Roman Empire Christianity
As the rise of Christianity began in the early years AD, the Roman Empire had already been founded under the guidance of Augustus.
Although Augustus would end his reign before the death of Jesus, other subsequent emperors would see this religion grow from a mostly sect-based practice to a force to be reckoned with.
While some blame Christianity for the decline of the Empire, others, such as the famous Christian historian Orosius credit it for bringing positive influences to Rome and those under its control. Whatever the case, it is clear that the establishment of Christianity flourished in the days of the empire.
Some of the reasons for this include:
* Early religious tolerance - The Romans were well known for their philosophy of adopting the gods andpicture religions of those they conquered. This tolerance of other views in the empire helped foster and nurture this religion in its infancy. Through the course of a few hundred years, it went from begin a small, sect-based version of Judaism to a strong force within the empire.
* Official adoption of the religion - Although it would take centuries to overshadow other religions within the empire, it eventually did. By the end of the 4th century, the Romans recognized Christianity as the official state religion.
* Freedom of movement for missionaries - From its earliest days, Christianity was a mission-based religion. Although Christianity wasn't officially considered a "tolerated" religion until the Emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan in the 4th century, the earliest missionaries often found themselves rather free to move about the vast empire and spread the word of Christ. The religion itself was often so appealing because it promised people the salvation they so desired. As time passed, Christian traditions overtook pagan holidays, temples (like the Pantheon which is now a church) and beliefs.
How much of a role the rise of Christianity played in the decline of the Roman Empire remains a matter of debate. What is very clear is that both grew up together and when the empire fell, Christianity remained.
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