Christian history is full of violence, corruption, and oppression. So, would we be better off without Christianity? Does religion poison everything? The history of the church offers plenty of ammunition to its critics. Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, the oppression of women ...
For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined, a documentary by the Centre for Public Christianity, confronts the worst of what Christians have done - and also traces the origins of Western values like human rights, charity, humility, and non-violence back to the influence of Jesus.
For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined, has been released in three formats:
1. A 90-minute cinema version (it will be available for purchase/rental later in 2018)
2. Four one-hour episodes on the topics of War + Peace, Rights + Wrongs, Rich + Poor, and Power + Humility (available on the CPX website)
3. 34 segments, each between approximately 5 to 10 minutes (available on the CPX website).
- Holy War: The Crusades
- MLK: Power and non-violence
- Slavery in ‘Christian’ America
- The leper priest: Father Damien of Molokai
- How missionaries changed the world
- The church under Nazi rule
- Oppressive or liberating? Christianity and women
The classroom resources are based on the 5 to 10-minute video segments and can be viewed both online and/or downloaded. Generally each individual segment has a set of suggested activities following the format:
- ask a theme question
- engage with the topic through personal reflection
- challenge understanding and evaluation of the theme
- link a bible focus
- apply the theme beyond the presented topic
- extend understanding and engagement with the topic.
They are particularly designed for use in Christian/Biblical Studies classes in independent schools, but could also be used in other subjects, such as English, Drama, Art, Studies of Religion or History. They could also be utilised in chapel services or assemblies. Unfortunately, these resources have not yet been approved for use in Special Religious Education (SRE) in public schools, however CPX are working on this for the future.
Structure of resources
The resources that go alongside each segment are not intended to be a comprehensive lesson plan, rather, a set of suggested activities that you can pick and choose from, or modify, based on the needs of your particular class.
A quick look at two segments:
1. MLK: POWER AND NON-VIOLENCE
This segment comes from Episode 1: War + Peace.
From Jesus’ command to ‘love your enemies’ to the idea of ‘holy war’ is a giant leap. Yet from the Old Testament through to the Crusades and the inquisitions, Christian history is full of violence. Has Christianity been a major contributor to war? How have the followers of a crucified leader managed to get things so wrong? And what difference has it made when they have followed his example of peace-making and non-violence? This segment looks at the life of Martin Luther King Jr, an example of someone whose non-violent resistance was anchored in the teachings of Jesus.
This segment comes from Episode 3: Rich + Poor.
From decadent medieval popes to modern televangelists with private jets, religion and money can make for an unsavoury mix. But why do we think of charity – care for the poor and the sick – as a good in the first place? The Graeco-Roman world didn’t think so: they mostly thought the poor and suffering deserved what they got. This segment traces how Jewish thought, turbocharged by the teaching of Jesus, transformed the way we think vulnerable people should be treated.
Access the film here (Length 7:01 mins )
Access the resources here.
This (free) online material is a very worthy addition to the range of resources available and can be incorporated into many existing Secondary class programs.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of EdComm or the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The intent is to promote thinking and discussion.