2013 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, when emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christianity, to which he had converted. In early October, World Council of Churches General Secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit praised Constantine’s legacy in glowing terms. Yet in reality it has been a mixture of harm and good.
We are likely to understand situations like the recent cairo protests more readily by examining the social and political pressures involved for both the protesters and the security forces, says Michael Marten - rather than seeking to make broad statements equating Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices.
Today and tomorrow, 27 & 28 October, are key dates in Christian history. Constantine's 'vision of the Cross' in 312, and his attribution of military victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge the next day to God, was the beginning of Christendom in Europe - an era which mixed civilisation with bloodshed, saints with militarism, and faith with often brutal sacralised-secular power.
The problem for Christians today is not primarily 'aggressive secularism', but the confusion of Christianity with power, says Simon Barrow. That and the the distortion of public debate about religiosity and secularity into a false dichotomy between dominating belief or privatised belief. A better way is needed - based on living by example, not the lust for control.