Is Christianity a European Religion?

Far from being a European religion, Christianity’s origins were in the Mideast, a place far from Europe but just next door to Egypt and North Africa. Jesus and His followers weren’t blue-eyed and light-skinned. They were Semitic people, dark-skinned and dark-eyed. For that matter, Scripture itself declares that the religion of Jehovah and Christ is a universal religion ( Genesis 22:17-18; 26:4 ; Psalm 72 ; Daniel 2:44 ; Mark 16:15 ; Acts 8:27-38; 17:22-28 ; Revelation 11:15 ).

When the Christian gospel first began to spread about 2,000 years ago through the lands that bordered on the Mediterranean Sea, the peoples of the subcontinent that today is known as Europe were living a tribal existence, divided by hundreds of tribal languages. Just like other tribal peoples, Europeans were animists who worshiped and feared the spirits and sometimes practiced human sacrifice to appease them. They told and retold the legends of their gods and ancestral heroes around their night fires.

Although many of them had already been forced to submit to Roman authority, the European tribes in those days were much like African tribes today, or Native Americans at the time of Columbus. Among the warriors captured in battle and sold in Mediterranean slave markets were tall, blond Germans (then known as Goths), red-haired Celts and Britons, and short, dark-haired Iberians (from the regions we know as Spain and Portugal). More than a thousand years of tremendous cultural, social, linguistic, and political change would occur before the scattered, warring European tribes would be consolidated into the great modern, nominally Christian nations of Europe.

All people, whether African, Asian, Native American, or European,have tribal beginnings. Christianity was essential to the civilization of Europe. But Christianity isn’t unique to European civilization. Christianity is a religion of all mankind, a tree that has its roots planted among people of every race and culture.

We don’t know why God chose the Jews as the people through whom He revealed Himself. Their racial characteristics are as unlike Europeans as they are unlike Africans, Asians, and Native Americans. Certainly, the central location of Palestine was important to the spread of the gospel. But the pagan tribal peoples of Europe were civilized through a gospel that came to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ, a dark-skinned Semite who lived His entire life in a small area of the Mideast, far away from the Europe.

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