The Most Reverend and Right Honorable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury discusses and dissolves the assumptions and accusations that the early Christian Church sometimes has to face.
In doing so, the position of Christianity and religion in the modern world is brought into a new light and the issues currently facing religion will be seen from a new and enlightening perspective.
It will emerge that there is a great deal that we can learn from the early Christians and which we could put to some much-needed good use in this post 9/11 world.
As a world expert on early Christianity and as the principal leader of the Church of England, Dr Rowan Williams is in a unique position to deliver this annual Gresham Special Lecture in St. Paul's Cathedral- Gresham College
The Most Reverend and Right Hon. the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales. He was educated at Dynevor School, Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate -- in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought -- at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975.
After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.
From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge. He was a lecturer in Divinity at the University of Cambridge from 1983, and in 1984 he became dean and chaplain of Clare College Cambridge. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.
In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, with eleven years experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.
Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study -- philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics.
He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.
Religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus in the 1st century AD. Its sacred scripture is the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Its principal tenets are that Jesus is the Son of God (the second person of the Holy Trinity), that God's love for the world is the essential component of his being, and that Jesus died to redeem humankind. Christianity was originally a movement of Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah, but the movement quickly became predominantly Gentile. The early church was shaped by St. Paul and other Christian missionaries and theologians; it was persecuted under the Roman Empire but supported by Constantine I, the first Christian emperor. In medieval and early modern Europe, Christian thinkers such as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther contributed to the growth of Christian theology, and beginning in the 15th century missionaries spread the faith throughout much of the world. The major divisions of Christianity are Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Nearly all Christian churches have an ordained clergy, members of which are typically though not universally male. Members of the clergy lead group worship services and are viewed as intermediaries between the laity and the divine in some churches. Most Christian churches administer two sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist. In the early 21st century there were more than two billion adherents of Christianity throughout the world, found on all continents.
The speaker is right about the early history of the church, but seems to me to be, between the lines, in favour of Gnosticism, and Asceticism. Gnosticism of course has clearly has docetism as its core. The Nicene Creed, which is read every week in the Anglican Church, is there to protect the early teaching of the Apostles. I would be very interested in others views on this,
The speaker is right about the history of the church before the dark ages started. Yes the church later became corrupt, as it was a time before print, and before most citizens could read. The dark ages is also a time in which government failed, and society was forced to look to the church, for there was no alternative uniting them.
It is a great period of time to study. I suggest people who only see the crimes of the church; study this era keeping in mind the church was wrong, much of what they believed. Many of the "heretics" murdered by the church were those who were actually more accurate in their understanding of the gospel. It is wrong to blame the faults of the church on the message of Christianity. It was the church that strayed from the message of the gospel.
I hate to break it to you, but the dude had cred from Oxford- either as student teacher or lecturer- that credibility speaks for itself, sirs or madams- they have the most austere and stringent recognition of accreditation and scholarship in the world- they recognise only Cambridge and another college in Italy as even coming to a par with the grace of their skirts.So with due respect, the shoe is on the other foot and you're saying silly things.
I cannot workout if the Arch Bishop is ignorant of history or is deliberately misleading his audience.
He cites few references, skirts over great thinkers like Hobbs and Hume, then ignores the great Greek philosophers, whose work was preserved by Arabs from destruction by the Christian church.
It was only when the Catholic church abducted Arab scholars and copies of their translated Greek texts that the Enlightenment began to occur.
The Enlightenment was a continuation of where 'pagan' intellect had left off before the Christian church stamped all over it, leading to the 'dark ages'.
The best the Christian church can claim is that there were some individuals born in Christian cultures who had the courage to defy the Christian church and avoided being executed long enough to complete great works which often defied the church.
Perhaps we would have had the modern sciences and humanities in the 10th century if the Christian church hadn't chocked it for so many centuries.
Sorry, I don't buy it. The *Christians* were not the first to challenge their government. And they *DIDN'T* throughout the years 300-1300. Democracy was named after an acient greek man named Democritus who predated the existence of Christianity.
Christianity is only responsible for secularism in a negative sense. What people like Peter Abelard, Martin Luther and King Henry the 8th did was cause the christian churches to fragment and divide. Science was given to eurpeans through a recovery of greek texts through the Muslims in Spain. As the Muslim's hold over Spain weakened, people defected to the North and spread the recovered knowledge of the greeks and the new knowledge from the middle east and asia to the rest of europe.
Toward the end of the dark ages the christians had long forgotten that the roman elite had used their knowledge and power against them. So they forgot that knowledge would be like an antidote to the poison of Christianity. They forgot how they burned the greek books in an attempt to destroy their knowledge. So they allowed science, secularism and humanism (all of which in a memetic sense was a *RESPONSE* to Christianity, not an outgrowth from it) to rise.
To make a claim that Christianity was in some way responsible for somehow positiveily influencing the enlightenment, you would have to explain why it so thoroughly failed to do so for the entirety of the dark ages (ca. 300-1300). Why did Christianity sit on its hands for 1000 years? That's a long time to be sitting on that egg. To ignore this and the fact that non-Christian influences were what was primarily responsible for the rise of secularism is pure ignorance. There is merely a question of how willful that ignorance is.
*MODERN* christianity has a problem with sex. Any survey about this (compared directly with atheists, for example) would demonstrate it.
Nonsense. No we could *NOT* do worse than to look backwards to early archaic Christians. We might end up selling undulgences, rather than following the path of freedom for the mind and power through knowledge.