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To begin with, Christianity was itself deeply divided between the Byzantine Empire and the West. While the Byzantine Empire continued to…
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The Spread of Christianity From the perspective of the missionaries, the early spread of Christianity, especially to China and Europe was riddled with obstacles. To begin with, Christianity was itself deeply divided between the Byzantine Empire and the West. While the Byzantine Empire continued to maintain its imperial traditions, the West tried to retain its links to the classical world. The Western Roman Catholic Church also broke away from political authorities, which the Eastern Orthodox Church did not. This Church remained closely linked to the state: a practice known as ‘caesaropapism’. This schism between the two churches is noticeable even today.
In the West, there were hurdles of economic and geographical reasons as well. Western Europe was far removed from the new trade routes and geographically, it was difficult for any kind of unity to develop. Then a series of invasions from c. 700 to 1000 also put a halt on European development, making the spread of Christianity more difficult in these times.
Later on, there would be philosophical and cultural obstacles. For instance, the debate between ‘Reason’ and ‘Faith’ began after 1000 CE and the creation of schools and rise of scholarly activity led to the development of subjects like ‘natural philosophy.’ The emphasis shifted to law, medicine, nature and other subjects that humans could fully comprehend. The power that religion enjoyed previous over the masses began to dwindle.
We see therefore that the spread of Christianity into Europe and China was fraught with obstacles of various sorts: cultural, political, philosophical and intellectual. It would take Christian missionaries many years to be able to successfully overcome these obstacles to their efforts at spreading the message of Christianity.
Work Cited:
Strayer, Robert W. Ways of the World: A Brief Global History. 1st ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. Print. Read More
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