The great cathedrals of Europe are glorious triumphs that epitomized the evolution of the art and science of architecture and the associated field of engineering. When we gaze on these marvelous edifices today we stand in awe and wonder just how these massive monuments to Jesus, still standing centuries later, were built.
The architectural style most associated with Christianity is Gothic dating from 12th century France.
It is impossible to visit any famous art museum and not see masterpieces reflecting the life of Jesus or the aftermath of his walk on earth. Of course among the world’s most influential paintings is The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, painted on a monastery wall in Milan, Italy, and depicting the Passover Seder that changed the world.
Look around any community and you will see the Salvation Army at work along with countless soup kitchens, thrift shops, homeless shelters, rehab centers, orphanages, houses for abused women, etc. all run by local churches or Christian/Catholic faith based organizations. Jesus taught his followers to have compassion toward those at the bottom rung of the social ladder and the church over centuries has embraced this concept in earnest. Mother Teresa who died in 1997, has become an iconic example of Christ’s teaching in action.
This area of Catholic/Christian influence is among the most impressive worldwide. In our nation during its first 200 years all children’s public school textbooks emphasized biblical literacy. Now the Catholic school system in our nation is still large, influential and as of late has become a popular alternative to “liberal” public schools for Catholic as well as many non-Catholic families.
It is easy to forget now, since most colleges are associated with liberal/secular teaching, that in Colonial America all but one of the 123 colleges were founded as Christian institutions. Most notable was Harvard University which began in 1636 and was named for its founder and first funder Reverend John Harvard. Among other well known early colleges with religious roots were Yale and William & Mary.