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THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIANITY - Essay Example

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Christianity was largely successful in the Roman Empire due to the fact that there was long and arduous struggle for Christian converts that eventually resulted in victory over the Roman Empire. Christian teachings and the power of Christian church made the church institution…
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THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIANITY
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The Origin and Development of Christianity College: What factors contributed to the triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire?
Christianity was largely successful in the Roman Empire due to the fact that there was long and arduous struggle for Christian converts that eventually resulted in victory over the Roman Empire. Christian teachings and the power of Christian church made the church institution very strong and united all faithful. The strong devotion in Christianity by believers led to persecution and martyrdom that consequently resulted in triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire.
People no longer wanted to be obliged to the status quo, which at that time, was centered on the temple cult and the Roman deities. According to Hauer and Young (1998), “On one point, devout Christians were obdurate in their resistance to Roman policy which encouraged the cult of the divine emperor. The cult of the emperor was more popular in the Roman provinces than in the Rome itself. It was also highly admired in the provinces than it was in the divine kingship of the eastern Mediterranean” (pp. 338).
2. Why were the Romans initially threatened by Christianity?
The Romans were initially threatened by Christianity because leaders who stood and believed in the status quo did not encourage any shift of power from one social group to another. In fact, a shift in power would amount to quite big problems. It all boiled down to money. Without enough people to make sacrifices at the temple cultus, people who worked in the temples and made money as moneychangers in the temples did not make money off to Christians, who refused to participate due to the new wave of thinking brought in by Christianity; Christians were viewed as overly exclusive and hence dangerous to the society in general and public order.
Christians had no respect for other gods and they therefore refrained from public festivals that were meant to honor public deities. In fact, they never worshiped state gods and the imperial cult. They neither worshiped nor recognized the emperor as the leader of religion. This turned out to be unfortunate for the Romans, who wanted to stay powerful. Therefore, were treated with suspicion and regarded as stubborn and somewhat subversive to the State solidarity.
3. What do the world-views of Christianity and Graeco-Roman humanism have in common? How are they different?
Christianity and Graeco-Roman humanism share many common elements: For instance, they both focus upon fellowship and humane treatment of people and animals. However, Christianity is not as cultic as much as the Graeco-Roman humanistic religious perspective. Christianity is also much more religious in terms of being focused upon the deity of Jesus than the Graeco-Roman humanism was focused upon any particular deity, although several deities were worshiped. This means that both Christianity and Graeco-Roman humanism had several things in common and maintained differences simultaneously as well.
4. Explain the importance of these individuals:
Saint Paul: Saint Paul was important because he was one of the Apostles of Christ. Initially, Paul was a persecutor of Christians who got converted while on his way to Damascus (the Lord converted him from Saul to a Roman name Paul) thus becoming one of the greatest Christian missionaries. He traveled far and wide within Greece and other places in order to spread the Gospel, ultimately shaping the way we understand the Bible today.
The Bishop of Rome: The Bishop of Rome was very important because he made important decisions regarding Christianity-before Christianity in Europe was split into the warring factions of Protestantism with Martin Luther and Rome’s Catholicism. The Bishop of Rome rose to a position of preeminence in the hierarchical structure of the church to be identified as the leader of the church.
Saint Augustine: Saint Augustine was the first archbishop of the church of Canterbury. He was also a writer, rhetorician, and devout Christian whose writings upon several topics regarding faith were highly-regarded in the Christian faith. St. Augustine’s works are respected by both Protestants and Catholics alike.
5. What was monasticism and why was it important to the people of this period and to Western Civilization in general? Do monastic communities still exist? Explain.
Monasticism was a form of asceticism practiced by Protestant, Christian, and Orthodox monks (men) and nuns (women). In a gender-neutral term they are known as “monastics”. The Monastics lived alone in the wilderness, but later they formed communities in order to lead an ascetic life. Monasticism was important to people in the early Christianity period because monks established schools and churches, furthering the betterment of society by advocating piety, poverty, and lives of significance and service.
Without monks and some monastic orders, much of Western civilization would not have benefited from their useful services. Monastic communities still exist in places like Transylvania and Ethiopia. There are some monastic communities which are only available to certain individuals who are allowed to go there by invitation-only. Monks have helped several people and revolutionized different societies.
Primary Source Document: Summary
The title of the primary source document is “The Christian way of life” written by saint Benedict of Nursia. The document is in form of a journal that was originally written in 1907. In this journal article, saint Benedict of Nursia gives advice to his monks on essential attitudes and ways of conduct fundamental to lead a virtuous Christian life. The document supports chapter five of the book “Western Civilization: A brief history” in that it explains what was required of early Christians in order to live righteous Christian life. This kind of life made sure that they were not tied up to worldly desires and attachments and that their lives were fully dedicated to God alone but not other gods.
The document gives reasons why Christianity became so strong in the Roman Empire that Christians could not worship the state gods and their humiliation to inhumane acts such as persecution that consequently contributed to triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The document helps the reader to understand chapter five more clearly. It gives reasons why Christians endured suffering during this period so as to ensure commitment of their lives to God and why the Christian church was a strong organization that united the faithful.
References
Hauer, C.E., & Young, W.A. (1998). An introduction to the Bible: A journey into three worlds
(5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Read More
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