Christianity's Threat to the Classical World

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages Pages: 2 (525 words) Published: April 17, 2008
Christianity: A Threat to the Classical World
The many transformations that the Classical world experienced during its transition into the early medieval period were due to a combination of many significant factors. The many problems that had been building over the course of time contributed to the demise of the Roman Empire and the Classical world. However, one important factor was a clear contributor to this transformation. Christianity’s new view of the Emperor, the pagan gods, and the world itself transformed the behavior, the traditions, and even the psyche of its followers. Thus, as the religion spread throughout the Roman Empire, the masses were profoundly transformed threatening the foundations of the Classical world.

Prior to Christianity, the Roman Empire was characterized by its principle of religious tolerance. Yet, Polytheism was predominant; and its traditions dominated the lives of the people of the Classical world. One important characteristic of the period was that the Roman Emperor was considered a god. The Caesar had to be worshiped along with the many gods connected to the everyday life. However, throughout the years, the new religion of Christianity began to be welcomed by the people of the Empire and proliferated rather rapidly. Christianity started as a clandestine movement, but it quickly transformed into a successful religion; arguably, due to the weaknesses of Polytheism, the noble ideals of Christianity, the answers that the new religion provided to the many mysteries of life, and the fact that it gave a new meaning to the people’s existence.

As the religion proliferated throughout the Empire, it transformed the behavior of its followers. Christianity embraced the idea that there was only one true God. This not only threatened the principle of religious toleration; but most importantly, it clashed with the Empire’s demand to worship the Emperor as their god. Christian’s hesitance to obey the rules regarding Caesar’s worship...
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