How did Christianity Achieve its Position as the World's Largest Religious Grouping?

by fulltimestudent 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    There is little evidence to indicate that there were many Christians in the first 2 or 3 centuries of its existence. But after the conversion of Constantine (or, at least his toleration of Christianity) things changed. With one notable exception all future Emperors promoted Christianity. Imperial money was used fund the building of large meeting/worship building and more.

    In a new book, published by Oxford University Press, Peter Heather, who is Professor of Medieval History at King's College London, and author of previous books,The Fall of the Roman Empire, Empires and Barbarians, and The Restoration of Rome' links early Christianity and Roman aggression.

    And as an aside, its a link that continued into more recent times. When Great Britain fought the two wars with Imperial China in the first half of the Nineteenth century, the treaties which ended those wars, specifically allowed Gt Britain to sell opium into China, but also contained provisions that allowed Christian missionaries into China. And in more recent times our loving brothers in Brooklyn also decided (on occasion) to use the power of the current world hegemon to faciltate the entry of missionaries to some resistant nations.

    Hence, its possible to argue that Christianity achieved its position by the power of the sword as much as anything else. So it may also be argued did its Abrahamic twin, Islam.

    The book referred to, if the topic interests you is: Rome Resurgent: War and Empire in the Age of Justinian

    And for an expanded discussion of what I've referred to above, see this entry in the OUP blog:

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    African people caught onto that one quite quickly - particularly the irony of it all.

    A parody of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” reads

    ”Onward Christian Soldiers, into pagan lands,

    Prayer books in your pockets, rifles in your hands,

    Bring the gladsome tidings, where trade might be done,

    Spread your peaceful Gospel, with the Maxim Gun”.

    Both the point of a Roman sword and the muzzle of Maxim Gun proved to be very effective methods of converting the “heathen.”

  • WTWizard

    It got that way through the inquisition. They spread that rubbish through Europe, and if you were not interested, you got tortured to death.

  • Vidiot


  • Simon

    The countries where Christianity prospered produced the greatest inventors, architects, inventors and artists, often in spite of the control that Christianity had but it ultimately went along for the ride. It's really the culture that won, not the religion.

    Christianity was also not so unyielding that it wouldn't incorporate existing beliefs into itself so it could absorb new cultures sometimes by adapting itself to them as much as them to it.

  • redvip2000

    The deciding factor was really the expansion policies that many European countries had in the last 2000 years.

    The American continent was colonized by christian populations at the time when it was a trend for European powers to try to find other lands. And by that time much of Europe was already christian by influence of the Roman Empire.

    Now think of the millions of people that live in North and South America and you'll see how this helped push christianity to the top.

  • MrRoboto

    Perhaps there is something to be said about forced conversions but when people are unfulfilled in life they tend to look elsewhere - religion.

    Incidentally, some recruiters understand this and so they target those folks. JWs are good for this, targeting those who recently lost a loved one in death or going through other negative life changing events. This leaves the victim vulnerable to attack by these vultures who thrive on the emptiness that accompanies those going through those though times.

  • TheWonderofYou

    This happend through convincing the noble, first the roman emperor and then the governing prince and princes and sovereigns that they only could reign effectly over the people with the blessing of God, that they acted as gods steward in the princes office and were responsible then to bring people religion, and gods blessing through their authority in the office. Ordinary people had to take on the religion of the princes. Get used to the might of real power of authority and fearmonger, and the sword. And this all in best intent. Its misuse of religion of the simgle political leader party and its power over the peoples' conscience. But the noble possessed rhe land and were the lords.

  • Perry
    Jesus teachings and offers to people were very attractive. After he was resurrected and came back from the dead, the whole thing took off like wildfire.

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