The Triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire Essay

The Triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire Essay

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Christians went from being persecuted to dominating Rome rather quickly. In a world where separation between church and state does not exist, a Christian becoming the sole emperor of Rome symbolized a huge turning point in history. The power switched and the Pagans in turn became persecuted. Christians rose up and took control of all aspects of Roman society. The Pagan past was destroyed, banned, or forgotten about. Those Christians that did not agree with how things were being run either left the empire and became monks or formed their own sect. All of Rome changed.

The part that interested me the most in these readings were those that strayed away from the standard Christianity that the emperor instated and followed their own beliefs in how Christianity should be followed. The monks certainly had their own ideas about the faith. Both the primary source "The Rejection of Society and Its Values" by Athanasius of Alexandria and the secondary source "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon give details on the monks' chosen lives of anguish. They would forsake all pleasures of their time and give up all of their possessions. They did not sleep on beds, drink wine, eat meat, engage in any sexual activity, or raise a family. The part that astonished me was what they did do, not what they did not do. As if what they were giving up was not enough, they would often punished their bodies and inflict pain upon themselves. The monks saw this as the price to pay for an eternity of happiness. I personally find this to go against Christian beliefs. The bible states that the body is a temple and all must take good care of it. I don't think God intended for people to mutilate the gift he gave us. ...

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... government buildings and buildings had to be knocked down and rebuilt. One can not deny the fact that Rome used to be Pagan, so why bother trying to hide its history. I understand why an altar in the senate house could be seen as inappropriate, but as long as it is there as an artifact and not being used in prayer, I do not see a problem.

Although the readings contained a mixture of positive and negative reactions, I took most of them to be negative. They blame Christianity for the fall of the Roman Empire and the Roman Empire for negatively having "seriously affected the reason, the faith, and the morals of Christians" (163). They portray the papacy as corrupt and the faith as unsympathetic towards others. I do not think they were wrong in portraying much of this part of history as negative; however, I do not think it was any worse than the Pagan Rome.

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