why were Early Christians persecuted by Rome?

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dio9
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why were Early Christians persecuted by Rome?

Post #1

Post by dio9 »

I have been thinking it was for fear of sedition, the Roman rulers were very sensitive about this.
Do you think early Christianity threatened the philosophical and theological foundations of Rome?
I do.

Pushing civilization from a warrior hero God cult toward a merciful compassionate self sacrificing God cult?

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bluethread
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Post by bluethread »

I think so. It is my view that they pretty much followed the example of Judaism, with exceptions that probably would not make much difference to the Roman government. The Romans primarily required just two things, pay your taxes and don't cause trouble. I don't think the first was a problem, given the whole "render unto Caesar" thing. However, the Judeo-Christian tradition was rather communal and not really amenable to other cultures. Therefore, when Christians encouraged others to change their culture, while being firm in their own traditions, it probably challenged the whole social stability thing.

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Post #3

Post by dio9 »

Augustine wrote in his book THE CITY OF GOD , pagans of his day blamed the fall of Rome on Christianity. (Yes there were still pagans in the 5th century. ) So there was that feeling among the pagans . In the Decian persecution 250 AD his order to offer sacrifice to the gods of Rome and him was considered to be something of a loyalty oath. Christians were forbidden by their religion to offer such sacrifices . The Emperor took it to mean they were disloyal and made them pay the consequence. Maybe he mistakenly took it to mean a protest against him ?

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Post #4

Post by ttruscott »

If Christianity is just an expression of the old Roman and Greek religions, why were they prosecuted is very meaningful. Perhaps the ancients saw differences moderns do not want to see?
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Post #5

Post by dio9 »

I'm sure they thought differently than we do. I for one would make an incense offering. But I have to give them credit , for being so obedient to religious rules.

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Re: why were Early Christians persecuted by Rome?

Post #6

Post by Robert H »

dio9 wrote: I have been thinking it was for fear of sedition, the Roman rulers were very sensitive about this.
Do you think early Christianity threatened the philosophical and theological foundations of Rome?
I do.

Pushing civilization from a warrior hero God cult toward a merciful compassionate self sacrificing God cult?
Yes, of course they were persecuted by Rome. They were put on stakes and light up as candles. Rome did horrendous things to Christians. Not until the 4th century did Rome decide it needed to change its state religion - where it then hijacked Christianity and turned it into what was best of the empire. The Christianity that was changed by Rome is not the Christianity that Jesus taught. One case in point, did Jesus ever teach or use the word trinity? Nope. Made up by Rome. Did he ever teach infant baptism. Nope, made up. Original sin, nope. Money for repentance of sin, nope.

Rome absolutely destroyed true Christianity.

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Post #7

Post by dio9 »

Yes the message of Jesus was about how to live in the kingdom of God. The political economic spiritual and temporal (for want of a better word) government rule "Kingdom" ruled, bottom line , by wisdom justice compassion mercy forgiveness and all the virtues we hold dear. Very simple to understand and even agree with. Wouldn't it be nice? However hard to do realize live in. So More than a belief system Jesus' Christianity was a practice.
This was not the Roman way. The Roman way was power rules. To the victor goes the spoils. And there were plenty of spoils. Rome was quite a grand place at the expense on the conquered provinces. Unfortunately the Roman powers co opted Christianity and use it for Romes purposes. Which were selfishness greed lust for power and licentiousness. What the Romans made of Christianity was a belief system where Jesus intended a change in behavior.
Clearly we can see the difference between the two. Rome didn't change , Christianity did. Christianity was modified , its purpose was redirected by Rome to support rather than change the status quo. Christianity lost its original founding principle of real social economic political change freedom from Rome . In the end it bowed to the Emperor. Rome didn't change. The old soldier just faded away.

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Post by JehovahsWitness »

Early Christians were viewed by Rome as strange anti-conformists and a threat, not in any sense that they would overthrow the State, but that their ideas proposed that the State (as represented by the Emperor) was not their god.
WHY WERE EARLY CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED BY THE ROMANS?

“There were many reasons which led the populace to hate Christians, whom, first of all, they regarded as being unpatriotic. While among Romans it was considered the highest honor to possess the privileges of Roman citizenship, the Christians announced that they were citizens of heaven. They shrank from public office and military service,� - The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. III, F. P. G. Guizot, page 246; F. W. Farrar, page 142

"Christians were liable to the penalties of sacrilege and high treason, of sacrilege for refusing to worship the gods of the state, of high treason for refusing to worship the genius of the Emperor in whom the majesty of the state was embodied, with the customary offerings of wine and incense.� - Christianity and the Roman Empire, by W. E. Addis, pages 54, 55, 59, 69.


HISTORICAL TESTIMONIES

“I asked them whether they were Christians, and if they confessed, I asked them a second and third time with threats of punishment. If they kept to it, I ordered them for execution. [...] “However where the party denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, by invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former suspicion) be pardoned upon his repentance.� - Pliny the Younger (61 – c. 113), [Library of Biblical and Theological Literature, History of the Christian Church, by G. Crooks and J. Hurst, pages 165-168]

“punishments were . . . inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.� - Roman biographer Suetonius (c. 69-140 C.E.)

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Post #9

Post by Ancient of Years »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Early Christians were viewed by Rome as strange anti-conformists and a threat, not in any sense that they would overthrow the State, but that their ideas proposed that the State (as represented by the Emperor) was not their god.
WHY WERE EARLY CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED BY THE ROMANS?

“There were many reasons which led the populace to hate Christians, whom, first of all, they regarded as being unpatriotic. While among Romans it was considered the highest honor to possess the privileges of Roman citizenship, the Christians announced that they were citizens of heaven. They shrank from public office and military service,� - The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. III, F. P. G. Guizot, page 246; F. W. Farrar, page 142

"Christians were liable to the penalties of sacrilege and high treason, of sacrilege for refusing to worship the gods of the state, of high treason for refusing to worship the genius of the Emperor in whom the majesty of the state was embodied, with the customary offerings of wine and incense.� - Christianity and the Roman Empire, by W. E. Addis, pages 54, 55, 59, 69.


HISTORICAL TESTIMONIES

“I asked them whether they were Christians, and if they confessed, I asked them a second and third time with threats of punishment. If they kept to it, I ordered them for execution. [...] “However where the party denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, by invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former suspicion) be pardoned upon his repentance.� - Pliny the Younger (61 – c. 113), [Library of Biblical and Theological Literature, History of the Christian Church, by G. Crooks and J. Hurst, pages 165-168]

“punishments were . . . inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.� - Roman biographer Suetonius (c. 69-140 C.E.)
As you noted it was not out of fear that Christians would overthrow the state itself. However they were perceived as undermining the Roman way of life, which revolved around pagan religion. In the same letter from Pliny that you quoted above, Pliny comments on the success of his campaign against Christianity.
It is certainly quite clear that the temples, which had been almost deserted, have begun to be frequented, that the established religious rites, long neglected, are being resumed, and that from everywhere sacrificial animals are coming, for which until now very few purchasers could be found.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

dio9
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Post #10

Post by dio9 »

Jesus' way is loving kindness , compassion , Joyfulness , and equanimity rules.

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