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Roman Persecution of the Christians, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 299

Essay

According to Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, the reasons for the Roman persecution of the Christians vary considerably, such as viewing them as pagan via the agape or “love feast” and the practice of the Eucharist, and their refusal to sacrifice to the Roman gods which Roman officials and the citizens of Rome saw as an insult to their religious beliefs. Lunn-Rockcliffe also mentions that “general persecutions tended to be sparked by particular events” like the burning of Rome during the reign of Nero, and that overall, Christians were seen as scapegoats (“Christianity and the Roman Empire”).

However, it seems that the main reason for the Roman persecution of the Christians lies in the differences related to their religious beliefs and practices. Historically, the Romans practiced polytheism or the belief in many gods and goddesses which was based on the beliefs of the ancient Greeks with Zeus (or Jupiter) as the main god. But the Christians practiced monotheism or the belief in only one God with Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Thus, for the Romans, this belief in one God went directly against Roman polytheism which as Lunn-Rockcliffe points out was viewed as sacrilegious or as an insult to Rome itself and to the emperors who were seen by Roman citizens as God on Earth.

Perhaps the major fear associated with Roman persecution had everything to do with the idea that if the Christians were correct in their beliefs, then this held the potential to bring down the entire Roman world. In fact, this is exactly what occurred when Constantine converted to Christianity, thus bringing an end to Roman polytheism and ushering in the conversion to Christianity of the entire Roman civilization, especially under the reign of Justinian.

Works Cited

Lunn-Rockliffe, Sophie. “Christianity and the Roman Empire.” 2011. Web. Accessed 28 September, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/christianityromanempire_article_01.shtml

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