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Rise of Christianity Amongst the Roman Empire
This is a paper letter written to the Roman Emperor Diocletian, on the various aspects and causes for the rise of the Christian religion in light of the book, "The Rise of Christianity" by Rodney Starks. It has 3 sources in MLA Format.
Of the Roman Empire
Sub: RISE OF CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE ROMANS,
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The rise of the Christian religion amongst our Roman people is indeed a serious cause of concern, and I have, upon your esteemed orders carried a detailed study on the numerous causes of this new religion's success. Please allow me to present some of these causes, which I am certain will be a source of enlightenment for you as well as the other leaders of our great Roman Empire.
As my present letter will explain, some of the important reasons for the continued success of the Christian religion lies in our policies of tolerating alien gods, the belief and practice of martyrs which strengthened the Christian religion, and most significant reason of all, the willingness of the elite, the educated as well as the general masses alike in accepting the Christian religion.
My dear Emperor, it has been our Roman belief and part of our policies to allow freedom to our people to obey a number of gods, as we do, such as our gods, Jupiter, Mercury, and Neptune to name but a few. Thus, the rise and growth of Christianity by obeying their god comes as no surprise. The absence of any single law or rule in the Roman Empire against persecution of believers of alien gods, makes it all the more suitable for any religion to prosper without any hindrance or obstruction from state authorities, thus the rise and growth of this religion. As will be evident from our own history, it was not before Emperor Deicius, that some form of persecution began in the issuance of edicts, that the spread of Christianity was interrupted. Furthermore, even the issuance of these edicts did little to actually stop the rise of Christianity, as the holy scriptures of this religion already foretold the events, and only proved what was already written. In fact, these steps only strengthened their beliefs, and were construed to be a step in the right direction.
My dear Emperor, another reason for the speedy rise and growth of Christianity amongst the Romans is our belief in many gods, and their strong belief in one god, also termed as Monotheism. As you are well aware, that Roman Pagan religion does accept the presence of a dominant god, yet, the presence of other gods makes our religion polytheism, and it is here where our true conflict begins. We believe polytheism as the base for the running the order of our great Roman Empire, and these Christians believing in one God contradict our very order, as well as question our fundamental notions of order. An example to this effect is our treatment of slaves and women, which these Christians totally contradict and demand, equal treatment for all. To prove my contentions on this very point, I will reword an extract from Rodney Stark's 'The Rise of Christianity', wherein he has argued that Christian women were treated better than pagan women in the first few hundred years of the rise of Christianity. Furthermore, Stark also points out that women held positions of authority and leadership in various congregations' (page 108). Thus stands a very conclusive reason for the rise of Christianity.
Yet another very important area, my dear Emperor, which caused this religion to prosper was its publicity and acceptance factor, by all classes, be it rich or poor, and is somewhat a continuation of my last point mentioned above, that of demanding equal treatment for all individuals. On a detailed study of the believers of this religion, it is observed that the lower classes and particularly the poor have been largely attracted towards this religion. In pursuant of one of the famous sayings of their religious leader, the Jesus of Nazareth, who said that, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth," it appears that the popularity of this religion amongst the poor masses, those who were doomed to suffer at the hands of those rich and powerful, has made…[continue]
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