In this recording from the 2011 Rochester NY Chesterton Conference, Hilaire Belloc (played by Kevin O’Brien) takes a sweeping overview of Christian history with a look at what he conceptualized as the five major heresies.
Arianism, one of the earliest great heresies, claims that Jesus was not God but a creature. St. Athanasius and some military victories dealt a blow to the heresy, but so did the rise of Islam.
Mohammedanism began as a heresy, as an oversimplified version of Catholicism, which denied the incarnation. It grew because of its promise of freedom from slavery and usury, and as recently as the 17th century, the Ottoman empire was trying to overrun Vienna.
Albigensianism is a heresy that claims that evil is as much a force as good, that all matter is of evil, and therefore that all matter and anything pleasurable must be eschewed.
Protestantism began as a reaction to correct abuses of the Church, but quickly added in ideas of John Calvin, who claimed that there was evil as part of the divine nature. This allowed people to accept evil in the world as part of divine will.
Modernism is a heresy that denies the supernatural and attacks truth, beauty and goodness. The result of this is the rise of slavery in other forms, as well as cruelty.
While the way in which these ideas are presented may at points seem dated (Belloc died in 1953), they remain thought-provoking. And more importantly, Kevin O’Brien’s masterful performance of Belloc and his comments that follow illustrate the great potential of ”evangelization through drama,” the mission of O’Brien’s Theater of the Word.