Christianity's popularity influenced the church by people's newfound ability to concentrate on faith and a better life. With this foundation, the Middle Ages expanded religious importance by employing it in day to day life. Christianity was consistently present in the social arena of the Middle Ages. There were many controversies over Christian beliefs. The engrossment in Christianity in the eighth century had a non peaceful turn because of the Iconoclastic Controversy.
Due to such ambition, the expansion of Christianity and Catholicism largely impacted the development of Western Civilization and our culture today with Christianity being “the dominant religion within our planet” (Backman 206). The idea of a Christian church or organization was formed so that those who followed the faith could have a foundation for worship. Such organizations basic structure derived after the resurrection of Jesus and through the efforts of spreading Christianity from word of mouth. Although such interactions helped jumpstart the development of Christianity, there were still very few followers within the Roman Empire due to the Christian prosecutions and the Roman idea that Christians lacked proper loyalty; the Romans didn’t feel as though the Christians were true patriots of Rome therefore they wanted to rid her (Rome) of them. Because of such ideals, what little Christians that did reside within Rome “practiced their faith in private, gathering in homes, in remote spots outside the city, in caves, or in warehouses—Wherever they might escape notice” (Backman 221).
With the hindsight of the 1960s, it is easy for us to view how influencers of the era have reformed and revitalised the Christian tradition to a great extent. Because of this hindsight of the 1960s, an era in which the zeitgeist was full of intellectuals, poets, musicians and authors, we can see the traditions of Christianity were considered to be backward to a world that was changing in terms of beliefs and ethics as society embraced these social reforms. The statement then clearly reflects Pope John XXIII and his impacts on Catholicism. Pope John XXIII recognized these changes and through his leadership, the impacts he had on Christianity had a substantially large influence over the Catholic Church as he ultimately altered the Christian tradition by creating the Vatican II. By doing so, he adjusted traditional Church Scriptures (ressourcement), involved himself with promoting ecumenicalism and also interfaith-dialogue as well as becoming engaged in the modern world (aggiornamento), therefore meeting the needs of the evolving society by revitalising the old traditions.
However things soon changed drastically. Constantine the emperor of Roman had a religious conversion and made Christianity the official religion of the state. Which changed the nature of the religion. Christianity became main stream so to speak. Roman officials began to convert just because it might help them in the political career.
These new sects resulted in a stronger tolerance toward religious diversity. Also, because revivalists preached mainly to backcountry people who had no religious affiliation, the emphasis on emotion rather than wisdom gave less-educated people a feeling of self-worth. These new freethinking converts gained the strength to begin questioning social and political order. The movements of the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening mainly produced a new mode of thought for American colonists.
All in all, the Renaissance led to the Protestant Reformation. The idea of humanism which first developed in the city-states of Italy stayed in people’s mind for several centuries. While for a time the population was free of religious duty, they eventually came back to God with new standards for what the spiritual experience should be like. People voiced their opinions, leading to a new branch of Christianity, Protestantism. Individual ideas, which the Church had feared all along, had been the key to a pivotal era in European history.
As the movement grew, it began more structured and strategically organized for more effective ministry, eventually leading to the institutionalized Catholic Church. While Roman Christianity had become homogenous, the spread of the religion to other, more distant areas required change and adaptation. As Christian missionaries attempted to convert the rest of Europe, approaches to achieve this conversion varied from complete destruction of pagan culture, appeals to power, and the less violent, slow approach in which Christians assimilated the beliefs of the true religion into common practices. These different approaches led to the adaptation of Christianity to the cultural settings as it continued to expand. One of the earliest ways Christianity spread throughout Europe was through the rulers of the lands who accepted the religion on the basis of the power it granted them.
Unlike most new religions Christianity grew and spread throughout the entire world. How did Christianity become this successful? Many different elements contributed to making Christianity what it is today, one key element was Christianity’s ability to adapt characteristics from other religions so it could replace them. The biggest competitor of Christianity was paganism "…with its multiplicity of divine powers, rituals of sacrifice, temples, statues of deities, votive offerings, and periodic festivals", therefore to become more popular with the people Christianity borrowed elements from the existing pagan religions so it could eventually replace them (Ferguson p.3). This method of drawing followers could be viewed as cut throat in retrospect, but it was tactics such as this combined with giving the people what they wanted that helped to make Christianity what it is today.
Emperor Constantine was the key to a major religious change in the Roman Empire. Paganism was the religious practice of the early empire, and while paganism was publically expressed those who followed Christianity were persecuted. These Christians had their property and pride ripped away from them if they did not recant their religious views. This was a harsh life for those who followed Christianity until Emperors Constantine and Licinius meeting in Nicomedia to create the Edict of Milan. The edict, created in the year 313, proved to be a major change in the religious culture of the Roman Empire by granting religious freedom to Christians and all other religions practiced in the empire; not only were Christians now able to freely practice their beliefs but all property, land, and belongings that were once stolen from them were to be returned.
Christianity provided Europe with an escape from the disorder of the Medieval ages and give them a spiritual outlet for their fears and desires for a better life, whether in the physical life or in the spiritual world after death. The Roman Empire was able to extend its boarders and create a civilization based on the cultural belief that they were the civilized people and all others were barbarians. Though many of the people in Rome were not well educated the elites in the Empire “would pass from forum to forum, s... ... middle of paper ... ...n & Company. 1989. Collins, Roger.