Exploring the history of the church – the good the bad and the ugly.

By 96five Monday 18 Jun 2018

When we look back on the history of Christianity, not all of it is as positive as we would like it to be.


Christianity, as one of the most popular religions in the world has been center stage for much of our history. With its adoption by the Roman Empire and later the British Empire it was spread to every corner of the globe and has found its home around the world.

As such it has had a hand in many moments throughout history, some of them amazing efforts exemplary of the Christian faith, others not so much. The Crusades, the Inquisition, witch trials, the list goes on once you begin to bring up the unsavory moments of Christianity’s history.

…there was this feeling that maybe Christianity’s not just something to ignore but maybe its been something that’s been bad for us

Simon Smart, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Christianity knows this all too well. The organization has people bringing up those moments all the time – “It was a long list, and we looked at it and thought, it’s a valid list. So we wanted to address the question. Because we had this sense that for a growing number of people there was this feeling that maybe Christianity’s not just something to ignore but maybe its been something that’s been bad for us.”

So in order to do this the group decided upon a documentary. Now the filmmakers have traveled around the world, interviewed experts, and confronted the worst of what Christians have done, while also tracing the origins of western values like human rights, charity, and non violence.

Even though we aspire to this ideal of living up to God’s image, we often fail palpably

The filmmakers hope that the documentary will engage with people and encourage them to take a deeper look at their faith.  This is all summed up quite simply in the tagline for the documentary, “The church is better and worse than you ever imagined.”

Now of course straight away this seems like a bit of an paradoxical thing to say, “How can it be both better and worse? It has to be one or the other doesn’t it?” The tagline points to a deeper answer, No. Christianity has existed for a very long time, and it is an ideology that has been used to both spread good throughout the world and also to justify selfish causes too.

The documentary encourages a deeper and well rounded understanding of the history of the religion and its practitioners, as one expert in the film states: “Even though we aspire to this ideal of living up to God’s image, we often fail palpably.” It’s an admission that invites us to better examine our own representation of Christ and to look at how we have succeeded and failed to live up to the word of God in our own lives.

For the Love of God – How the church is better and worse than you ever believed – has started screening around the country now. Find more details about getting one of their screenings near you click here!

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