Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading Geoffrey Blainey’s book A Short History of Christianity. Weighing in at 170,000 words and 500+ pages, it’s anything but short (unless, perhaps, you’re an eminent scholar like Blainey who’s probably forgotten a hundred times more history than most of us will ever know).
Whilst reading through, I looked specifically for significant statements regarding the impact that Christianity, Christian beliefs and Christians (who claim to be acting on their beliefs) have had on the world, both positive and negative. And even more broadly, I looked for significant statements that specifically refer to ways in which Christianity has interacted with the world as we know it. With regards to the positive and the negatives I tried to do this as neutrally as possible- that is, I only noted historical conclusions under the “positive” category of I thought it was something almost anyone would agree was positive, and likewise for negative. Obviously I could’ve chosen any number of statements, but I attempted to select the most significant- bigger statements rather than statements on time rooted, smaller issues.
Firstly, a brief intro re: Blainey. He is one of the Australia’s most prolific and well regarded historians. He’s a generalist, having written books covering But, is Blainey reasonably impartial when it comes to matters of faith? As best I’ve been able to ascertain, the answer is a clear yes.
Tom Frame strongly criticised Blainey in a 1998 re his treatment of religion in Australian life.
Here are some of his key conclusions.
Positive Impacts of Christianity, Christian beliefs and Christians:
Negative Impacts of Christianity, Christian beliefs and Christians:
Ways that Christianity has interacted significantly in the world:
His overall verdict?