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Good points. As the quote from Mosheim (1694-1755, he was a doctor of divinity, Chancellor of Gottingen Univ, Germany) notes, Romans were obliged to be tolerant of religions, because the empire embraced many. The same principle applies today to multi-faith countries. I guess the Romans of the period viewed the early Christians rather like China views the Falun Gong (since 1992) - a threat to social harmony, so suppression resulted. Politics and religion never mix well when challenged outright. If you come on to look at the history of Ireland, it's fascinating to see how social history has been 'massaged' to fit the leadership messages during times of change and uncertainty. Most people find uncertainty the hardest thing they ever have to deal with, especially when it threatens their sense of self-identity. If you look around the world today, you'll see a lot of underground groups use icons and 'secret' marks - ironically, paganism looks to be a secret network in Israel, the last place you'd expect it to re-appear. But although it's convenient to teach that one thing changes to another at a certain point in time, it generally just goes into hiding - as Christianity did during Russia's soviet period. Even after 1000y of active conversion in England, pagan traditions continued - and are surprisingly active today even tho they don't proselytise. The bottom line in human nature is that some folk like to be directed, and others like to choose for themselves. Conflicts start when the ones being directed start to get too pushy, it seems. Studying people is just the most fascinating thing! Good luck in your studies; learning is just the most fun thing once you get the hang of it. :)
First of all, it's worth pointing out that Roman persecution of early Christians was greatly exaggerated, not surprisingly, by early Christian sources. We have examples of Roman government exercising restraint in dealing with Christians, and some historians (like Edward Gibbons in "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) have offered good methods to estimate the real numbers of Christians persecuted. Most Christians lived perfectly normal lives unaffected by Roman policy, and Roman persecution of Christians was sporadic. Typically, Christians were not persecuted unless they were seen as being guilty for other crimes, such as inciting public unrest.
Anyway, off the tangent. I think the Book of Revelations pretty much sums up the reason why Rome distrusted, and eventually persecuted, some Christians. Christianity was the Scientology or Freemasons of the time. In other words, many people saw it as being simply too weird, superstitious, and steeped in absurd and bizarre rituals. Christians made use of symbols, had their own strange vocabulary, met in secret, and generally were not trusted by many. Most Roman religions and cults of the day were civic in nature, emphasizing loyalty to the state, the Emperor, and the law. Christianity ran against the grain of this.
Interesting isn't it, we must always be wary of the ways in which people re-label or re-spin history. I came across a ref to Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History by chance, full text online (no fee): 'The Christians, however, experienced from the Gentiles the greatest persecutions. In the first place, from the Emperor Nero, who enacted laws against them ; then by Domitian, Marcus Antoninus, Severus, and other emperors ; and one of the principal reasons for this severity, on the part of the Romans, who tolerated all religions, must have been the contempt the Jews shewed towards the religion of the empire, which was so closely connected with its political constitution. Another reason was, the simplicity of their worship, having neither sacrifices, nor temples, nor images, nor oracles, like other nations; so that the Romans considered them to be no better than atheists.' During his UK visit, the Pope has attacked atheists as though they were some sort of organised force (a taxpaying force that helped fund his visit actually - so he's upset a few people!), but I wondered how widely it was known that the Romans regarded the early Christians as atheists. How quickly people forget.... :)
I don't hate Christians or Christianity, and there is nothing in my posts that would give reason for thinking that. In this case, I'm describing how Christianity was perceived in ancient Rome, not how I personally perceive it. And the fact is, persecution was greatly exaggerated.
As for "standing up" for other religions, I don't see it. I've been critical of radical Islam, trendy New Age pseudoscience, etc. But since Christianity is discussed far more here than any other religion, I think it just seems like I'm more against it when the reality is very different.
1) Because they had a new religion. In ancient Rome, people believed that there are many gods. The Christian religion - just like the Jewish - said that there is only one true god and all else is superstition. So to the Romans this was blasphemy. 2) Unlike the Jews, the Christians were proselytizing people, so they were expanding. 3) Unlike all other folks, they didn't adapt to the common Roman public moral. They had their own. So they were messing up society and effectively posing a threat to the established potentate.
In Time....The Romans Gave its power to the Catholic church and they made the mistake of merging State and church. The Catholics in turn wanted to become more popular with the Roman nation and adapted a lot of its pagan practices like idol worship and changing the sabbath to sunday... Many christians were against this because it broke the commandments. The catholics started persecuting the christians who decided that they would rather obey God(his commandments) than man(the catholic church).
Ha, just learned this is Social Studies, but it was because in the Roman days, everyone had to worship the Ceasar, but the Christans didn't. When they were talking to someone, they would scratch a fish in the ground, and if the other person acknoledged it, they were safe to talk about Christianity. If you want anymore info, just FunMail me ;) Hope I could help.
Ya, I apologize for that , I just see alot of Christian Bashing on this site. Very unfounded and uneducated remarks regarding Christianity and the teachings of Jesus. Very hateful attitude towards Christianity from some people on this site. Some of it is merited granted, for the mess Humans have made of His teachings, but some are just spiteful.
Why are you such a Christian Hater Religionisgood? I dont care for organized religion, but you seem to go out of your way to attack Christianity ans pretty much stand up for all other religions. What is going on here?
Thanks for this, now I'll have to go and find my Gibbons in the attic! I do find textbooks so tedious when you can't search a file or pdf!
Christianity ran against Roman politics,Christians were anti war and wanted peace,Romans loved war and invading.
because the emperor would get jealous lol