A minor flap on the TV show "The View". The new co-host Sherri Shepherd made some ill-informed comments about the origins of Christianity (meaning well I am sure).
The discussion came to, "when did Christianity begin" and Shepherd argued it was around at the time of Epicurius and the Greek philosophers, in fact, "I don't think anything predated Christians," she remarked.
Well, no and yes.
Epicurius lived about 300 years before the birth of Christ. In one sense, the sense that most people will understand, Shepherd is obviously mistaken.
But was she right, in spite of herself?
Maybe if we take the label "Christianity" off of it, and simply call it "Faith in Christ", the questions changes. When did people begin having "Faith in Christ"?
Hebrews 11 (one of my favorite chapters of the Bible) clearly shows the faith of many Old Testament believers. That faith was, ultimately, in Christ. They didn't know his name would be Jesus, and that he would die on a cross for them. But they looked forward in faith and trusted God's promise to send a savior.
In fact, the first Christians were really Adam and Eve. They received the first promise of the Christ, in the midst of God's curse on the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." That seed, the snake-head-crusher, is Christ.
In a sense, Abel was a Christian. Enoch was a Christian. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Rahab were all Christians. As were "Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets", and every other believer who anticiapted the advent of the promised Messiah.
So Christianity really is the oldest religion, from this perspective. But try explaining THAT on "The View".