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Geoffrey Blainey (Melbourne Catholic)

Historian Geoffrey Blainey discussed some of the themes in his bestselling book A Short History of Christianity at a Melbourne parish last week. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

Nearly 200 people gathered at St Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Toorak on December 8 for the talk by one of Australia’s most popular and prolific historians.

Professor Blainey, 93, was from a Methodist background and reflected on his years growing up in Australia. Although he had “drifted away” from Christianity in later years, he experienced something of a “return” to his Christian roots.

He said he had always wanted to write a history of Christianity, recognising its signal achievements and just how influential it has been in the course of world events. Writing such a broad overview allowed him to observe “cycles” in Christianity’s history, cycles of growth and also decline.

“There are periods where it looks as though Christianity was nearing the end. And there appears also times where it seems triumphant,” he said. The “seeds of failure and success” are sown in every age.

While acknowledging that Christianity appears to be shrinking in the West, he noted how explosively it was growing elsewhere in the world, often against people’s expectations.

“At the moment it seems Christianity is in decline, yet in Africa Christianity is very strong indeed. It is stronger in Africa than the whole of the British Isles. Who could have predicted that?”


Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC reflects on Christianity’s legacy (Melbourne Catholic)