Christianity. A History - 6/8 Dark Continents

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This programme reveals how Christianity became the world's largest religion despite, rather than because of, Western missionary zeal.

Writer and playwright - and Christian - Kwame Kwei Armah begins his journey in Latin America to reveal why Christianity is hugely successful in Mexico today when in the fifteenth century indigenous beliefs were resistant despite the missionaries' resort to violence and coercion.

He discovers that Christianity in Mexico today is not a European religion transplanted: ancient indigenous concepts have been adapted and included in what is now a genuinely Mexican faith.

In Africa, missionary efforts also came to little, wrecked by European social and cultural arrogance and the brutality of slavery. In fact, African Christianity is older than the missionary movement: in Ethiopia Christian traditions go back to the century of Christ.

Today, Europe no longer has a stranglehold on the faith of Christianity. A new indigenous Christendom has emerged in the developing world and these new Christians believe it is Europe that now needs converting to the true faith.