A History of Christianity
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A History of Christianity

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A History of ChristianityProfessor Diarmaid MacCulloch - one of the world's leading historians - reveals the origins of Christianity and explores what it means to be a Christian. When Diarmaid MacCulloch was a small boy, his parents used to drive him round historic churches. Little did they know that they had created a monster, with the history of the Christian Church becoming his life's work. In a series sweeping across four continents, Professor MacCulloch goes in search of Christianity's forgotten origins.

1. The First Christianity. He overturns the familiar story that it all began when the apostle Paul took Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome. Instead, he shows that the true origins of Christianity lie further east, and that at one point it was poised to triumph in Asia, maybe even in China. The headquarters of Christianity might well have been Baghdad not Rome, and if that had happened then Western Christianity would have been very different.

2. Catholicism: The Unpredictable Rise of Rome. Over one billion Christians look to Rome, more than half of all Christians on the planet. But how did a small Jewish sect from the backwoods of 1st-century Palestine, which preached humility and the virtue of poverty, become the established religion of western Europe - wealthy, powerful and expecting unfailing obedience from the faithful?

3. Orthodoxy - From Empire to Empire. Today, Eastern Orthodox Christianity flourishes in the Balkans and Russia, with over 150 million members worldwide. It is unlike Catholicism or Protestantism - worship is carefully choreographed, icons pull the faithful into a mystical union with Christ, and everywhere there is a symbol of a fierce-looking bird, the double-headed eagle.

4. Reformation: The Individual Before God. The Amish today are peaceable folk, but five centuries ago their ancestors were seen as some of the most dangerous people in Europe. They were radicals - Protestants - who tore apart the Catholic Church. In the fourth part of the series, Diarmaid MacCulloch makes sense of the Reformation, and of how a faith based on obedience and authority gave birth to one based on individual conscience.

5. Protestantism - The Evangelical Explosion. Diarmaid MacCulloch traces the growth of an exuberant expression of faith that has spread across the globe - Evangelical Protestantism. Today, it is associated with conservative politics, but the whole story is distinctly more unexpected. It is easily forgotten that the evangelical explosion has been driven by a concern for social justice and the claim that one could stand in a direct emotional relationship with God.

6. God in the Dock. Diarmaid MacCulloch's own life story makes him a symbol of a distinctive feature about Western Christianity - scepticism, a tendency to doubt which has transformed both Western culture and Christianity. In the final programme in the series, he asks where that change came from. He challenges the simplistic notion that faith in Christianity has steadily ebbed away before the relentless advance of science, reason and progress, and shows instead how the tide of faith perversely flows back in.

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Juan dlC
1 month ago

It is a long documentary that takes you to time and places. He avoids religious conflicts by not adding his opinions and letting the audience hear direct interviews. Do not blame him. It is hard work. I suppose we need to encourage his work in progress. For sure viewers would pick up new things from this, and congratulate him to opening doors since much all kinds of religions are enclosed in a mindset that resist change and understanding of others. If you are too religious, this video series will definitely conflict with what has been taught as sacred and fundamental.

6 years ago

Everyone clap for Thomas & William! Tom you're clearly an extremist and even though you have good grammar you're either a weak minded sheeple or a m****. If anyone who knows even a drop about space or the cosmos or even just spends a 1/2 hr looking into space somewhere that light pollution isn't an issue and still believes that those evil and hilarious stories the Romans wrote like 1800 years ago in the bible are real they need help!! Seriously, how can anyone that's not a brain dead chimp come to the conclusion that some fairy tale being created planets and stars and whatnot billions and trillions of light years away? And since the religious believe we're all alone, WTF would be the point?! That's almost as bad as those who believe we co-existed with dinosaurs!

Eg, the worlds biggest dumb ass and liar ken ham in Kentucky who has a saddle and human riding a t-rex. Now to the guy who was ranting about Protestants, the catholic church is the worst of them all. The fact that 80% of the priests are gay and have been caught multiple times on film in gay clubs or in gay clubs are still claiming they're evil which is getting them killed all over the world. Then there's the fact that those loving people used to burn people to death for owning certain Swiss clocks or by stating the earth revolves around the sun or for a dozen other pointless and stupid reasons. Could also go on and on about the same priests, bishops and even popes who are condemning others are themselves busy raping and molesting children or committing all the same crimes they're killing others for.

I've seen some stupid comments from the obvious religees in here but some of the worst are saying atheists are the bigots and the mass murdering bastards of the past. WRONG! More people have been killed in the name of religion than all wars and disease combined. Guess who's at the top? Yep good old loving Christians. To answer the other stupid statement, you can see this best and most often in the u.s where the so called religious want the right to take away everyone else's rights that don't fit the model of what those ignorant half-wits inbreds think they see in the bible. The hypochristians can break every rule and commandment in that holy book they hold dear but if anyone else does well they need to be punished especially dem queers!

If it wasn't so disgusting to see you'd have to laugh. Eg; denying marriage licenses to gays or denying services to them like at restaurants or at that hugely important store for the whole country, Hobby Lobby! Ha. The one thing that always puzzles me is where is your god/imaginary friend in all of this? If jebus is so against so many things that'll send you straight to a cookout down below why doesn't it ever show up to stop any of these actions? It's so powerful but yet needs humans to do all its work, really? The jews are supposed to be gods peeps yet that all loving being stood by letting 6 million get massacred, ya sounds great!

Now to the person claiming that millions have met, felt and talked to god, odd then that there's such differences and contradictions about it. Weird too that the 3 biggest religions all share the same imaginary being yet each thinks they're the special ones and the others are all wrong and going to hell. The one common thing is they're all copied from bits and pieces of older religions and each other. There is factual proof of some of this if you actually think it's even needed.

Take the hilarious story of Noah's ark, they found the tablet with the original story some 1000 years or more talking about the floods which happened all the time back then and told them to build a boat big enough to fit as many of the people and livestock as possible and then someone got ahold of it and twisted the story adding in things like building the boat so big it would take every tree in Iraq to make them just snap in half the second it got floating, and then the funny part of taking 2 of every animal on the planet. Priceless! I wonder how he traveled the planet gathering all those animals with so little notice? How did the 800yr old or whatever it was manage to get the special feed for each or separate them all, build the boat and catch the animals without a tranquilizer gun? I guess these are all minor details the religious don't want to hear about, after all they're not known for dealing with facts.

I could go on and on for days about that pro rape, pro slavery, pro roman/anti-Jew, mass killing loving book called the bible and that's only 1 of the religions but I've got a true fairy tale to watch with my niece, Snow White. For all you others with common sense and intelligence on here, I wish you the best of luck trying to get through to the sheeple who still think the Stone Age peeps knew more than we do now in 2016.

6 years ago

Read the Book... Most disappointing book ever...

Mr. MacCulloch considers himself "immensely privileged to have been trained as a professional historian" and that he has "enjoyed the precious opportunity of research, teaching and discussing" things pertaining to his profession.

However, the Author does not even mention the persecution of the early Church by the Roman Emperors. He does not detail Emperor Nero’s persecution of the early Church and during which persecution, the apostles Peter and Paul were put to death. He does not mention the fires that engulfed and destroyed much of Rome. No mention of Trajan the Roman historian, etc. What kind of 'historian' is Mr. MacCulloch ? In my opinion, a very poor historian, with no signs at all of a 'professional'.

Besides, his 'interpretation' of history and historical facts is simply not true; they are horribly 'skewed' - to say the least. Obviously, no historian is absolutely 'objective'; there always will be the 'subjective' element of all our understandings of historical facts and evidences. However, the mark of a good historian is that he or she is well able to 'sift' through the available data and make a sensible and sane judgement. If however, the acclaimed 'historian' is not even aware of the data or simply ignores the available data, how on earth is he or she going to be able to make this sane judgement. And in my judgement, Mr. MacCulloch has either 'repressed' the facts and/or simply ignored them. Again, a very poor thing for a 'historian' to do.

Mr. MacCulloch is obviously not a Christian and therefore does not even accept the Bible as God's Word. He therefore does not 'believe' in the Lord Jesus Christ as His Lord and Saviour. This one fact alone should 'caution' people who read his works. All said and done, only a true believer who accepts the Bible as the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God can and will have a true understanding of the Scriptures and of History - which really is His-Story; The Story of God and His dealings with humanity.

Mr. MacCulloch himself admits, "I would now describe myself as a candid friend of Christianity" He goes on to say that he still 'appreciates' all that is happening in 'Christianity'; although calling it all "something so apparently crazy".

Mr. MacCulloch then has the temerity to call upon his readers (he means those who know better...) to accept with charity "this (book) as an apophatic form of the Christian Faith". No. We cannot do so and we make no apologies for saying so. God and His Word cannot be known in any apophatic way - never is God known by negation, only by His Own Revelation in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.

Mr. MacCulloch himself further admits that "the book is self-evidently not a work of primary-source research; ..." However, he goes on to tell us that his "aim is to tell as clearly as possible ... (a) tale, in ways which others will enjoy and find plausible." Plausible - did he say? Now what kind of true historian would even want to do such a thing. Why ever should any true and good historian ever have to write down anything other than the truth. And if it is the truth that he is passing on to his readers, then he need not worry about putting it across in any 'plausible' way. This simply need not be done - at least ought not to be done by any 'professional historian'.

And no wonder then Mr. MacCulloch does not accept the Bible as God's Word. For obviously, since he does not even believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, he cannot read any part of the Bible as being 'plausible'. Indeed, he says so in as many words.

Listen to what Mr. MacCulloch himself says in describing what he believes the Bible contains - "It describes ancient encounters with God which are far from straightforward." Now, whatever did he ever mean by that.

"It tells stories which it does not pretend ever happened, in order to express profound truths, such as we read in the books of Jonah and Job" It is very obvious that Mr. MacCulloch has not taken the pains to familiarize himself with good sound literature that is readily available out there today that has not only affirmed the historical validity of all 66 books of the Bible (both the Old Testament and the New Testament), but is pathetically ignorant of even the kind of literature he is talking about. No judicious historian has ever questioned the historicity of the Books of the Bible. Now, if one does indeed question the meaning, that is, the interpretation of any particular book, that is a very different thing. However, a historian need not worry about the interpretation of any piece of literature, where facts are concerned. And interestingly the book of Jonah is just that – a very unique experience of the Prophet Jonah and God’s dealings with him. Like I say, obviously Mr. MacCulloch has a hard time ‘swallowing’ the story of Jonah than that the great fish had swallowing Jonah. Hasn’t Mr. MacCulloch read of plenty of other stories of people who were swallowed by huge fish and lived to tell the tale! Very poor research, I must say. The only other explanation is that Mr. MacCulloch is very biased in his judgement - again, not a very good sign of a ‘professional historian’. I pity the students who have to listen to him daily!

And yet Mr. MacCulloch tells us later within 2 pages, "Maybe the Bible can be taken seriously rather than literally." This is no doubt just an 'antic' of his, however it terribly fails in whatever purpose it might have had. Just how does Mr. MacCulloch imagine or wish his readers to take the Bible 'seriously' and yet not literally? I'm beginning to wonder, in what other areas Mr. MacCulloch needs help.

Mr. MacCulloch does even worse - he actually has the audacity to pronounce (as if his own sentiments and opinions were inspired and therefore absolutely correct...!) "Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all discovered that the text between the covers cannot provide all the answers." Obviously, Mr. MacCulloch has taken the liberty of 'pronouncing' his own opinion as Dogma and established truth. Whereas the fact of the matter is that (speaking only of the Bible, of course...) the Bible alone claims to have all the answers that mankind ever or will ever need - for life and eternity.

Again, it is obvious that Mr. MacCulloch is either ignorant of what Christians have all along affirmed about the Bible and how they have always and ever found complete satisfaction and comfort (which of course includes serious answers to fundamental questions about man, God and His universe, etc....) in and through the Bible, God's Revelation to mankind. I suspect that Mr. MacCulloch has probably found it most frustrating that 'Christians' have found their answers in the Bible, however, he has failed to do so. And of course I can understand that this is very frustrating. But then, however frustrated a 'professional historian' is, that grants him no license to make unsound and unwarranted judgements about something he does not even understand! Again, signs of a very poor historian.

Mr. MacCulloch is fond of using words rather lightly, besides not doing through research, things which a good historian should be careful about. In fact if one does not even research and study, he cannot be even a historian, leave alone the desire to be a professional one. Take for example these words of Mr. MacCulloch - "Jesus seems to have maintained that the trumpet would sound for the end of time very soon, and in a major break with the culture around him, he told his followers to leave the dead to bury their own dead." Funny, that Mr. MacCulloch should have criticized the Book of Jonah because he could not take it 'literally' and yet he here takes the words of the Lord Jesus 'literally'. Did he ever ask himself how dead people could bury their own dead!!!

Obviously, Mr. MacCulloch has not done his homework, and shamefully, it shows. Everyone who has even a basic understanding of the times of Near Eastern People (not to mention that authors has written about this very phrase and explained it all very well...) would know that the expression let the dead bury their own dead was a proverbial expression. When a prospective 'disciple' once informed the Lord Jesus to allow him first to go and bury his father, the Lord responded by saying, "Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead". It is obvious that his father had not yet died. When asked leave to 'first go bury my father', all he meant was that he wished to complete his responsibility of caring for his (probably now) aged father. However, the message of Christ about the Coming of the Kingdom was urgent enough to allow filial obligations to be suspended for a while. And that was all that Christ meant. I would have supposed any 'historian' should have known this. But obviously, Mr. MacCulloch could not have known this - he has not done any research, nor could he bother himself to do so. Very poor on his part.

But the entire book is full of such nonsense. Mr. MacCulloch would perhaps have been better off writing fictional novels. Poor fellow. I wonder no one ever told him to get a proper education. The least he could have done was to at least read for himself, rather than go ahead and write things and make a fool of himself. I wonder too, that his 'students' did not do any research either. Personally, I do not know. Perhaps students and others did tell him these things. In which case, Mr. MacCulloch is without any excuse. I'd rather believe that Mr. MacCulloch is sincerely unaware of his blunders.

However, that simply makes him a very ignorant person. In this age of internet access and such a wide array of learned and scholarly articles and books, one cannot be justly excused for being ignorant. Not at least when one purports to be a 'professional historian' and even lectures regularly. What is this world coming to. What a shame that people do not even search and research things for themselves. Even worse, publishers are apparently only interested in making money - even if it means publishing and printing books that contain error and/or worthless junk.

I realize I'm using rather strong words and expressions here. However, I firmly believe that everyone has a basic right to at least be sure that reputed publishers take up writings of competent men and women, not those of ignorant ones.

I would readily have excused Mr. MacCulloch's ignorance. However, I cannot and will not excuse his irreverent words against the Lord Jesus Christ. This book blasphemously speaks against the Lord, making His Words (the words of the Lord Jesus) and His actions to be ridiculous.

For instance, Mr. MacCulloch writes, "He made crowds laugh." Now, from where ever did Mr. MacCulloch gather this information. Nowhere in the Bible does it inform us that the Lord made anyone laugh. Some became angry with the Lord - this is true. But there is no record of the Lord making anyone laugh. Perhaps Mr. MacCulloch gets this idea from modern movie depictions of the Lord Jesus, which are all wrong. He further writes, "He shocked or excited them with irreverent comments on authority;..." Again, speaking about allowing the dead to bury their dead, Mr. MacCulloch writes, "He produced outrageous inversions of normality". But there is no such evidence that those who heard such words were 'outraged'. Yes, it is true that the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees were often offended and outraged. But not because the Lord Jesus spoke 'irreverently' or said anything that was untrue. No. Even the very enemies of the Lord Jesus admitted that He did no wrong. And finally the only reason they crucified Him was because He (according to their knowledge) being a mere man, claimed to be God Himself (calling Himself the Son of God, an equivalent term).

For the above mentioned reasons, I cannot and will not recommend Mr. MacCulloch's writings on history. He fails to be even an average historian, leave alone a 'professional' -most disappointing.

7 years ago

The very fact that 'satan' is apparently roaming this earth, having free reign to do whatever he desires with no intervention from 'god' highlights how ludicrous this belief is. 'Casting' satan down to the very planet where 'god' meant to create humans instead of the billions of planets out in the universe smacks of a religious conspiracy. Any deity who messes up 'his creation' so badly that he has to drown them all to start again with a naked drunk is not worthy of the title of 'god'. How any sane, thinking individual can subscribe to such a belief is beyond belief.

William John Meegan
9 years ago

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch can't be much of an academic grouping all of the heretical non-Christian sects into the one word CHRISTIANITY. So-called religious offshoot claiming to be sects of Christianity are not Christian because they deny the CATHOLIC CHURCH or Eastern Orthodoxy Church and they deny absolutely the SYMBOLISM of the Holy Scriptures: WORD OF GOD.

It is very much like a Jew after declaring himself an atheist STILL CLAIMING that he is a Jew: that is an oxymoron; because, a Jew is a religious distinction not an ethnic distinction. That atheist has ostracized himself: he is a man without a country.

This is the same mentality of Protestants STILL CLAIMING to be CHRISTIANS when they have deserted Christ like Judas Iscariot. What else can you say about a Protestant other than that he is a traitor: Protestants would be more truthful if they declared themselves to be FOLLOWERS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT.

This is what people that claim themselves to be Protestants are. They are no longer followers of Christ no matter what they claim their literal interpretation of the texts are. Protestants are not followers of Christ; rather, they literally declare themselves Antichrist(ian).

This is what Protestants do: they hate the WORD OF GOD (symbolism = Word of God; because, God can't be talked about directly only indirectly on an abstract level) but Anti-Christians love to be grouped into that "most important of words" CHRISTIAN because they know it will confuse people into their literal way of thought.

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch wants to join the Muppet caravan on their way to HOLLYWOOD so that he can also be eligible, along with Miss Piggy, Kermit and the Muppet Company, to obtain THAT RICH and FAMOUS CONTRACT.

Arvin Canlas Lising
9 years ago

To H: Just a clarification: Christians began to be called as such because of the Greek-speaking believers in Antioch who referred to Jesus as the Christos (Messiah). The Acts of the Apostles records this in chapter 11 verse 26, but the sect became only a legal religion when it became a state religion in 380 CE when emperor Theodosius declared it as such...

I agree with everything that you said, and to reinforce that I have given these clarificatory details because until 200 CE, The Way (as Christianity was known in its primitive stages) did not see itself outside Judaism but as a renewal of it from the inside. However, with the council of Jamnia, the birkat haMinim of the rabbis made it clear that Christianity is now cast off the whole of the Jewish way of life. But by then, the faith of the community had grown to see itself outside of Judaism as well mainly due to the composition of its members as more Gentile, and that tensions were then too high for both sides at this point...

However, it's ironic that while the Jews "cursed" us then, we never cursed them back, yet almost 2000 years later, we kill them in the Nazi Holocaust (something we will never be proud of from a faith perspective). It only goes to show that even in institutions who purport themselves to be of divine in origin, still we make the most (in)human of mistakes of which history has witnessed and preserved...

Only goes to show, no one is above everyone else for we are equal in humanity and death...

10 years ago

if any of you guys had ever attempted or have taken a class in university on the origins of chiristianity you'd know that originally christianity was a jewish sect because jesus was jewish... it only became "christianity" and survived until today because of the emperor constantine who converted the whole roman empire into christianity because of a dream he had and then died a non christian himself. there was 4 councils (nicaea, contantinople, ephesus and chalcedon) that took place where bishops and other important people met and decided upon which will become the foundation of christianity one of which was the trinity .

Paul who was the first to spread the news was a jew and believed in remaining with the judaic laws unless you were a gentile.. paul boasts of not having ever met jesus but that god had spoken to him in a dream and asked him to spread the news to gentiles. and he only started writing 60 years after jesus's death
as for the men that wrote the gospels their is no proof of knowing that the author of the Gospel of John was in fact john or the author of Mark was infact mark and so on and so forth.. each gospel shows the author's point view and gives us a glimpse into the political and social times that these people lived in...
my theology teacher himself said that today christianity as a whole is equivalent to a cult... now everything stated above is historical fact.. it is impossible that jesus never existed but what we do know is almost every person that has writen about jesus had never met him...

10 years ago

I am not allowed to comment in this thread but i really want to discuss my unicorn, has anyone seen him?
i think the goblins took him and sold him to pixies who bargained him with Jesus for mohammed (peas be upon his chin) winged horse.
If i dont get him back im calling in the virgin mary and the seven wise smurfs to sort it all out..

10 years ago

Jesus (peace be upon him) is a messenger of the one almighty god like adam,noah,ibrahim and moses

11 years ago

This doc is mostly correct, but could use some advice.

11 years ago

i was always a seeker and an explorer and i love to find out the truth about what i believe in.. i was looking for answers and thank God He leads me in this site. i was enlightened by the facts that I've learned. its not about religion science or philosophy.. its about facts, evidence that time has produced that is emerging in our present times.. it's up to us now what to believe and how you will stand on your belief..

11 years ago

it is fascinating how "the-thinking-atheist" has no pricetag, and this does

11 years ago

Science is the root of evil. I mean think about it, why could Jesus walk on water? Heal the sick? How did he get resurrected. How did he ascend into heaven?

Simple! Think about it, all those things. It's gravity! When Newton made gravity, he made all these things impossible. Jesus wasn't the only guy to walk on water, everyone could do it. He didn't get killed by the Romans, it was simple punishment for him not to float up so they nailed him. Once they released and even put him in a cave he escaped and floated. Then people said "No uh! Jesus was the only one who could do that". Not true! We need to turn off gravity!

Now, there might be some holes in my theory but I can explain them. OH NO THE CIA! I need to run!!!

12 years ago

And no word said about The Armenian Apostolic Church that was founded in 301...

12 years ago

This is a fantastic documentary! I would say every Christian should watch this with openness and should be challenged! Thanks for posting the documentary.

12 years ago

The Church of the East was created as an independent ecclestiastical organization before the council of Ephesus( 431) it was established in 424 A.D. in Seleucia-Ctesiphon. it was not because of christology that they split but because of politics between christian byzantium and the zorastrian sassanian persian empire. they lived near the borders between these 2 empires and there loyalty towards persia was put to the test and ended in massacres during the time of Shapur, Shapur II (39 or 40 years of persecution)m, Bahram V etc. Christianity was seen as a Roman religion from a persian zoroastrian perspective. so the patriarch of Antioch (on roman terrotory could no longer be their patriarch) but the katholicos of the East instead (the church of the east did not use the term patriarch for the katholicos formally until 498 AD)

12 years ago

The Church of the East was created as an independent ecclestiastical organization before the council of Ephesus( 431) it was established in 424 A.D. in Seleucia-Ctesiphon. it was not because of christology that they split but because of politics between christian byzantium and the zorastrian sassanian persian empire. they lived near the borders between these 2 empires and there loyalty towards persia was put to the test and ended in massacres during the time of Shapur, Shapur II (39 or 40 years of persecution)m, Bahram V etc. Christianity was seen as a Roman religion from a persian zoroastrian perspective. so the patriarch of Antioch (on roman terrotory could no longer be their patriarch) but the katholicos of the East instead (the church of the east did not use the term patriarch for the katholicos formally until 498 AD)

12 years ago

Mankind invented evil, and make it absolute. For example, devils make people sin, and etc. Having invented absolute evil, they move on to invent absolute God.

12 years ago

A question for the faithful:
Do gods cease to exist when people stop believing in them?

12 years ago

Some say that god created man....i think man created god.

12 years ago

Mankind is at its most evil, when it believes that it is fighting evil.

12 years ago

faith is a beautiful thing but religion is the most dangerous and destructive thing we have ever invented. having faith in a higher purpose is accepting that there might be something more important and magnificent than you. which is a good thing. keeps you from getting too full of yourself. but religion is a means of control. a tool for staying on top. a tool for staying in charge. it inevitably only corrupts and distorts the very thing it pretends to be.

12 years ago

Here's a hyp0thetical; if all traces 0f religi0n c0uld be wiped 0ut and n0 menti0n made, w0uld G0d reappear in 100 years time?

12 years ago

dnt worry ill pray for u wcb

12 years ago

i plan to save peoples lives before i go to heaven

12 years ago

These Religious primates need to hurry up and go to their heaven so our more evolved can undo the damage they have inflicted. If only it was legal to put humans down aswell...

12 years ago

@Dami Akomolafe...

no disrespect intended..but what is faith,,every really break it down..what exactly is really going on inside ur mind...for real dami .

"the masses" come on dami, i am the most evolutionary high point on the "god" dam planet...i dont know what the masses are..i just dont see the point..faith takes u no were besides ,,,u guessed it ,,faith...how stupid does that sound..

i have faith Bad faith (existentialism), mauvaise foi, a philosophical concept wherein one denies one's total freedom, instead choosing to behave as an inert object...

that would mean i really am water and some star dust..and i eat sleep and shit..and mess around in my head..and do really not much else there is no god...Dami just faith,and belief..there the only "gods" people know..

its so hard to even talk about "faith" it takes "faith" to even talk about it. so i am gonna shut up..lol..cause i really dont get it..

12 years ago

The story of christianity is just part 2 in the story of Abrahamic monotheism,(judaism, christianity and islam).
Abrahamic monotheism is just original fascism, one god ,one empire ,one emperor.
It is all an invention of men with greed in thier hearts and swords in thier hands. Cyrus the great invented judaism and became the jewish messiah and created a buffer state for his persian empire! Constantine was a monotheist sun worshiper trying to unite his east and west roman empires with a roman unified state religion. Islam was invented by nestorian and ebonites "heretics" fleeing from a byzantine power struggle.
Its all just re-written dumbed down paganism

12 years ago

I often wonder in meditation and observation on the subject of" RELIGION-SPIRITUALITY-ADDICTION-LUST-DESIRE-FEAR" how close the delusional need they fill is,,what i suppose my point is there is no point..the mind is in control..i get the strangest reaction from my mind , if i am sitting quietly, and think of the word god..i mean i actually see the word in my mind..GOD..than trying to just let it go, and observe ..holy sh## the stuff ridiculous stuff that comes in there ..the images the dogma ..yada yada .. same with porn..a big splif..glass of beer.. Ferrari..those little worms that crawl up a guys pe##s when ur in the "bad water"..

It is amazing to me..after the mind starts to take off..it goes on its own..based on my experience history environmental background education..

and than if i can catch it ..and change my direction...it didnt me a thing..there was no real need..pointless..

just my own thing..thought i would share.. PS i have a little baby Jesus doll and my cat chews it.. just kidding "sharks"..lol..srry

12 years ago

I have theory.
If there is a god, what if it turns out to be some kid. Playing a video game like "Sims Universe" or something. And he's gone off to build other worlds or do the dishes and forgotten about us. Is he really worth spending all this time worshiping and devoting your life to him?
I think my theory holds as much water as others I've heard.
Prove I'm wrong.

12 years ago

Christianity can claim it's true do to the fact that it has a book, ancient relics and ruins and 'witnesses'.
I ask then, since I have seen English castles, witnessed magic tricks and read the books, is Harry Potter really a wizard?
Or is there another logical explanation.

12 years ago

Atheism is not a religion. There are around 38,000 denominations of Christianity, and only one form of Atheism. The Christian-pool has become so diluted that they are capable of the broadest views imaginable on defining what constitutes a "religion". For some reason Christian's always have this burning desire to lable everything. You just can't leave it alone, can you?

We're all born Atheist, some just get lost.

12 years ago

Interesting, I've been looking for a documentary like this one for quite a while. I've always found documentaries about the early history and the Reformation, but not one nice documentary about the history of the religion from beginning to present.

And personally, I'm going to try and avoid what's inevitably going on down below...but I have to say, I am a spiritual person, I can't lie. I believe that we aren't alone in the universe and that there's a higher power. I do see sense in many aspects of my religion, but fallacies in others. I don't consider it perfect, but a basic guideline, but I do take other perspectives in account. That's all.

12 years ago

@Rodrigo Pereira,

There you go. That is a comment where anyone can put their arguments for or against. I'll put mine against:

Pantheism is indeed "sexed up Atheism" not because Dawkins says so, but because the very nature of it will point to.

It's a form of spirituality that is somewhat compatible with science. In Pantheism, God is identical with the universe, but God also lies beyond or outside of the universe.

The following atheists where/are on many occasions using the words "spirituality" and "God" (in pantheistic connotation), thus they can be logically classed as pantheist atheists: Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Lucretius, D'Holbach, Hume, Einstein, Sagan, Hawking. Note, they don't believe in supernatural God.

The main argument why pantheists are very close to atheists is because pantheists focus on the universe and nature as God, but without any supernatural being or intelligent creator involved.

12 years ago

There was a time when Atheists earned the term “free thinker”. It was a time when Atheists used their rationality and logic to try to solve philosophic problems that are created when one believes in God, but it is no longer that time. Atheists now have a single religious leader who tells them what to think. Richard Dawkins is the most quoted atheist of our time. Atheists seem to look up to him as a wise leader and expect him to answer these questions for them. Their trust could be put in the hands have a much more qualified man than Dawkins. Dawkins, while he may be a gifted biologist, fails as a philosopher. His own made up definitions of philosophic positions, such as Pantheism, are completely wrong. But Atheists follow his divine words with such gumption, they could never admit when he is wrong. When I state that Richard Dawkins is a failed philosopher to Atheists, they usually say “He never claimed to be a philosopher”, and one time an Atheist even added, “That must be the wisdom shining through”. Whether or not Dawkins has claimed to be a philosopher, he is ultimatley acting as one when he discusses philisophical positions and/or philisophic problems. Now, I want to correct all who believe the lies and bull spewed by Dawkins when it comes to philisophic matters.

12 years ago

the music was tedious, the presentation - like the music - overly turgid. if you can get thru it, there are some good spots - such as the history of the eastern church in asia, which i was not aware of.

but here's a rather staggering omission during his treatment of christianity respecting national socialism - he left out the reich concordat, wherein the RC church gave hitler internatinal recognition, in exchange for some minor prefermensts - thi was negotiated by the future pope. not a pretty picture.

also, the fellow is gay, and apparently, agnostic. not that there's anything wrong with that, but you might feel like you've been had.

i felt the thing was long on sentiment, atmosphere, bombastic imagery, short of information.

12 years ago

I've watched many discussions about the bible and about Jesus by "Experts" and I don"t believe any of them have realy read the bible. Jesus was not God in the form of a man. Read John 1:28 where Jesus said !The Father is greater than I. The Holy Spiret planted Jesus into Mary when he was born, being the son of God, He was no part of Mary, as the son of God he could not have been any part homan. I've never found in the Bible where Jesus refered to Mary as Mother. The "Experts" place more truth in the books of Mark and Luke, calling Matthew and John copkies of Mark. Don't they k now the Mark and Luke were
taught by Paul?. cls44l

12 years ago

Have not seen this as yet but I read a lot of the comments. Would anyone care to comment on Perpetua of Carthage & Felicity and where they got that sort of faith?
I myself have my God/Creator/Yahweh but have not found any "religion" that makes me comfortable. I believe we are spirit and these are times to strengthen this and help everyone understand that we are all the same. Our bodies are made of the same stuff as all life and planets, stars etc., and we are at the crossroads of treating the afflictions in this world, our home or continuing in our actions which can only be described as suicide.
The Bible is many different writings chosen and put together by people and while we have some that are missed out I doubt if these are all there are.
I choose to keep things simple and the messages tell me to take care the most of our least, don't slander or judge and treat everything and everyone with care and respect. My mistakes make me strong and give me my curiosity and gratitude for life.
I am grateful to Vlatco for every documentary whatever my reactions, I am learning so much.
I am grateful to you that make comments and learn from them too.
One last question, was there slang in Jesus's time and if so is there a good site for this? Eastern and Western thoughts and meanings differ so much, I am studying Hebrew and it has opened up a whole new world.

12 years ago

Long documentary, long comments :) I watch and read am all... Good doc. Tnx for posting. I had already my opinion about Christianity, and this only confirmed it. After fall of communism church in my country (Montenegro) has risen again, and do much damage sporting national chauvinism in the rounding countries (Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia)... I am not talking for the Orthodox church only, but for Roman Catholic and Muslim community.

12 years ago

It is not that 'God' may not exist but that there is no reason to postulate such a being. And this are for many reasons. First, we cannot conceive of anything greater than a man. Can we imagine what creates billions or trillions of stars in a 15 billion year old universe? No. We are a subsequent part of this process and it is important to remember that.

Our relative morality and bronze age myths cannot possibly serve as the model. Which is what religion does. If anything science, by pulling back some of the layers and revealing much of which the ancients had no clue, has already gotten us closer to 'god' (the reality of the nature of creation) than any religion ever has! And religion is tribal. You dont see one science for NY and another for Syria. Science is universal and that is the hallmark of truth. We can still have spirituality but it should be about contemplation and turning one inward to the world of mind. To the 'heart.' No religion required. We are the living embodiment of the great mystery of life in this universe. We do NOT need look for meaning of it in books but in our bodies hearts, and minds. We never really experience anything outside of our minds..do we. Even though the universe we look out on seems to be 'out there' it isn't, is it? All experience is internal.

*And Constantine chose Christianity for strictly practical reasons and look what it became right away.

12 years ago

Hey u all know that the Catholic church accepted evolution no longer as a theory, but a fact.

12 years ago

Well I thought that this was a good doc. The comments below seem to gravitate towards opinions on Christianity, but I rather like the way this doc didn't do that, and stuck to the historical events that shaped it. I learned a few things too! Like how I had an ally in Baruch Spinoza, his statement that ''god is not a supernatural being, but rather god and nature are one' resonates well with me, and I think that I might have liked Voltaire.
When I look at Christianity as being a good or bad thing, I look back on J.C. promoting the meek and impoverished way, and then look at the modern televangelist living their rock-star lifestyles, it's hard to see the resemblance. I believe that there are a lot of good hearted Christians out there, and I would never condemn them for their faith or for the actions of others. As this doc so clearly demonstrated, there are all kinds of Christians.

12 years ago

Dear Rodrigo Pereria
Thank you for coming back to the site and replying to my comment. I enjoyed reading it and I am glad you stand up for what you believe in. But I want to challenge your beliefs. About the universe you live in and the way that you understand it now. What you believe is, by far, not the correct version of the truth. I would also like to state that I do NOT know the answers to the mysteries of the universe. But some of the questions are being answered, using theories, logic, reasoning and testing. Using ancient deities as the answer to questions like, where do we come from and how did we get here, does not come close to a reasonable or logical answer.
I would like to address some of the points in your reply and let you think and study for yourself what makes more sense.
I will stand by my original 99% chance that there is no god. I site the lack of any physical proof of such a being as my reasoning. I am unable to see, hear, speak to god in any way. If such a being existed, wouldn't it make sense to at least make your real presence known to everyone.
There is also the fact that there have been as many gods over the ages. As many gods as there are cultures on earth. Which one is correct? Your god? George Bush's god? Bin Ladin's god? Ghandi's god? Some hippy in California's god? Who's god is the right god.
The next point I would like to address is the point that you were making was, that Stalin and Hitler were atheist. And that because of that they had no 'divine guidance' they were allowed to do what they did.
One of the most widely known facts about WWII was that Hitler killed 6 million Jews. There were still some religious overtones to it. But for the most part, it is true that WWII was not a religious war. But it was a war. And like every other war before and after it, it is about power, control and armed robbery on a massive scale. It just used different propaganda and persuasion techniques than previously used. Instead of a cross or a star or moon, they used a swastika and a hammer and sickle instead. Stalin killed over twenty million of his own people, not because he cared what sky being they believed in, but because he was a mega maniacal psychopath with absolute power. And instead of being called fuhrer or comrade Stalin, they would have been called kings or popes or holy men.
These men cared not about religion as you think of it. They cared about the power and control. And how they got it was by using religion. Or socialism or fascism or the money religion. Whatever worked. Religion is just another man made invention to pacify you and provide you with 'answers' to questions they really have no idea how to answer. And while you are busy trying to answer those god questions they are focusing their attention to other things.

To say that these comment are 'nazist', is a interesting thing to say. The best way to show you that they are anything but, is the fact that we are having this conversation. I have my point of view, you have yours. If this was a extreme socialist state, and we were having this conversation, one of us would be in very serious trouble.

I was also intrigued by your 'a world that is based solely on science and reasoning is a world doomed to war and destruction' statement. Yes, it very well could be. But I think we hold ourselves (barely) back from that point is, not due to the fact that god is telling us to, but to something called humanity. I don't plan on killing anyone or taking over Europe. I don't need god to tell me that killing, stealing, lying and cheating are wrong. I just know that because I'd rather get along with my neighbours so, I don't do these things. I also know that to be a good neighbour, you help when you can, as best you can. Because you might need help later. I think there might be something to karma.
One thing I really don't understand is the devoutly religions obsession with death. I'm not particularly worried about what happens when we die, because I don't know what happens.
And neither do you. In fact no one does. And I highly doubt (sorry) that you are probably not going to be living on a cloud with angels or whatever you may believe what heaven is. And I'm pretty sure I'm not (thankfully) going to spend eternity being tortured and burning in pain because I chose to sleep in on Sunday morning. But do hope that the injured, sick and dying find some kind of peace after their suffering. Whatever that may be. I still don't know.

You make a point about to the mysteries of religion. I agree. There are many mysteries. But I would call them mysteries of the universe. There is an incalculable amount of knowledge, riddles and questions out there. And science is trying to answer these questions. Some are right, most are wrong, but the TRYING to answer these questions is what separates science and religion. Religion tends to throw its hands up and say "God did it!" when they don't know an answer. That may have worked for generations stretching back to our inception, but that answer will not do anymore.

Which bring me to the final point of your reply. You mention several times about the education of today. You go as boldly to say;' Everyone thinks their a genius today after havein the poorest education of human history.'
I will ignore the cheap shot pointing out your spelling and grammatical mistakes in this sentence and go straight to the point of the message.
Sorry to go caps lock on you, but I needed to get that point across. The fact that both you and I are able to read, write, use this computer, navigate modern society in general speaks volumes about our educational systems.
I am assuming your an average working guy, not some super rich nobleman or something. Just a member of the masses, nobody special, like me. Very few generations ago we would not have even had the opportunity to learn basic elementary level educations. Most people could not spell their names. Many people still can't, but that number drops daily. I believe that the smartest person that ever lived is alive right now and probably has absolutely no interest in religion whatsoever. Our species is due for another DaVinci or Einstein or Oppenheimer that will come and shake up the world as we know it for better or worse.
The people, the masses are learning. And when you learn something, usually the answer poses more questions. And more and more people are coming to questions like "What did god have to do with this?'
And god is staying silent while the questions keep mounting.

I'm confused by the quotes you have selected. They seem odd choices.

While I do enjoy the writings of Victor Hugo, but you probably should have picked a different person to quote. He actually died a non-theist and was quite opposed to religion in his later years. He was unsure of religion as he went through many different denomination during his life. I'm sure he was spiritual in some sense, but not religious.

C.S. Lewis on the other hand was an atheist who turned into a devout christian. And is also one of the best fiction writers of all time. The Chronicles of Narnia is a massive sweeping tale of fantasy. Talking animals, epic battles, moral dilemmas, wise advice. Sounds like another book I know about.

Edward Young was also a devout Christian and another of histories greatest writers of fiction. Although Night Thoughts is supposedly based on true events, these events depict a world steeped in deep religious intrigue. He also managed to live in a perpetual state of retirement after Night Thoughts came out, becoming quite wealthy. Because it became a favorite within the church.

Saint Augustine, well, was a saint so probably did something for the church. I don't really know. I do know she is one of the approximately 10,000 named Catholic saints.

Now I'd like to leave you with some quotes as well.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
Albert Einstein

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Carl Sagan

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet
Napoleon Bonaparte

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason
Benjamin Franklin

I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them
Galileo Galilei

Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -- living in the sky -- who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time! ..But He loves you.
George Carlin RIP

Jesus Christ! (I do like religion for the vernacular)
This is a long post. Sorry. I just started typing and here we are.

12 years ago

@Rodrigo Pereira

"you contradict yourself, oyu say atheism is an association of free thought and next you condemn the thinking of religion."

Firstly, I cannot condemn the "thinking of religion." This requires cogitation on the part of the Theist. I am however, expressing my unfavorable opinion for an Ideology that has opted for the regurgitation of ideas written millenia ago, and the condemnation of anything new that may threaten the status quo.

"Thinking is a very difficult ability that must be learned by free thinking that means you have to learn, Religion, philosophy and Science"

What? How does one learn to think? The process of learning how to think, would be thinking. What a ridiculous thing of you to say.

12 years ago

I live in heaven it's cool i've never heard of jesus.

12 years ago

okay, this is my first comment. Afer watching and enjoying well over 50 docs on this site.
I grew up

12 years ago

Religion has decieved us,and continues to,so does science,technology,Govenments,that keep us uninformed,and lie to us all the time.Religion gave us false Gods,from every faith,they have all been corrupted,and worship a God in the sky.How ever,l believe there is a creator God,for l believe there is a spirit world.We are in fact spirits clothed with a body.This body dies,but the spirit never dies,but re-incarnates time after time.We think we are the body,so the body tells us ''it'' is all there is,because without knowing that there is a creator,the spirit seems not to exist.

Savage Henry
12 years ago

Leave it to the Brits to make sense out of nonsense. God Bless the BBC!

12 years ago

If it wasn't all caught on film and we only had hearsay and all was shrouded in 'Mystery'..... then Micheal Jackson would have been the latest incarnation of Krisna.. and thats just going on looks alone...

12 years ago

I have been checking Oz's comments score for over a week...to see if he was coming back. There has been 923 under the "most active members" but now it show 922....How come?
Oz i know you are there.
Kick that Fuck...n ego away and come back...we were finally getting somewhere.
You need to reach out....you got the spunk as Psymythe wrote: "its been a lot duller. He had so much spirit"
When the teacher said "write this way or that way, you certainly didn't quit school with that brain of yours!
Sharpen your pencil...there is a mountain of lies to climb over!
Someone suggested i write a poem...
here it is:
1 1 back to back makes an arrow
if enough are standing in the middle
we can go side ways towards evolution
let's go damit!