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Persecution in the Early Church - Research Paper Example

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The purpose of this paper is to present the reasons why the persecution occurred and continued for the long period that it did. Rome had embraced paganism and thus all citizens were expected to adhere to it as the state religion. Failure to do so was considered to be rebellious and was punishable by death. …
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Persecution in the Early Church
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Download file to see previous pages The essay discusses that religion today is a matter of personal choice in many parts of the world, and this is in sharp contrast to the difficult times of persecution Christianity as one of the world’s religions underwent in its initial stages to become one of the greatest as documented in history. Persecution began in the period after Christ and continued for a period of about 300 years. It was witnessed at the time of the Roman rule during the period 64 A.D to 311 A.D and was facilitated by different Emperors and Jewish religious leaders. Professing to be a Christian during that period was like declaring the death sentence upon oneself because people were martyred in some of the cruelest ways witnessed which included beheading and being thrown alive to man eating beasts, being boiled in oil and crucifixion among others. Emperors like Nero are documented in history to have cruelly ordered that Christians be thrown to hungry lions in amphitheaters as spectators enjoyed. The meaning of the word martyr to the followers of the Christian religion meant just a witness, but it acquired a deeper meaning and implication when the followers were ready to die for what they believed and through this many people were converted probably due to the deep conviction shown by the martyrs. Christians endured persecutions in the early church, not only from Jews, but from Romans as well and they all advocated for removing Christianity in their systems. There were many reasons why the persecution occurred and continued for the long period that it did. Rome had embraced paganism and thus all citizens were expected to adhere to it as the state religion. Failure to do so was considered to be rebellious and was punishable by death. The followers of Christianity were also influenced by ancient Jewish stories as narrated in Christian literature, for example, the story of Daniel who was thrown into a lions den when he refused to stop praying.  Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego were also thrown into a furnace when they refused to bow to an idol. The revolt of the Maccabees who believed that it was better to die than deny the nation of Israel was also one of the sources of inspiration for Christians.2 Persecution was not only caused and done by Roman authorities. The Jews who were followers of Judaism, one of the oldest religions in the world and which is based on Abrahamic beliefs strove against the immerging group of Christianity whose beliefs were based on Jesus Christ. Christians believed they were the new dispensation. One of the first Christian martyrs, Stephen as narrated in the book of Acts 7 was not killed by the Romans, but by the Jews when he tried to explain to them about the new faith based on Jesus Christ while they believed in Judaism.3 The Jews in protecting what they believed was the truth teamed up many times with the Roman authorities to persecution. The fire of Rome in which a very great part of the city was burnt was also used as an excuse to further persecute the Christians in the year A.D 64. Emperor Nero, the reigning monarch was thought to have been responsible, probably in his quest to destroy old buildings to give way for new ones, but he was able to lay blame elsewhere. The Jews were accused, but lastly it was the Christians who suffered the consequences.4 Many of them were arrested, tortured and martyred for the Arson. This act made them become classified as trouble makers instead of an accepted religion. This was a reason enough to do all things possible to prevent their rise to become a recognized religion. Roman emperors did not entertain anything that appeared to be superstitious and to them, failure to pray to Roman gods was against state policy. Atheism was construed to mean the worship of other gods other than those accepted by the Roman authorities. The Christians were supposed to deny their faith and accept to adhere to the faith of the Roman gods.5 Many publicly disagreed and were ready to die for Christianity and thus were martyred because they were considered ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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This research paper was always my weak point. I could never finish it successfully. Still, after I found this particular essay, I understood how it should be completed. So, I performed my research afterward and completed the research paper in several hours, instead of months as it was previously.
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