Modern And Traditional Christianity

In the western world, Christianity is, and has for some centuries, been the dominant faith of the people of western civilization. While modern inclusiveness has brought other faiths into the fold peacefully, the fact is that Christianity is the major faith among the people of the western world.

There are, however, many different variations of Christianity, ranging from the incredibly venerable practices of the Coptic Christians of Egypt to the newer, syncretic practices of the Christians of Mexico. While they are all undeniably Christians, there is no denying that their practices are different, and as any theological scholar can tell you, even the most traditional practices of any church are, in many ways, very different from the traditional practices of the faith.

The orthodox churches of Africa and the Middle East arguably maintain the most “traditional” practices of Christianity. A local example of this orthodox faith is the St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. Ancient practices such as frequent fasting (oftentimes being best described as a vegan diet abstaining from meat and dairy during designated fasting periods, which can sometimes encompass up to two-thirds of the year), feasts celebrating significant figures in the faith (ranging from saints to important angels to early martyrs of Christianity who have regional significance) to the burning of traditional incense during worship (oftentimes being forms of incense that are native to North Africa and the Near East) are ancient practices that persist to the modern day in the orthodox churches of the region and places where those churches’ adherents have since moved to.

The churches of Europe are somewhat more syncretic, with many of their practices having their origins in a blending of ancient Christian practices and the practices of the ancient pagan faiths from across Europe. While most of the pre-Christian religions of Europe are poorly documented, many Eastern Orthodox and Catholic practices are rather different from those of the churches of North Africa and the Near East, and some practices, ranging from yule logs to maypoles, can be traced back to the pre-Christian religions of Europe. While the Eastern Orthodox churches are arguably more traditional, even they have some practices unknown to even the orthodox churches of North Africa and the Near East.

More modern churches, such as the Anglican and various Protestant denominations, have more modern practices that are markedly different even from the European denominations they split from centuries ago. While practices such as baptism, confession, and holy communion persist even in these modern Christian churches (though even these ancient practices are less ritualistic and solemn than they are in old churches), most of the traditional fasting and feasting is an uncommon practice except among individual believers.

evolution of christianity

Particularly modern Christian practices, ranging from Mexico’s famous Dia de Los Muertos festivities to the intense passion plays of the Philippines where penitents are willing crucified in emulation of Jesus, are far more modern, oftentimes being the results of blending beliefs and practices very different from the faith’s roots in the Middle East. But even these traditions, though oftentimes seemingly unusual, are still devotions of the same Christian faith that have persisted through two thousand years.