The Spread and Adaptation of Christianity Essays

The Spread and Adaptation of Christianity Essays

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Today, Christianity and its practices vary depending on location and denomination. At its onset, however, Christianity was not as diverse and house churches driven by simplicity were the norm. How did such a variety of beliefs and ways of practicing the same religion? Part of this can be explained by the early attempts to Christianize the pagans of the unreached parts of Europe. 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. Clovis, king of the Franks, is a prime example of this type of adaptation of Christianity. After allowing his children to be baptized according to Christian belief and seeing one die and another become sick quickly after, Clovis charges into a battle that is said to have been a "grievous slaugher" against Clovis' men (Christianity and Paganism, 82). As Clovis' loss seems imminent, he says a prayer declaring that Christianity's truth will be accepted if "[t]hou grant me victory" ...

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...tices and festivals used among the ancient world while also illuminating Christianity's unique ability to adjust to culture's outside of its own.
Christianity's expansion and adaptation is a result of these various methods and results in plethora of ways to practicing Christianity. While some convert to Christianity because of the power it gives, others, including many of the lower classes, convert based on logic or the acceptable nature of slow assimilation offered by the missionaries dispersed among the area. Although Christianity adapts and adjusts to different cultures, it never strays from the fundamentals of belief. Power is not the only reason to serve God, logic does not take priority over Christian belief, and pagan practices are not left unchanged. With its diversity, Christianity proves itself relevant and able to exist in any culture and any place.

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