Tiffany Okinawa Christianity first started as a religious cult evolving from Judaism. Despite Its Jewish origins, It was not long before Christianity regarded Itself as something other than a new Jewish sect. The first Christian council concluded that pagan converts to Christianity did not have to follow Jewish ritual laws. Soon, converts to Charlatanry were almost exclusively pagans and Christianity moved further away from Judaism. Christians believed in one God who worked the world (monotheism).
But before Christianity was introduced, the main religion of Ancient Rome was polytheism meaning Romans believed that more than one god and goddesses worked in the world. Polytheism was popular because the Roman Empire had used the various practices of the religion as a mean to control Rome. The Romans thought of themselves as highly religious, and attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety in maintaining good relations with the gods. However in doing this they were more concerned with success not sin.
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Roman Investigations Into early Christianity found It an Irreligious, novel and disobedient religion. It appeared to deny all forms of religion and was therefore superstitious. Christians were to see the Roman Religion as an ungodly practice and a primary cause of political and economic crisis. When Christianity started merging into the Roman Empire, the state attempted to control the infiltration and adoption of foreign cults. By the end of The Imperial Era, Christianity was the one permitted Roman Religion; all other cults were banned.
Early in Roman society, Christians were seen as a threat to the Roman Empire’s control of the state. First self-acknowledged Christians were biblically tortured and made a mockery of. Since they were despised, they had to meet in secret, usually meaning during midnight in underground caves. “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. ” (Tactics, Annals 15. 4) Rome had a large number of poor people within Its population, for slaves and women Charlatanry was a desirable religion to choose because Christianity offered more than the polytheistic religion. The Spread of Christianity The Roman Empire allowed other religions as long as the people accepted the authority of the government. But Christians did not accept the law on emperor airship; enemy of state meaning somebody that has a goal to bring down or destroy the government. Christianity drew its traditional base of support from the powerless, therefore threatened its existence.
This made Christianity to be considered as an illegal religion and Christians were even alleged to practice black magic and even cannibalism. Though punishable deaths were pardoned if they made a sacrifice to Roman Gods. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. (Tactics, Annals 15. 4) The dangers that Christians in Rome meant that they had to meet in secret. They usually used underground tombs called Catacombs as these were out of sight.
Since Christians did not have their own cemeteries, in the first half of the second century, as a result of various grants and donations, the Christians started burying their dead underground. With the Edict of Milan, declared by the emperors Constantine and License in 313, the Christians were no longer persecuted. They were free to proclaim their faith, to have places of worship and to build churches both inside and outside the city, and to buy plots of Christians. In 64 AD The Great Fire of Rome swept through burning 70% of Rome over a period of a week.
Citizens blamed The Empire Nero so Emperor Nero blamed a group of Christians as culprits (they were innocent). Nero had many Christians horribly and biblically tortured, some Romans felt sorry for them. After The Great Fire of Rome, Roman official policy towards Christians tended towards persecution. “Nero punished a race of men who were hated for their evil practices. These men were called Christians. He got a number of people to confess. On their evidence a number of Christians were convicted and put to death with dreadful cruelty. (Tactics, Annals 15. 4) Emperor Constantine and Christianity Emperor Constantine I is credited with converting the Roman Empire to Christianity. Constantine reined 306-337 in Rome, during that period Christianity became the dominant religion of The Roman Empire. Before Constantine, Christians suffered from persecutions over a period of two and a half centuries. Emperor Constantine was exposed to Christianity by his mother, Helena, but he was over the age of 42 when he finally declared himself Christian. The Edict of Milan was a proclamation that permanently established religious toleration for Christianity with Roman Empire.