Christianity: A History

Sunday 1 March 7:00pm on C4

In the final episode of Christianity: A History , practising Catholic and leading barrister Cherie Blair considers the challenges facing the future of Christianity. She looks back over the last hundred years to see how Christianity has fared in the face of two World Wars and monumental social change. With church attendance dwindling and a world obsessed by money and material goods, can Christianity really survive? Although Christianity in Europe appears to be in decline, in the USA the opposite is true. Cherie interviews Laura Bush about the power of religion in American political life.

Sunday 22 February 7:00pm on C4

Eminent scientist Colin Blakemore examines Christianity’s relationship with science. He argues that science is the biggest challenge Christianity has ever faced. Blakemore interviews esteemed scholars and Churchmen in order to understand how science continues to force Christians to re-evaluate their belief. But Blakemore argues that science will eventually give us not only a satisfactory explanation for our physical world, but also provide answers as to why it is our brains create a need for religious belief itself. Should such a thing happen, he asks: What would be left for Christianity?

Sunday 15 February 7:00pm on C4

Actor, playwright and broadcaster Kwame Kwei-Armah argues that the worldwide success of Christianity – followed by a third of the global population and growing – has mushroomed as a result of one of the greatest revolutions in religious history. A revolution in which, he says, the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America seized the religion of their former colonial masters, transformed and adapted it and are now set to overturn the Christian world.

Sunday 8 February 7:00pm on C4

Ann Widdecombe, MP examines the turbulent years of the Reformation. Five centuries ago a vast religious revolution gripped Western Europe. The medieval Church was split into rival Catholic and Protestant factions, and Christians killed Christians in the name of their faith. Ann Widdecombe was brought up a Protestant in the Church of England but became a Catholic 15 years ago. In this film, Ann sets out to learn more about the tumultuous years that divided Catholics and Protestants and to search for the causes of the Reformation.

Sunday 18 January 2009 at 7:00pm on C4

In the second instalment broadcaster and former politician Michael Portillo investigates the role of the Roman Empire in transforming Christianity from an underground sect to the official religion. He demonstrates how 1,700 years ago Emperor Constantine laid the foundations for one of the most powerful religious organisations in history with a global reach of over two billion worshippers. Constantine’s rich legacy includes glorious art, music, architecture and even the Bible itself. But did he distort the central message at the heart of Christianity?

Sunday 11 January 2009 at 7:00pm on C4

Christianity: A History is a provocative eight-part personal view series exploring the turbulent history and global impact of the world’s biggest religion. In this series, eight leading British personalities – including Michael Portillo, Rageh Omaar, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Cherie Blair – look at the origins and history of the world’s most powerful faith. The first programme, Jesus the Jew , is written and presented by leading British writer Howard Jacobson. Himself a Jew, Jacobson examines the origins and consequences of Christian belief.

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