fall, winter, spring)

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  14. No mention of decorating a evergreen conifer or a fat guy living at the north pole who breaks once a year into your house to leave gifts behind(????) or a bunny hiding painted eggs and what that has to do with a jew from the a distant roman colony.

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  15. I'm no longer a Christian, but our entire humanist ethics and civilization is still based on Christianity. You can't not have enormous respect for the majesty of the Holy Mother Church, no matter its foibles. The very idea of human rights is something that isn't obvious, and was created by Christianity's focus on the importance of the individual soul.

    Also, god DAMN, their chants are good. Love me some Gregorian chants.

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  16. I know this is years late, but dang I still see the whole "bishop's meeting up and voting" thing in my Southern Baptist church. The kinda official's called deacons meetup up every so often and do things like vote on changes to the church and create little committees (there's even a committee on committees). Fr, no decision is made until a majority of these people agree on something and even then little things like the color of carpet in the chapel still get argued over so bad that people will legit think about leaving the church or complain to the pastor. It's so ridiculous. Though, being a teenager in the church, my friends and I just kinda roll out eyes at the pettiness of the older generations.

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  17. Hey Blue, have you heard, there are Christian Cults now! Mormons, Jahova's Witnesses, and etc. They follow the "my belief is right and yours is wrong" mentality. Then the conditioning happens aaannd whenever someone in that religion decides to follow a different one: Shun that Man! What's your opinion on this matter?

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  18. 16.00
    I love how every other country has one or two colours, when Poland looks like a freaking pride flag

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  19. wait, if christianity was persecuted and they persevered without retaliating even though they believed it way wrong, then why did they purposely force Wiccans and Pagans off of the sacred land and kill them? I mean come on, if they when thought that experience and hated it why did they make another religion suffer the same fate!?

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  20. For those who don't have a patreon please consider making a PayPal because I would be more than happy to donate to your cause for incredible education.

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  21. Finally someone figure out that us christains(at least when we’re the minority) grow from persecution

    4:17

    It fucking weird

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  22. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. The bible is used to interpret itself. You find that jesus is actually the word. Basically the word of God. Its complex but basically jesus also say I and my father are one. Basically jesus was with God during the creation. It also says in genesis let us make man in our image. But that gets over looked. Who is this us. The us is God and the word and jesus being the word. The bible tells you the meaning of itself. Says the same things multiple times confirming itself. Old and new testament.

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  23. You know I'm a Christian and actually am also a pastor's son so I am very religious. However in saying that I absolutely have no problem if you don't believe in God or believe in Hinduism or Buddhism or Islam even. I personally believe that we should not be afraid of talking about religion in order to not offend but we should have honest and polite conversations. In fact I even had a couple of friends who are Satanists and we had respectful talks about religion all the time/

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  24. Blue talk one facts about history that relates to Christianity.

    222 follower who wear red cloak and crosses came running to his house and shout “No body except the Spanish Inquisition!!”

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  25. Your video on African history was good but this was completely inaccurate & very anti-Catholic. Go to Vaticancatholic.com's YouTube channel for proof of the Catholic faith

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  26. other thing about Constantine he was pretty awful and murdered his own family bc he was convinced that they were plotting against him
    his mother Helena was famous and beloved by Roman Christians for doing Christian pilgrimages, and Constantine didn't convert until he was nearly dead. the Chi Ro symbol was actually sort of a lucky symbol in the ancient world and the story was retconned by the church years later despite little actual record of this being Constantine's "conversion."
    source: was taught the conversion story in Catholic middle school, researched a lot through podcasts etc to discover it was probably not really a conversion and just propaganda

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  27. God: thou shalt not murder (kill in english translation if you speak hebrew it says murder)
    christians: let's go kill everyone and conquer shit around the world in the name of God
    God: don't sin in my name
    Christians: murder rape and pillage people around the world in the name of God
    God: goddamnit
    God: Love thy neighbor as thy self
    Christians: LET'S BE RACISTS SUPREMACISTS
    God: your trying to disobey me as much as possible
    God: don't practice pagan stuff
    Catholics: Let's incorporate pagan stuff into christianity and make saint's up using gods and adopt pagan holidays with a christian twist
    God: you succeeded in disobeying in everyway possible. EVER
    God: don't force people to convert or die
    Crusaders: DEUS VULT INFIDEL
    Me: … at least i live in 2019

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  28. The Catholic Church may have been corrupt, but thinking that the average illiterate uneducated Joe the Plumber can make sound theological reasoning is absurd. The problem still exists today. No one is stupider than a schmuck with a Bible and a "personal relationship" with Jeebus. Also, your "history" is remarkably incomplete: I do love how you failed to mention any of the literal blood baths the Christians put all of Europe and large swaths of the world through. Thanks so much for this sanitized propaganda.

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  29. Thank you for this, I was having all these exact thoughts about my religion, Christianity. All the videos and writings that I found didn't focus on this type of rational thinking. It was all "You're doubting God? How dare you?! Look what he did with David and Goliath and this prophet and that prophet! Just pray!"

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  30. This is a very good summary, but it left out one thing which is critical to both the history of the church and the modern church: Celtic Christianity (well, you also left out the Great Awakening, but that is sort of tied into this and happened after the last time period you described here). When Saint Patrick first brought Christianity into Ireland, he brought a form of Christianity very unlike Catholicism. To put it simply, in Catholicism you belong because you are Catholic, and therefore non-Catholics have no place in Catholic regions, which is, in part, why early Catholicism is known for killing "heretics." In Celtic Christianity, however, you belong simply because of your faith in Christ. Catholicism held the Pope as God's representative on Earth, whereas the Celtic Christians believed that we were all equal under God. For some reason (I heard it was the endorsement of some Frankish king, but don't quote me on that), Catholicism took over Europe and Celtic Christianity died out. This was a crucial turning point in Christianity in Europe because it gave a few people all religious authority in Europe and arguably led to Protestantism, the Enlightenment, and the so-called "wars of religion [which were all actually for political power using religion as an excuse to legitimize the war to the soldiers, most of whom were illiterate and therefore did not know the Bible well enough to argue against the Catholic nobles who commanded them]."
    Source: The Celtic way of Evangelism, by George G. Hunter.
    Disclaimer: This comment is grossly oversimplified, and is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to the beliefs and/or history of Celtic Christianity.

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  31. Great video but there’s a few issues.

    But keeping the lighthearted humor of the situation, within the first few minutes, you said that Christianity was prosecuted. I would’ve loved to have seen the trial Jesus v. Roman Empire

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  32. It hurts knowing people who did very awful things claimed to do so in the name of a Man who would never countenance such atrocities, and they did so in the name of my own faith. Silver lining, they got a rude awakening when they died, and likely didn't get the afterlife they thought they were going to get.

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  33. I was wondering at the beginning why this sounded weird at first, but half way through I realized that this was centered around Catholicism and not Judaism

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  34. Ecumenical Councils+The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh = Roman Christian Bible. Jesus died on the cross. Jesus followers survive and their traditions survived hundreds of years until 125CE-325. Then when Rome was about to lose a major war, Constantine I Roman Emperor, had an epiphany and made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman empire. Pretty much all downhill from there.

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  35. God: love everybody, even if they hate you
    Some Christians: hates anybody who disagrees with them and LGBTQ+ people for existing
    God: Excuse me, I don’t recall stuttering

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  36. Born and raised in a catholic household here. One of my grand-aunts (the most fanatic one) told me once, when I expressed doubt (I was like 5yo, I guess), that once a priest thought the 'holy cracker' wasnt holy afterall, and then, in mass, it became flesh in his hands and the wine became blood. And he never doubted again. Of course, this terrified me at the time, and this is how catholicism had a major effect on my childhood.

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  37. Dude, you make the mistake of so many moderns in looking for useful things to get out of a religion while supposing there is no god. From your perspective it seems you’d prefer Christianity were simply a big charity and medical provider with no religious significance. I’m not saying its worthwhile to fight with people over religion but you have to understand that this isn’t about providing charity and being nice to people, it’s about drawing closer to god. The charity and kindness are just a byproduct of gods goodness.

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  38. Christianity was so stubborn it outlasted paganism by sticking it's fingers in it's ears, then stubborned itself into an identity crisis. I love these videos.

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  39. 0:17
    I’ve met a anti-evolution person that said “climate changes so fast everything couldn’t adapt to it”
    Not knowing seasonal climates are a thing and assuming that the seasons of cold as fuck and hot as fuck applied to everywhere in the world with no consistency and that the seasons weren’t a consistency and assumed… this happened on earth for all time

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  40. 14:00
    Actually no.
    To protect our children from going to hell because you and your children convinced them we’ll kill you

    Basically: think of the kids (and what god thinks when he sees us with these heretics)

    Basically some fundamental ideas Christianity and other abrahamic religious have

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  41. Uh, I never thought if the 4 gospels in that way. I knew it was four accounts of the life of Christ, but I never thought of them talking to different ethic groups. Learn something new about my faith everyday.

    Also to be fair to most of the religious wars in Europe it was either caused by two things
    1: Kings and Queens getting sick of being bossed around by the church and wanted to their own things (King Henry and his wives are a good example)
    2: Greed because the Church owned a lot of land around Europe and riches inside that land so if they decided to have a religious war they can shack those places places and take the gold without being seen as a bad guy because you where doing it in the name of God.

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  42. As a man who was raised in a religious home, (Protestant Christian btw) had gone through a Crisis of Faith, had a Season of Doubt and ultimately made the decision to follow the Faith, I feel that my life should emulate Christ, and follow his Doctrines.

    Thank you for an unbiased view at the history of Christianity.

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  43. 9:00 yes, I've played enough crusader Kings to know how UTTERLY USELESS AND WEAKENING AGNATIC GAVELKIND IS.

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  44. I'd like to add a few things about Martin Luther. First, it was never an official practice of the Church to sell indulgences. An indulgence is an act performed for the remission of temporal sin. This has to be in conjunction with the Sacrament of Penance, ie what we Catholics call confession. An indulgence is only good if you go to confession, go to Mass, and receive the other sacraments. The Catholic Church has never taught that an indulgence removes time from your debt in purgatory. That's actually a little outside of her jurisdiction, contrary to popular belief, but that didn't stop unscrupulous ne'er-do-wells from selling bits of fake relics to gullible fools who were too afraid of death and too lazy to make up for their actions on their own.

    Second, I will give credit where credit is due and say that Martin Luther was right in some cases. The biggest thorn in Germany around the time was paying taxes to the Church for the construction of churches in Italy. It was perfectly justifiable for the German Christians to protest because their money was going to churches most of them would never see.

    Third, Martin Luther's influence damaged Christianity. He never reformed anything and probably made matters worse. The whole point of Christianity was to have one, unified, universal Church. It's not really just a 'matter of opinion,' if your opinion causes approximately 30,000+ divisions 500 years later. Martin Luther was stubborn, arrogant, and had the support of German princes with their own political and personal reasons to leaven the Church of Rome. Luther got away with a lot of things because of this support. He turned Christianity on its head rather than reform anything from within. Francis of Assisi and others before Luther were far more successful and didn't start their own break away church. Luther allowed a German noble to marry a much younger girl, commit bigamy, and lie to subjects about it. Luther was anti-intellectual, contradictory, vulgar, and anti-semitic. Not to mention, he excited German princes and nobles to slaughter peasants in the numerous revolts that were instigated by Luther when he practically invited them to interpret the bible for themselves and stir trouble with the nobles. And then Luther had the audacity to be shocked when all of the new churches started popping up on his account. There was indeed, sadly, corruption, but none of his early writings make much noise of it after his trip to Rome and only later when he was rallying for his distinct congregation did Luther make a big hoopla over them.

    Fourth, the bible was available in other languages even in the time of Luther. We have fragments of gospels in Old English by Bede the Venerable (mid-700's). Cyril and Methodius had a translation in Old Slavonic (9th century). There's also pieces of Old High German also in the mid-700's. It wasn't that bible was banned from the common folk. Education became sorely lacking after the fall of Rome and most people couldn't read. They couldn't read their own language, let alone Latin. Bibles were also made out of very expensive material prior to the printing press. It cost a village to make one bible. Problems happened people who took up translating things without Church approval. You can translate it, but you have to get Church approval and they make sure everything is green-lit. Otherwise you'll get lost in the confusion of translation and re-interpretation. Like how Martin tried to gut much of the bible, including but not limited to: Ruth, the Ten Commandments, Esther, Jonah, Job, Ecclesiates, Letter to the Hebrews, and James, all on Luther's personal opinion and he would hear nothing about counterarguments to his objections to these books and letters.

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  45. Saint Nicholas also didn't have an 'affinity for women of the night.' Nicholas' patronage of prostitutes, apologies for the unfortunate warning, comes from a story where he saved three women from being forced into prostitution because they had no dowry. He three bags of coins through the window at night and saving them for that kind of life.

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  46. "…everybody calmed down and got on that whole 'diversity of thought' bandwagon…"
    Anyone got an ETA for when that wagon's coming around again?

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  47. Am I the only one who had the hardest time in the world with that map at 4:15 ? I hate when maps represent water with white lol

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  48. I like that the Mandate of Heaven was brought up here with Rome's Pax Deorum particularly for how it relates to the evolution of Christianity.

    So the Pax Deorum as I understand it from the video is the idea that Rome must run itself in a way acceptable by the gods and then the gods won't destroy them. The Mandate of Heaven is similar but with a very important difference which is that a government tends to lose their mandate when or as a result of another government gaining it. It's the same basic idea – gods in heaven are watching you judging your performance – but with very different methods and results – gods will destroy your empire vs the gods won't stop another regime who now has the mandate from destroying your empire to set up their own.

    This directly leads to their progression by that I mean how they are both the most popular of what they are to their people but having that one little difference between them. So Christianity spreads uniting people under its belief system. China spreads its culture and eventually ethnicity uniting people under its cultural system. But the differences between how people believe in Christianity cause plenty of fractures just like the differences between subcultures and governing methods fractures China making both "fall apart every 6 seconds." (check out the video series on China on this channel) The end result of it is you have Christianity as the most popular religion but so many kinds of Christianity and so many different countries that have different ideas about Christianity that they aren't united at all except for the fact that they are all totally devoted to Christianity. And you have a China that is the most populous country and most widely spoken language but there are so many kinds of Chinese and so many different subcultures that can be defined as Chinese that they aren't "Chinese" – a single defined group of people – at all except for the fact that they are all totally devoted to the Chinese identity.

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  49. Religions were never about people waiting for god(s) to come and tell them what is right, just and true. It was what various leaders decided what was beneficial for them and told their subjects it was what god(s) told them. Roman emperors chose Christianity because it was way easier to control the minds of their subjects if they only worshipped ONE deity in ONE, officially decreed way. Also, isn't it funny, how people inventing different cults, sects, denominations etc. are deciding things not asking their worshipped deities to have any say in the matter? People would always believe what they want to believe, 100% of which is what is convenient for them (and more often than not, very inconvenient to the remaining castes of society or even different nations, races etc., which – as it happens – they would very much like to exploit, persecute and really make their lives bad in order to live like kings themselves) . Ever heard of believers of this or another cult coming up with a divine epiphany whose message would inconvenience them and was against their mortal interests, preferred way of living, and would just meekly accept it because it was actually their god who ordered to be so and they will never argue with that and would willingly follow those commands? NOPE, NEVER. Also, voting as a way of deciding what god's will is. Ah right, because numbers overthrow god's will and totally make him (or her) back up and just change his (or her) plans as to how the universe functions.

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  50. Surprisingly most Christians I know just are in that religion because… “”tHeY fEeL hIs GrEaTnEsS”” or its like a family tradition. They don’t even know about the history, all they know is what they read on the Bible. I’m the first atheist in my family and the first homosexual guy too. When I was 8 I asked myself and my mother, “why do we go to church? Why do we praise something we’ve never seen or experienced? why do we pray? Does praying give us food? And I went on and on with questions until at a point where my mom legit couldn’t find the answers herself. After that I stopped believing and I started being more interested in astronomy, science, biology, history and all that stuff, while I also explored my sexuality. Right now I’m probably the blackest sheep of my entire family line, but I rather be that than ignorant and uneducated. Overall, what I’m trying to say is that thank you guys for making videos like this. You really make learning fun and easier to comprehend.

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  51. Europians killing europians is not a good thing. Christians killing christians is not a good thing. The enlightenment is not a good thing.

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  52. Most of the Medieval wars were justified via the church but in reality it never had anything to do with faith and you can tell that by how those conflicts finished and how post-war governance was done. It got so ridiculous that the French king just up and executed Templars over lack of control of them justifying it by their betrayal to the Church when it was just possible betrayal to the reigning monarch in France where he had no right to even command of the Templars directly anyway. At that point it wasn't even over religious differences and it was still justified as a religious conflict. The embodiment of God's soldiers of man in the Catholic world and France basically had them all excommunicated and purged them despite sharing the same beliefs.

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  53. Uh, quick and big issue with the whole "christmas comes from paganism" thing,

    Sol Invictus became an official Roman… thing in the mid 3rd century AD, so it was kinda… new by the time we know Christmas was celebrated, during Constantines reign (at least the first time in Rome, and the first time we have record of). The date is likely because thats when the solstice was, and Jesus was associated with light, and thus, the solstice (it also forms a nice balance with the much early Easter which is actually Passover but I digress)

    Its much more likely that Sol Invictus becoming official in Rome was to try and attract christians by trying to combine Jesus with a (potentially entirely new) Roman god, because Jesus had already been associated with the sun MUCH earlier. The more pagan elements of christmas (which are often associated with Yule) are pretty much only celebrated in the Anglo world- Christmas in the south and east is much different and very specifically Christian and doesnt really resemble any pagan kind of celebration; those exist, but are usually considered rather seperate and… fun. Like Perchtenlauf, which isnt associated with Christmas aside from the close date.

    I mean, theres little emphasis on gifts, trees, or things like that; much more on the nativity, community gatherings and markets (especially in Germany and Austria) and Saint Nicholas of Myra, who was tall, thin, a bishop from Anatolia, and the assocation of "gifts" comes from him stealing money from the Emperor and giving it to poor people so they wouldnt starve or resort to desperate measures to feed themselves. Its much like the differences between Easter (in most languages (that is to say, not english and german), its some variation of Pasha- the last supper was, after all, Passover) and the Easter you see in the US and the more protestant parts of the world. And before anyone says anything about fertility dieties, the egg painting comes from Armenia, and they were originally painted a base coat of red (representing blood) with religious symbols like the cross painted in white and gold, not multicolored and not for egg hunts. They were served with bread (obvious symbolism is obvious). The basis of Christianity is far, far more Jewish and original than it is Pagan in any sense, and pagan elements are largely superficial addons not celebrated by all christians.

    And Armenia is the source of many of those traditions, being the first country to adopt it as its state religion in 301 AD and being an important religious center alongside the other important region in early christianity, Antioch. A good distance from much of the paganism that is claimed to be in christianity, a claim that was made by some protestant theologian in the 1700s with very little evidence. I'm not going to say that Rome had no influence; of course it did, and the Pope's claim to authority is proof of that, as well as the imperialist elements they crammed in there. But that is also not integral to christianity, and not anywhere near as present in the Old Catholics, Orthodox, Eastern Church, or Coptic church.

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  54. Also, quick correction; you kinda got the Miaphysite/Dyophysite split wrong. Both believe Christ is divine and human; the Miaphysites believe he was of a single nature; that is to say, his divinity and humanity were unified. Dyophysites believe Christ is of two seperate natures; that the human christ and divine christ were one person but of two natures. Then there are the Nestorians, who reject the idea of the natures being connected by… nature, and instead believe that Christ actively willed to be both; that is to say, Christ wasnt unified, the divine and human were wholly seperate and only unified by the singular will of Christ. They also reject the importance of Mary.

    Also, the idea of Hell as a place with fire wasnt a thing, really, until Dante popularized it. It was more the Jewish or Greek idea of a wasteland, and Christian splits were less "go to hell" and more "leave us alone and go over there", which they did

    And… both the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox church agree on dyophism. The church that doesn't is the Oriental Orthodox churches, the best known of which is the Coptic church. The disagreements between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches is more critically than anything a disagreement on if the Bishop of Rome is more important than the other Bisphorics, and more importantly, more important than the other parts of the Pentarchy ( a system codefied in the laws of the Eastern Roman Empire under Justinian, consisting of broadly the most important centers of christianity; Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome. Roman Catholics believe that Jesus gave Peter a privilaged position as head of the church, and that that carried on to his successors; the Popes. Orthodox Christians believe either that Jesus didnt give Peter any special authority or that that Authority applied to Peter alone and expired on his death. The real turning point was when the Pope decided he could crown Charlemange king of the Romans when the literal Roman empire was sitting on the other side of the Adriatic confused as hell; that was also when the papal state de facto became independent and when the Eastern Roman Empire lost almost all of its grip in western europe.

    There are also differences in practices, but those are largely tolerated as different but valid practices by most members of each church; most. Some disagree, others dont. Both already have a lot of precedent for allowing small scale differences, especially in which saints are considered improtant and so on.

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  55. Also, the Romans were super right that Christianity would be (one of many) reasons their empire collapsed. It spread through the underclass (mainly women and slaves) and once it was too big to ignore, it, at least then, was incompatable with the most basic element of Roman society and economics; slavery. Rome ended, in part, because of economic changes brough about by the fact that people stopped considering a lot of atrocities to be ok.

    I mean, they then got committed later by some christians in the crusades and the reconquista and following colonization, but thats also something that wasnt just… overlooked by everyone. People kinda forget that the crusades had opposition, especially at their worst, and were more modivated by politics and kings than religion and the broader church, Pope aside. And the reconquista was managed heavily by the spanish state and its local clergy, and the colonization was bad enough that the Pope threatened to excommuniate a whole bunch of people until Charles V convinced him not to (he had a really, really big army being the king of, ya know, Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor, ruler of the Netherlands and Archduke of Austria, aka one of the most powerful people in history and someone the Pope would lose to, horribly, unlike previous Emperors).

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  56. 2:47 to 3:03
    And my mind immediately sees the parallels to the LGBTQ rights movements.

    Snowflake type people, they've been around a lot longer than most people realize.

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