1. Its general knowledge that Christianity, a semitic religion was adopted by the ancient Romans. However, the Romans did not just simply adopt
Christianity. They had quite a bit to do with Christianity, before they adopted it. They had, at one point occupied the holy land, executed Jesus for
the Jews and later brutally persecuted the Christians. Then a funny thing happened, they not only only adopted Christianity as a state religion, but
also established the biggest church... the Roman Catholic church.
2. Now lets have a look at the ancient Romans religious culture.
The ancient Romans, in general were a people who had a history of adopting the religious beliefs of others around them, such as the Greeks. The Romans
preferred to absorb the religions of people they had subjugated, instead of imposing Roman religious beliefs on them. This is a very important
thing to bear in mind, as you continue reading.
The Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists. The
presence of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman culture, introducing some religious practices
that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo. The Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks, adapting
Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art.
Christianity was just another of the many religious cultures that the ancient Romans had absorbed into their way of life.
As the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in general was to absorb the deities and cults of other
peoples rather than try to eradicate them, since they believed that preserving tradition promoted social stability.
I highly doubt that
the ancient Romans converted because they were genuinely moved by the teachings of Jesus (or even Paul).
3a) The politics behind the Christianizing of the Roman empire is also a key factor to consider.
Constantine the great, the so called first "Christian" emperor of Rome claimed to have had a dream of a flaming cross in the sky with the message
"with this sign, you will conquer"
. Really now? The symbol of Jesus' sacrifice to take away the sins of the world (as Christians believe)
was a sign for some pagan emperor to "conquer"?
Don't Christians see something wrong with this picture?
3b) Constantine was a friend to Christianity, (funding churches and stopping their persecution).... while at the same time, worshipped the "Sol
, the sun god of the Roman empire.
3c) Constantine later became more and more Christian and turned against paganism and tore down pagan temples towards the end of his reign. Though he
played a great role in Christianizing the Roman empire, his own "Christianness" was questionable. For starters, this guy killed his own wife and
. You decide.
3d) Constantine also led the council of Nicea, with the intent to define and canonize important doctrines (such as the trinity, deity of Jesus etc.)
that religious leaders were quarelling over... BY VOTE! Constantine himself did not vote...as he lacked understanding of the very theological issues
the council intended to resolve.
Constantine had little theological understanding of the issues at stake, and did not particularly care which view of Christ's nature prevailed so
long as it resulted in a unified church. This can be seen in his initial acceptance of the Homoousian view of Christ's nature, only to abandon the
belief several years later for political reasons; under the influence of Eusebius of Nicomedia and others.
He did not care about the nature of Christ, but just wanted a unified church. How many things went wrong there?
4. Then we all know of the horrors of the inquisition perpetrated by the Roman Catholic church... which was essentially a product of the ancient
5a) Do Christians honestly believe the original Christianity that the Romans started to adopt survived corruption in their hands?
Do Christians believe that the ancient Romans simply decided to do away with their religious practices and adopted a SEMITIC religion from a
different part of the world?
Remember the Romans were a people who used to absorb and integrate foreign deities and religions into their own. There
is zero guarantee that Christianity survived corruption at the hands of the Romans.
5b)I'm not just talking about pagan influences like Christmas and Easter, but far more important theological issues..... which were wrongly canonized
as "Christianity" under the watch of an leader who was not exactly a shining example of a good Christian. The thing is, the Romans didn't just adopt
christianity the way people in Asia adopted Islam or Buddhism. What the Romans did was establish an organization that became THE authority on a
semitic religion, which decided whats truth and whats not.... punishing severely those who questioned their version of the "truth".
6) To those who might say that the doctrines of the trinity and the deity of Jesus was already established in the bible.... think again. The reason
why Constantine held the council of Nicea was because Christians (even back then) were quarreling over theology... despite reading from the same
bibles in their hands. So evidently, there was already a division among Christians. Which is why Constantine, for the sake of achieving unity,
commanded religious leaders to decide and frame the doctrines that all of Christianity would follow. This doctrine was upheld by the Church and
enforced by the Constantine. They had the absolute power to tweak the scriptures to fit their view, which they forced upon everybody else.
The "Christianity" established under Constantine pretty much laid the groundwork for modern Christianity.
edit on 7-10-2012 by sk0rpi0n because: (no reason given)