I posted this on another thread about Protestant misconceptions about the origins of Catholicism and I believe it’s worthy of its own thread.
The vast majority of public school education carries great Protestant bias with it. Here is what I "learned’ in my Freshmen world history class three years ago:
The teacher, Mrs. Uselmann, was a Southern Baptist who was married to a former Catholic, so she considered herself a self-proclaimed “early Church” historian. She gave us a talk about the “origins of Christianity”. According to her, the Church consisted of a bunch of little congregations spread throughout the East, and they all studied the Bible in their houses. After Constantine had a “mythical vision” he declared himself the first Pope and called all the congregational bishops together, then forced them to set up the Catholic Church as a political tool for the Roman Empire, by incorporating pagan practices to increase membership and tithing. One congregation didn’t join the Catholic Church, and that congregation is today known as the Baptist “Church”.
I wish I had the zeal and knowledge to correct her at the time, but all I could do is sit back with my head down and hope no one realized I was Catholic.
The history textbook also refers to the Catholic Church as the “early Christian Church” up until 1054, when the “Roman” Catholic Church left the “Christian Church” and the “Christian Church” was renamed the “Eastern Orthodox Church”. You should’ve heard the teacher describe the Great Schism. According to her, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was mad that the Pope was hogging all the power and declared himself the new Pope, then the two excommunicated each other and there was no real pope.
Does anyone else have experiences similar to mine? I think it’s disheartening that for many people, this is probably the first time the history of Catholicism is taught to them, and it’s not even slightly accurate.