Why Did Europe Want To Spread Christianity

Background and Context

The desire to spread Christianity in Europe dates back to the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 CE when the Western Empire fell into decline. During the Middle Ages, the Church became highly influential in the social, political and economic life of Europe. Christianity was the main religion, and missionizing to spread it across the continent was a central goal of the Church. This missionizing was not just practiced in Europe; it also spread to other parts of the world as the Age of Exploration began. By the early 16th century, when the Protestant Reformation began, many European countries had heavily evangelized the continent and were now spreading the faith far beyond its borders.


There were many motivations for the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. One major motivation was political. The Church was a powerful institution that held considerable sway in many European countries, and much of the missionizing in the early days was sponsored by rulers as part of their wider political agenda. It was also seen as a way to strengthen their rule. The Church also provided legitimacy for monarchs and rulers, who used it to strengthen their claims to power and authority.
Christianity was also seen as a means of unifying different regions and peoples. It was believed that by creating a common faith, people would be more likely to accept a common set of beliefs and goals. This was particularly important in the Middle Ages, when many countries were separate entities and there was a great deal of political instability.

Empirical Evidence

At the same time, there is evidence to suggest that a certain degree of missionizing was driven by philosophical, religious and spiritual concerns. Many Christian rulers were guided by a sense of moral and religious obligation to spread the gospel to non-Christians. Theologians and religious scholars argued that the Christian faith was morally superior to other world religions, and that it was their duty to spread it wherever possible. This often took the form of religious debates and other missionary efforts.

Opposition and Criticisms

Despite the motivations for missionizing, there was considerable opposition and criticism from those who did not support the spread of Christianity. One major criticism was that Christian missionaries were too aggressive in their approach, often resorting to violence to impose their faith on non-Christian societies. Moreover, many non-Christian groups argued that the spread of Christianity was an attempt to subjugate them and their cultures. This view was particularly common among indigenous peoples in the Americas and Asia, where Europeans were seen as the major force behind missionizing.

Socioeconomic Impact

The spread of Christianity in Europe had a major socioeconomic impact on the continent. One major way it impacted European societies was that it led to the growth of certain industries and professions that supported the missionary enterprise. For example, missionaries often worked as teachers, healers, interpreters and interpreters, while many other professions arose that were associated with the missionary enterprise, such as bookbinding and printing.
At the same time, missionizing also had the effect of marginalizing those who did not accept the Christian faith. This was particularly evident in countries where the Christian faith ran counter to existing religious and cultural beliefs and practices. In such cases, non-Christians often faced discrimination, with Christians refusing to associate or trade with them. This had a considerable economic impact, as non-Christians often had difficulty finding work or land to cultivate.

Force Against Choice

Finally, it should be noted that much of the missionizing in Europe was done at the point of a sword. Missionizing was often heavily incentivized by rulers, and Christian rulers often coerced non-Christians into accepting their faith. This was particularly common in Eastern Europe, where the threat of political and religious oppression was often used to force people to convert to Christianity.


The legacy of missionizing remains to this day. Many of the countries that were evangelized during the Middle Ages and Renaissance still maintain significant Christian populations, and Christianity continues to be a strong influence on culture and politics. At the same time, missionizing has led to serious repercussions for non-Christian populations, including economic discrimination, social marginalization and political oppression.


In recent decades, technology has played an increasingly important role in missionizing. In the past, missionaries often had to travel vast distances to spread the gospel. In the modern era, however, missionizing has been greatly facilitated by the internet and social media, which has made it easier to reach large and diverse audiences. The ability to reach new audiences has enabled Christian and other faith-based organizations to spread their teachings more widely than ever before.


At the same time, it is important to note that Europe is also becoming increasingly secularized. This is largely due to the fact that more people are becoming more tolerant of various faith systems and beliefs, and as a result, less likely to embrace any one faith. As a result, missionizing has become less common in recent years, and European countries are becoming more diverse in terms of their religious populations.

Comparative Analysis

It is also useful to compare the missionizing efforts of the past to those of the present. While there is still a strong desire to spread Christianity throughout Europe and other parts of the world, the focus today is often more on providing humanitarian aid, educating and promoting tolerance, rather than on aggressively evangelizing. This, coupled with the increasing secularization of Europe, means that while Christianity may still be the dominant faith in many parts of the continent, its influence is much more subtle than in the past.


In conclusion, the desire to spread Christianity in Europe has long been a powerful motivation and has had far-reaching consequences. It has been driven by both political and spiritual concerns, and it has had a major impact on European societies. In recent decades, missionizing has become less common as European countries become more secular, and the focus of many missionizing efforts has shifted from aggressively evangelizing to providing humanitarian aid, education and promoting tolerance.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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