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Old 01 March 2013, 05:22 PM
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Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,267

Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
IOW, Romans didn't persecute Christians because G*d loved Christians and the Romans hated G*d. Romans persecuted Christians because Christians didn't toe the Roman line, and Romans persecuted everyone who didn't toe their line.
Precisely. The Romans had a long history of conquering other lands, and the continuing practice of "native" religions in those lands was frequently associated with political dissent and armed revolt. The zealots in Israel - their religion manifested itself as armed revolt - guerrilla style - against the occupying Romans.

Even though some - but not all - Christians of that time were fully committed to the "Christian" principles of non-violence, forgiveness, "turning the other cheek", and so on - the Roman government did not want such a grass-roots movement to grow to the point where it could be dangerous. What's to say that the Romans didn't suspect early Christians from preaching one thing, yet doing another? It's not like things like that didn't happen before.

One of those aspects of history is that the winners get to write it - so because of the "fact" that Christianity "won" this struggle, it gets portrayed in a positive light. If every Christian martyr was, in fact, a giving and pious person who was non-violent even when facing death - then it would also, perhaps, justify our sympathies, because even today we value people who try to make change by peaceful example. But we know that not all Christians - or even all people - are so saintly.

Having watched a documentary about early Christians and their mixture of pagan rites with the new religion - including sexual liberation and orgies - I mentioned this to one very Catholic friend who dismissed it as lies and liberal propaganda, being unable to resolve within himself that anyone who called themselves Christian could be anything but following what is "proper" within the faith. Never mind that the rules he was expecting them to follow, hadn't been codified yet. Rather short-sighted to think this way, but the thing is that admitting that this happened, just like admitting that once upon a time the priesthood was not celibate, is merely accepting the truth of history.
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