Early Christianity In Rome Through Opposition Of The Majority

2689 words - 11 pages

Christianity today, practiced by over 2 billion followers, is undoubtedly the world's largest religion. But of course, it hasn't always been this way. It began in the city of Rome, around the time of the Emperor Claudius who reigned from 41 to 54 CE. It is believed to have originated in the Roman province of Judea . Geography usually plays a big role in determining the success of developing cultures. According to Michael Gough, who wrote The Early Christians, this was the case for Christianity because the "geography [...] determined the direction and rate of spread of the new religion." However, with a good geography comes great diversity as well. For instance, at the time, the three most influential religions of the orient were the pagan ones known as Cybele, Isis, and Mithraism. L.P. Wilkinson, in his book The Roman Experience, discusses how Mithraism had parallels to Christianity in the sense that they acknowledged an immaculate conception of a savior, took part in baptismal ceremony and a sacramental meal, and they believed they would be resurrected after death . These religions possibly came to Rome through Roman soldiers who fought in the east, or the orient. So, obviously, reports Gough, it is easy to understand why Rome would be the perfect medium through which Christianity would spread through Western Europe . Gough explains how Rome was occupied by many inhabitants who were curious and open to new ideas . As it progressed, Christianity became a religion with scriptures and a devised creed. And, unlike some pagan religions, Christian followers actively participated in a universal plan from their creator. Christians were monotheistic, believing in a God whose love was unconditional. As their scriptures point out, He loved the world He created so much that he sent His only Son, Jesus, to expiate the sins of all mankind so that they would enter heaven and live eternally . As Christians believed, Jesus did such an awesome deed by suffering a criminal's death under the authority of the Romans.

Christians, at this point in history, were a minority in Rome. They were "a minority," as Jerome Carcopino, author of Daily Life in Ancient Rome, reports, "[that was] always exposed to the prejudice of the masses and hostility of the authorities." As stated by Edward Gibbon in his book Christianity and the Decline of Rome, in the case of Jesus Christ, the multitude of pagans in Rome rejected His ideas. They believed He was seeking personal success through His humble behavior to others and also refused to acknowledge the fact of His resurrection. They basically put down everything He represented, including His miraculous birth, influential life, and selfless death for all sins . Gough explains how all Christians were seen as "traitors determined on upsetting the imperial applecart." Romans also resented the fact that Christians spoke of the final doom of the Roman Empire, referred to as Babylon, and the Second Coming of their...

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