Why did the Romans Hate the Christians?

By Brian Foster

Abstract

PersecutionofChristiansWe learn as children that the Romans fed the Christians to the lions. This seemed normal to us, after all the Christians were good and the Romans bad. We thought they must have not wanted to be good. The truth is more complicated. Why would the Romans try to stamp out the Christians? After all, they absorbed many religions, and were quite tolerant of almost every sect. But the Christians, along with the Druids, were different, for both they engaged in a centuries long struggle of extermination.

Introduction

As the Romans evolved from a Republic to an Empire, controlling their conquests became paramounrome-spqrt for their ruling class. Starting wars over religions was not in their best interest. In fact, the Romans attempted to absorb many religions and cults into the Empire and actually allow the building of temples and other edifices in the greatest city in the world at that time, Rome. Why should they deliberately rouse the people, when their full aim was to keep them docile and able to pay their taxes? Therefore, a careful reading of Roman history shows their attitude toward Christianity and the Druids to be atypical;

“As the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in general was to absorb the deities and cults of other peoples rather than try to eradicate them, since they believed that preserving tradition promoted social stability. One way that Rome incorporated diverse peoples was by supporting their religious heritage, building temples to local deities that framed their theology within the hierarchy of Roman religion. Inscriptions throughout the Empire record the side-by-side worship of local and Roman deities, including dedicationsisis made by Romans to local gods. By the height of the Empire, numerous international deities were cultivated at Rome and had been carried to even the most remote provinces, among them Cybele, Isis, Epona, and gods of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, found as far north as Roman Britain. Because Romans had never been obligated to cultivate one god or one cult only, religious tolerance was not an issue in the sense that it is for competing monotheistic systems. The monotheistic rigor of Judaism posed difficulties for Roman policy that led at times to compromise and the granting of special exemptions, but sometimes to intractable conflict.” [1]

Was it just the belief in one God? No, for they tried hard to allow the Jews their religious place and the Druids were not monotheists. So what did cause the Romans to react so violently against what we, in the modern age, would see as a small group of pacifists, who would gladly render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. How could they have posed a threat to the might of Imperial Rome?

Hail Christ! – The Book

My interest in this subject was ignited by the book, Hail Christ!, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, and dictated by the spirit Emmanuel. It is set in the period of around 200 years after Christ, during one of the times of Christian persecution by the Roman authorities. Emmanuel writes about the early Christians;

“Everywhere, the evangelical organization prayed to serve and give instead of praying to be served and to take.

Christians were known by their capacity for personal sacrifice for the sake of all, for their goodwill, sincere humility, cooperation and fraternal care, and for their diligence in perfecting themselves.

Afire with faith in the immortality of the souls, they did not fear death. Their martyred comrades, who left behind families they were meant to protect and educate, departed like soldiers of Jesus.”[2]

These early Christians sound like ideal neighbors and citizens. The Christians during that era concentrated on helping others, educating themselves to become better souls, with an emphasis on giving instead of taking from the populace, all laudable traits. Could they have believed in something so onerous as to horrify the Romans? According to the book, the early Christians knew about our immortal souls and how we travel through many lives in order to improve ourselves. One of the wise Christians, in the book, Corvinus, tells us;

“Jesus did not just speak to the human being who passes away, but rather to the imperishable spirit. In one step of his sublime teachings, he warns, ‘It is better to enter life maimed than, have two hands, to go into the lower regions.’ [Mk 9:43] Christ is referring to the world as a school where we seek our own improvement. We come to the earth with the problems we need. Trials are a salutary remedy. Difficulties are steps upward on the great ascent. Our ancestors, the Druids, taught that we find ourselves in a world of travels or in a field of repeated experiences so that later on we can reach the stars of divine light to be one with God, our Father. We create suffering by defying the universal laws, and we endure it so we can return to harmonious communion with them. Justice is perfect. Nobody weeps unnecessarily. The stone bears the pressure of the tool that polishes it so that it can shine supremely. The beast is led to confinement to be tamed. Humankind suffers and struggles to learn and relearn in order to grow more and more. Earth is not the only theater of life. Did not the Lord himself — whom we aspire to serve — say ‘There are many dwellings in my Father’s house?’ Toil is the ladder of light to other spheres, where we will meet again like birds, which, after losing each other in winter’s gusts, regroup again in the blessed spring sunshine.”[3]

Hence, during the first budding of Christianity, they too knew that reincarnation was the doctrine of Christ. That all of us must suffer during our time here on earth in order to learn valuable lessons. They also realized that with reincarnation, there must be a spirit world for those not in a physical body, to exists while awaiting their next life. Corvinus speaks of the early church’s communication with the spirit realm;

“Heed the Master’s teaching and a new light will shine in your soul. In Lyon, many of our brothers and sisters communicate with the dead, who are simply those living in eternity. They communicate with us and support us every day in our duties… In many instances of martyrdom. I have seen companions who preceded us receiving those who were put to death… Consequently, I know that you and I will continue to be together. The church, for me is nothing but the Spirit of Christ in communion with men and women…” [4]

Therefore, early Christianity, similar to the Druid belief that we are here temporarily, and in between physical lives, our souls live in what the Druids calls the “Otherworld”.[5] As an extension to this belief is the realization that we are all equal. All transition between two worlds, all must learn and all have occasional failures. Thus, the material world and all of its trappings, power, glory and riches become less relevant. The positions of the elite and the rulers lose their aura. This brings us to the greatest fear of the Romans; slaves. In the book, Hail Christ!, a Roman Judge is berating a Christian prisoner;

“You’re all just an old gang of liars! What kind of fraternity could an unknown Galilean teach you, one who died nearly two hundred years ago? What service can you offer society by preaching rebellion to slaves with misleading promises of a heavenly kingdom? What kindness do you exercise by leading women and children to the bloody spectacle of the circuses? And what forgiveness do you exemplify, when your heroism is nothing but shame and humiliation?” [6]

The fear of a slave rebellion was a constant factor in Rome, after the year’s long marches up and down the Italian peninsula by Spartacus, the threat of having your throat slit by those who live in your PersecutionofChristians2house involuntarily became all too real. Whereas, other deities, religions and cults reinforced the fragility of your life here on earth, meaning that you should respect the power that could exterminate you for any offense; Christianity removed that barrier, leaving the believer with the certainty, that his or her own soul could never be touched by any display of human power. This was completely unacceptable to the Romans.

To add insult to injury, the Christians did not share the Roman’s pride of power and conquest. In the book, a Roman Patrician exclaims, “I cannot accept a faith that annuals pride and valor!”[7] From the Roman point of view, Christianity was no mere cult attracting the dregs of society. Too many Roman elites, along with slaves and freedmen, became members of a religion that not only rejected the basic tenants of Roman society, love of power, importance of ancestors in social standing, glory of combat, but additionally considerably raised the possibility of a massive slave revolt.

The force of the ideals of Christianity was a real threat to the Empire. This is why for three hundred years, the entire might of the Roman government sporadically made repeated attempts to crush the early Christians. Only in 313 AD, with the Edict of Milan issued by Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius, was Christianity legalized.[8]

constantineConstantine the Great wasn’t satisfied to just allow the doctrine of Christianity to flow freely, he called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians.[9] The papacy, the Bishop of Rome, claimed temporal power using Constantine’s ascension to Emperor. Therefore, the Church began its phase of slowly corrupting the doctrine of serving and started to take on the mantle of expecting to be served by the people, with a Spirit-101-Front-smallcohort of officials with ready hands to deal with the cash. Hence, over time, the Church became an extension of the Empire and not a potential adversary.

If you wish to learn about Spiritism, and how we are all immortal souls who reincarnate through many lives, read Spiritism 101 – The Third Revelation.

Author:
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.
Works Cited
Druidry.org. (2014, July 24). Druid Beliefs. Retrieved from Druidy.org: http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/druid-beliefs
Wikipedia. (2014, July 25). Wikipedia – Constantine the Great. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great
Wikipedia. (2014, July 25). Wikipedia – Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Roman_Empire
Wikipedia. (2014, July 25). Wikipedia – Religion in Ancient Rome. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Rome
Xavier, F. C. (2012). Hail Christ! Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.

[1] Wikipedia, “Religion in Ancient Rome”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Rome, (accessed July 25, 2014)
[2] XAVIER, Francisco C. Hail Christ!, EDICEI, p. 73
[3] XAVIER, Francisco C. Hail Christ!, EDICEI, pp. 47-48
[4] XAVIER, Francisco C. Hail Christ!, EDICEI, p. 63
[5] Druidry.org, “Druid Beliefs”, n.d., http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/druid-beliefs, (accessed July 25, 2014)
[6] XAVIER, Francisco C. Hail Christ!, EDICEI, p. 157
[7] XAVIER, Francisco C. Hail Christ!, EDICEI, p. 168
[8] Wikipedia, “Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Roman_Empire, (accessed July 25, 2014)
[9] Wikipedia, “Constantine the Great”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great, (accessed July 25, 2014)

 

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