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Christianity History

Ellerbe, Helen. The Dark Side of Christian History. San Rafael, CA: Morningstar Books, 1995.

1. On pages 55-57, summarize how the Church viewed classical literature and poetry?

2. Describe how the Dominican prophet, Savonarola, carried out his moral reforms.

3. What was the example given of the possible income disparity between a wealthy bishop and a vicar and why did the Church forbid clergy to marry in the twelfth century?

4. What did the papal bull or edict Cum inter nonnullos say and why was it created in 1326?

5. Summarize how the Virgin Mary/Madonna and Child was venerated during the Middle Ages.

6.  Beginning at the bottom of page 59, the governing laws of much of Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries originated from Rome and Germany. These laws granted power to people outside of the Church’s realm of power. How did the Church respond to gain control over the laws and people?

7. What is the “plentitude of power” and what power did it give to Rome’s popes?

8. Why were ancient letters used by the Church and what happened with Constantine’s letter?

9. Look at how Pope Adrian IV on page 63 and Pope Boniface on page 63 used canon law to sanction war or control over others. Compare George Bush’s declaration of war against Iraq or the Popes/Priests/Preachers sanctioning the enslavement of our ancestors to at least one of the quotes. Choose the example (Bush or enslavement) you are most familiar with.        

10. Read the quote from Raymond of Aguilers on page 65 describing the killing of Muslims and Jews during the crusades in 1099 A.D/C.E. Notice the last sentence in Aguilers’ quote: “It was a just and marvelous…” Most of you were raised to be Christian without the knowledge that such terror against non-Christians was considered devotion to God. Think about the current view of Islam being a “terrorist religion,” the Christian minister recently (2011) burning the Koran, how pastors at this school and in churches we attend teach about those so-called non-believers going to hell and that Christianity is the greatest religion in the world because of its morality usually without knowing anything about the origins of Christianity and other religions, how Black people all over the world were imposed with the idea that Christianity saved us from eternal damnation, and what Black churches do for Black History Month. Read Aguilers’ quote, think about the things I stated above, and let me know what do you think about this. (Give me some deep reflection!)

11. Why did Pope Innocent III order an attack against Greek Christians at Constantinople 1204 A.D./C.E.? 

12. How many people were killed during the 200 years of the Christian crusades?

13. The Albigensian crusade mentioned on page 74 alone killed an estimated one million people under the authorship of several popes from the 12th to the 13th century. Use pages 72-74 to discuss how the Cathars were viewed by some Christians and how the Roman Popes rationalized their annihilation in the crusades.

14. Compare in your own words how the enslavement, murder, rape, dismemberment, and torture of Black people were similarly justified by Christians like the Cathars were.

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