The Rise Of Christianity : The Roman Empire Essay

The Rise Of Christianity : The Roman Empire Essay

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Christianity has over two billion followers which clearly makes it the most popular religion today. Moreover, Christianity is a relatively young religion when compared to other popular religions like Judaism or Hinduism. Thus, historians have looked for reasons as to why Christianity rose so astronomically compared to other popular religions. Consequently, this question leads Rodney Stark to the answer that women in the Roman empire played a massive role in popularizing Christianity in western society. In Stark’s most famous work Reconstructing the Rise of Christianity: The Role of Women, it argues that the unbalanced gender ratios in both pagan and Christian societies and the charitable nature early Christianity offered to women would create the ideal scenario as to why Christianity rose so quickly in the Roman empire.
In the Roman empire infanticide was practiced heavily amongst pagans, they would mostly target “unwanted female infants and deformed male infants” (Stark 231). Furthermore, many females died from extremely painful abortions. However, these atrocious practices were done exclusively by pagans and Christian society made these practices taboo. Stark argues that thanks to these different ideologies both societies had, it caused disproportionate gender ratios in the Roman empire. Additionally, Stark found evidence for his thought as J.C Russel a historian who researched the populations of classic civilizations had “estimated that there were 131 males per 100 females in the city of Rome and 140 males per 100 females in Italy” (231). This use of statistics illustrates that there was a shortage of women for the Roman men to marry. Conversely, early Christianity followers had more females then males which caused a shortage o...


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...through great lengths to provide plenty of evidence in the favor of Christian women’s role in popularizing Christianity. By utilizing statistical data and the early Christian doctrine it showcases the importance of women in the Roman empire which would impact western society forever. If the Roman’s pagan beliefs offered all the benefits Christianity did to women, then possibly Islam would be the new most popular religion. However, thanks to the Christians general ideology of universal acceptance and the horrible roles women faced in pagan culture it leads to the mass conversion of pagan women becoming Christian. Which in turn would lead them to convert their new pagan husband and then it goes down to their children. With each increasing generation Christianity would start taking over the world as the most popular religion all thanks to the women in the Roman empire.

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