Term Paper: Rise of Christianity

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[. . .] However, to assume that it was only the poor, that made the religion a powerful force, would be somewhat an understatement. As the educated middle and upper class of the Roman, society embraced the religion with equal and a stronger fervor. Author Rodney Stark quoting Edward Gibbon notes that, 'it was the educated as compared to the uneducated amongst who the religion first spread, and furthermore noted that nowhere had it a stronger hold... than in the house-hold and at the court of the emperors. (Ibid 32). All of which proves the common ground for the rapid rise of Christianity, the poor, the educated and even the Roman leadership.

My dear Emperor, there are two very strong factors, which in my humble opinion stand out and give these people reasons to acknowledge Christianity as their religion. One was the concept of martyrdom, and second that of caring for the sick and poor, also partly explained in the preceding paragraphs. As for martyrdom, it is observed that to counter the monotheist beliefs of the Christians, our Roman leadership followed a policy of applying 'universal compulsory sacrifice on pain of death'. The order was primarily passed to restrict Christians from practicing their religion, which on the contrary proved to be a stronger stand off for the Christian believers, as well as for those Romans administering the order. Though some Christians gave in to the orders from fear of execution, there were many who chose martyrdom instead and in essence strengthened the foundations of the religion. Second factor, which proved to be a great benefactor for the rise of Christianity, was the attitude towards the sick. As evident from our history, a major part of our Roman Empire was annihilated by an epidemic, coinciding with the great war with Armenia. This epidemic disease was the cause of making thousands of Romans severely sick, yet the very pagan population refrained from helping, and caring for their own Roman brothers. The pagans even went to the extent of throwing their own loved ones on the streets to die, and it is here that the believers of the Christian religion following the teachings of the Jesus of Nazareth, chose to come forward and take care of these thousands of sick and dying people. The sympathetic attitude of the Christians towards the sick had a multi-fold effect, one it created a soft corner in the eyes of the general population as a people loving religion, and secondly strengthened the religion by proving that life and death lay in the hands of their One God, and not in the hands of a few Romans.

Furthermore, the action of helping the dying and the sick has had a profound impact across cities, the result of which could be noticed in the swarming number of people, often in large congregations in search of the true followers who were spreading the teachings of Christianity to every corner of Rome.

My dear Emperor, this last point which should have replaced the first paragraph of this letter, had it not been for the course of events which led the Christian religion to flourish so rapidly, is the common and contradicting elements of the religions of Judaism and Christianity. From the study of both the religions, it is observed that both follow the monotheist belief, the existence of One God, yet strongly differ on the being of Jesus of Nazareth. The believers of Judaism call themselves Jews, while those of Christianity, the Christians. The crucifixion of Jesus was in essence the strengthening of the Judaist beliefs and which became to be called the Catholic religion. This was also the stepping-stone for the religion of Christianity to flourish side by side with that of Judaism. Thus, it is observed that both the religions, though carrying both strong similarities as well as nurturing differences, yet each could be held equally responsible for the spread, rise and growth of the Christian religion.

A humble servant of your Excellency,

Roman

References

Stark, R. 1996. The rise of Christianity. Princeton, NJ: The Princeton University Press.

Brown, Charles M., Bible Verse Women Cannot Go to Heaven, 1997 at http://csf.colorado.edu/mail/socgrad/sep97/0141.html

Author not available, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, accessed on 10.16.02

http://www.geocities.com/shaunphilly/christiandevelopment.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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