What would our world be like if the Catholic Church never existed?


:hmmm: After reading the discussion in the Catholic Living forum regarding Larry King Live’s poll, which indicated that 79% polled had an unfavorable view of the Catholic Church…I began wondering…what would our world be like if the Catholic Church never existed? For you history buffs…how do you think this would have altered the course of world history?


The world would be full of hopelessness and despair.


The gospel would never have been preached. Christianity would have remained a cult offshoot of Judaism and likely expired by the time the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

Nero likely would have blamed Jews rather than Christians for the fire which destroyed Rome. Muslims would have conquered Europe, rather than being turned back at Vienna in 1453.

Europe would have regressed to absolute backwater following the collapse of Rome in the 5th century, with no unifying institution. The Renaissance would never have happened, and the great art produced by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt, inspired as it was by the Catholic Church, would not have existed. Since the Church preserved much of the Greek and Roman treasures, Classical art likely would never have resurged either.

In other words, without the Catholic Church, Western civilization would not exist today.


Why? Was the world full of hopelessness and despair before Pentacost?No…there was much joy, love, hope, etc…God was always there…

What I am asking is, using your imagination and knowledge of Church and world history…what would the world look like now, if the Church didn’t exist yet?


Just to clarify - do you mean if Christ never came? Or that that He never established His Church? Please clarify at which point in history do you wish to turn off? Before Christ’s birth? I think you would have to go back to before He came. Otherwise, once Christ was here and He put into motion His purpose for coming, His resurrection, etc., you can’t just pluck the Church out of that and say that He came to die and didn’t leave us anything to continue His work here on earth.

Just trying to understand the cut off point.



The world is full of many different religions. Christ was born into a Roman world full of idols and jealous gods. If the gospel had not been preached, Rome would still have been sacked by the Huns. Would anybody have preserved the writings of that ancient period?
Buddha with his teachings would still have been born in India and many in that region would have continued to follow Hinduism.
The gospel is about salvation and a God who cares enough about us individually and together to want us to share His life. This is what would have been lost if the Catholic Church had never existed.


Christianity is the only religion that promises eternal life. Before redemption heaven was not open.

I believe that had Jesus not come, there would be no Catholic Church, hopelessness and depair would prevail.


Christ wasn’t born yet…


Most of us would be Jewish and waiting for the Messiah.

I’m serious. God’s chosen people, the Jews, would have continued to grow and to cooperate with God’s plan for salvation.

The only ‘real’ difference between that world and this world is that in our current world, Christ has already come and the battle is won; He has conquered. In the ‘alternate’ world, Christ WILL come to save us. When He would come, we would still have the Catholic Church come into the world. While we might not have certain ‘events’ happen–or they would happen in a different way for different circumstances if the Messiah had come in AD 2007, (I am sure most people are thinking we would NEVER have things like the Crusades and the Inquisition because we are SO much more ‘tolerant’ that those awful Catholics), we would in all likelihood have those Jews who would not accept Christ, certain groups which would either Protest the message or ‘distort’ the message and raise up their own ‘groups’, and milllions who just refused to accept God in ANY form whatsoever.


Actually most of us would probably be Muslims.


I beg to differ. Islam would not have come into being either. Islam derives many of its teachings on the Bible. But if the pieces of the Bible weren’t available to Mohammad to draw from while constructing the Quran, then the religion of Islam wouldn’t have been spread to the nomadic peoples of the Arabian peninsula. I would argue that the peoples in the Middle East would have maintained their polytheistic religions, perhaps Zorastrianism, or Hinduism could be seen spread from India through the region.


If the Catholic Church hadn’t come into existence, we would all still be living in the dark ages. There would never have been the momentus scientific discoveries in all fields of research. I recommend that you read How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. Thomas Woods details all the contributions the Church made over the span of two millenia. Read that and then imagine who would have done all these things that make Western Civilization what it is today if the Catholic Church wasn’t around. I’d argue that not one other group would have contributed as prolifically as the Church.


Some variant of the world as it was under Rome. Many of us would be barbarians or slaves. The rich and the powerful would rule even more unjustly than they do now. Science, medicine, and advanced learning would not have grown to the extent we have them today. As someone pointed out Islam and Christianity would not be as even the OT would have remained a Book of the Jews, a group who would not have grown much because Judaism is not and never was a proselytizing religion. All this assumes of course that God had not intervened to the extent that he did when he became incarnate.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.