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Decoding Christianity · Episode Guide

Episode 1 · Flesh And Blood

Airing on Saturday 8th Mar 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

“Christianity,” says Decoding Christianity host Christy Kenneally, “is not for the faint-hearted.” Why do vivid images depicting the torment of Jesus Christ and the Christian martyrs play such an important role in Christian art? In this episode, Kenneally attempts to decode the powerful symbolism of the crucifixion and the Christian fascination with physical suffering. His journey takes him from a church in Dublin, Ireland that claims to hold the remains of the martyred St. Valentine, to Pampagna in the Philippines, where devout believers seek salvation by enduring crucifixion.

Episode 2 · Damned And Saved

Airing on Wednesday 26th Mar 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Where do we go when we die? What happens to the soul on its final journey? Because the Bible offers little detail about either Heaven or Hell, Christian artists and writers have filled in the gaps. In this episode of Decoding Christianity, host Christy Kenneally reveals how the idea of the afterlife has evolved through the centuries. He investigates the Christian concept of Original Sin, explains where the notions of Limbo and Purgatory – neither of which appears in the Bible – came from, and contemplates the powerful hold that visions of Hell and the Last Judgment have had upon the artistic imagination.

Episode 3 · Angles

Airing on Wednesday 2nd Apr 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

More than three-quarters of North Americans believe in angels. But what are angels, and where do they come from? In this episode of Decoding Christianity, host Christy Kenneally considers the many ways in which artists have portrayed angels over the centuries. He ventures into the catacombs of Rome to find one of the earliest depictions of a Christian angel, learns how angels got their wings, and ponders the dark side of angels. Finally, he takes a look at the present-day “angel industry,” traveling to Reno, Nevada to meet a woman who claims to be a channel for the Archangel Michael.

Episode 4 · Secrecy, Symbols And Myster

Airing on Wednesday 9th Apr 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Why is Christianity so steeped in symbols? In this episode of Decoding Christianity, host Christy Kenneally asks how the faith developed such a rich symbolic language. He revisits Christianity’s origins as a persecuted underground movement, and explains how early followers used secret signs to identify themselves to one another. He also discovers how the cross went from a symbol of shame to a powerful and glorious image, and reveals the importance of mystery to Christian practice.

Episode 5 · Miracles

Airing on Wednesday 16th Apr 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

What is a miracle? In this episode of Decoding Christianity, host Christy Kenneally asks why, even today, people all over the world quest after miracles. He considers one of the earliest and most significant of miracles – Constantine’s vision on the Milvian Bridge in the 4th century – and investigates the connection between saints and miracles, joining pilgrims on their journeys to the sites of miraculous happenings from Ethiopia to Wales.

Episode 6 · A Faith Divided

Airing on Friday 18th Apr 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

In the 11th century, Christianity split into the Eastern Orthodox and Western Churches. In the 16th century, Western Christianity divided into Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Why did these great divisions take place? In this final episode of Decoding Christianity, host Christy Kenneally examines the causes and impact of the Great Schism and the Reformation, and ponders the possibility of reconciliation between Christianity’s Western and Eastern traditions.