I was just thinking about what our world would be like if the early Christians had gone towards the East more than the West. Instead of ministering so much to Rome and everyone, what if the early missionaries had focused on India, China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, etc. Would there be any Buddhism or Hinduism of Confucianism left? Would China and North Korea not be Communist? Would the Crusades have happened from the other direction... if they happened at all? Would there be Christian Ninjas or martial arts (that would be awesome)? One has to wonder what our modern world would be like if Christianity had ended up being an "eastern" religion instead of a western one. One thing is certain: it would be completely different!
In addition to the questions you've raised, I also wonder what the WEST would be like now if that had happened. Would Islam have conquered everything to the Atlantic? Would pagan religions (Celtic, perhaps) have reigned supreme in the West?
I always liked the idea of a Christian martial art! I actually came up with a name for one without working out all the details (I've never had any martial arts training except a slew of pseudo Kung Fu movies -- pseudo fu?). I called it Spe-Be Fai (derived from SPEaking, BElieving, and FAIth). I wonder if this forum would be a place where we could develop the moves and such and then "license" it for use in many novels. I'm thinking of the "Gun Katas" developed by the same director of two different movies (Equillibrium and Ultra Violet). Wouldn't that be cool?? Maybe a new collaborative effort, Jeff?
I think the idea of taking Christianity east instead of west would make for a great story! Maybe it was the Pacific Ocean that the Pilgrims crossed to settle in "Plymouth", California or Hawai'i. WWII would be drastically different too. Fun stuff!
Wouldn't that also alter the entire Byzantine Empire? When Constantinople and Russia got together, things would have turned out quite differently. Maybe there would have been no Bolshevik Revolution. Would Marx or Lenin be Christian instead of Communist? Would we have access to where the Ark is supposed to be somewhere in Turkey? I like the Byzantines, but if Christianity had moved east, they would have a different story. Hmmm . . . Can I help collaborate?
Post by Jeff Gerke on Jan 13, 2008 10:07:18 GMT -5
Oh, that's hysterical. But you're right.
Plus, the flavor of worship would change. It would've merged with the culture of the country in question.
The holidays would've changed. Christmas, Halloween (well, All Saints' Day, actually), and Easter are all set on the days they are because of the pagan holidays that had been in place for centuries. What holidays are there in China, for instance, that would have to be likewise "baptized"?
Post by strangewind on Jan 14, 2008 18:16:54 GMT -5
Ghost Festival, I think, is the one where people burn money for their ancestors so they aren't troubled by them. That could be modified to celebrate Pentecost. [I'm probably going to screw up the few Chinese holidays I know, so my apologies in advance.]
Chinese New Year, of course, could celebrate the Incarnation.
Lantern Festival (which I think is for a certain new moon - the 1st maybe) might be Christianized for Easter, or perhaps the Magpie Festival would be stripped of its galactic goddess overtones to express the reconciliation of God to Man through Christ.
I read a book once by a missionary in Papua New Guinea who had a theory that most world cultures pagan beliefs had some (sometimes warped) root in Judaic faith. The book that I read was "The Peace Child" by Don Richardson, but he wrote another book that explored his notion of God-origins to pagan thought much more completely. That book is called "Eternity in Their Hearts," but I haven't read it yet. It might be fascinating for anyone asking the question of "How does God speak to 'others' and how do we 'change the story' to suit our desires?"
Hey! I found a link to at least a nice preview edition to "The Peace Child" here:
Actually the Christian faith moved both east and west...it just stuck better in the west. The oldest Buddhist temple in Japan is built over the site of the last Nestorian Christian Church in Japan whose presence there lasted from the 7th to the 11th centuries. There is a burnt beam left with Syriac writing on it. Its in the national museum. There is also a miniature copy of a stele that is covered with much of the Gospel of St. Matthew, the original of which is located in Northern China. Also the prototypes of the Korean Hangul alphabet were developed by early Nestorian missionaries in Korea within the same timeframe (7 to 11/12 century). St. Thomas established the Church in the area around Mumbai before Christians were ever called Christians. Its descendants exist to this day (Malankara/Mar Thoma churches).
And for what it is worth, the Christian Faith is Eastern in many respects. Indeed Eastern Christianity has many significant theological differences with a number of ideas that are almost inextricable from Protestant and Catholic conceptions of Christianity. Eastern Christianity is very aescetically minded, and quite mystical in its theology. If you look at all the ancient centers of Christianity with the exception of Rome they all fall within the sphere of the Eastern Church (Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople).
Last Edit: Dec 8, 2008 23:02:55 GMT -5 by seraphim
I was going to point out similar things, Seraphim, but you did a better job than I would have. ;-)
As for martial arts, you don't really have to create anything. Every nation has had its martial arts. They just didn't all look like Kung Fu or Karate. I watched this series on the history channel that went over some of them, and I believe one episode featured French Savat street fighting. And then they had the expert sword's men, some of whom were probably as good as your average practitioner of East Asian martial arts.
As for Christian martial arts in particular, it's not a new idea. The Knights Templar were supposed to be an elite fighting force, according to the fiction I've read or watched that featured them. Of course, whenever you have such a force, you have their enemies, who have to develop similar skills. You had the ninjas to combat the samaurai (sp?). Likewise in Europe and in the church, I'm sure.
And then I've read several books and watched movies that focused on the Assassini, or some derivation of the knights templar, centuries later. The basic premis was that the Catholic church took prisoners that looked to be beyond hope, and "re-educated" them or some such. They were put into a kind of indentured servanthood and trained to serve much in the way that Samaurai would in Japan, or the elite guard of a Germanic lord.
They would do whatever was perceived to be needed to defend and protect their Lord, in this case, their bishop, arch-bishop or cardinal, including assasinations, thefts, kidnapping, spying, etc. In these novels some of them are quite good. Or bad, depending on your perspective. I tried to find documentation of this on-line, but did not succeed.
Some struggle through the desert because He said . . .[br][br]". . .If you would be my disciples, you must take up your cross daily and follow me"