Larry Hurtado: A Very Brief Summary

Improved Essays
In the book, Why on Earth Did Anyone Become a Christian in the First Three Centuries?, author Larry Hurtado argues that the idea of a loving God and the promise of eternal life inspired Christians to persevere through all hardships. In a time where life expectancy was low and punishments were brutal, the two points that Hurtado mentions certainly seem promising to a minority that was often unfairly penalized. Although the idea of a loving God surely inspired those to follow Him, the peaceful agenda that Christians promoted must have also played a large role in converting others to Christianity.
Including Judaism, Christianity was one of few monotheistic religions in the first millennium. Not only was Christianity unique for having a compassionate
…show more content…
St. Paul’s epistles sent throughout the Roman Empire and other kingdoms often preached messages of love and other faithful insights. Violence was a common form of retaliation in the Roman Empire, but despite this, Christians did the unheard of and “turned the other cheek.” While it may have seemed foolish to some, others must have been inspired by the Christian goodness. Christianity was a crime punishable by death, and Romans seemingly found pleasure in torturing Christians as they found more elaborate ways to inflict pain on those who meant no harm. Some Christians were willing to die for their faith, and those that didn’t practiced in secret. Though it would be irrational to openly express admiration for those being killed, seeing such events must have caused bystanders to realize the erroneous way of life that some Romans seemed so fond of. Because the Christian faith was not yet backed by the Empire, Christians had to preach with intelligence and back their words through actions. The first three centuries were a difficult time for Christians, for they lived with the fear of impending death. Despite this, Christianity prevailed; however, such might not have been possible had it not have had the promise of eternal life, a loving God, and the message of love. Christianity was the antithesis of the pre-established Roman Empire,

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    The reasons that Christianity managed to prevail over the imperial cult and the mystery cults stemmed from the willingness of the martyrs to die for Christianity, as these were behaviours that the members of these cults were not willing to replicate. The Christian community thrived in its deviance because it provided the Roman world with a real depiction of the virtues the Romans aspire…

    • 1249 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Trajan Martyrdom

    • 1726 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The confusion of the pagans towards the pacifistic approach to “war” used by the Christians against the Roman religion implies that Rome was unaccustomed to this kind of rebellion. Romans had been taught to live and die for their emperor and the empire The puzzling behaviour of the Christians to accept their gruesome and humiliating deaths did not deter pagans from converting to Christianity as these martyrs acted as a means to opposing the erroneous aspects of Christianity that previously deterred…

    • 1726 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Mission San Jose Essay

    • 848 Words
    • 4 Pages

    There was still violence regardless, but the modus operandi was to convert Native Americans to Christianity because in the minds of the missionaries, they truly believed they were saving them from hell. It shows just how good or misguided intentions can harm people. An example of this at another point in Antebellum US history would be John Brown’s Rebellion. As documented in his defense, he wanted to end slavery, which in of itself, is a goal with good intentions, but his way of doing so caused harm to people. A similar situation occurred at Mission San Jose and other parts of the country where Natives were being converted.…

    • 848 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This meant that Christianity would be accepted in the empire. It even turned that Constantine became a Christian himself. The emperors hated Christianity so much for one main reason. “The Romans tolerated the religions of other peoples unless these religions threatened public…

    • 483 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In The Martyrdom of Perpetua, the Romans persecuted the Christians because Christians did not make desirable neighbors. However, the actions of Perpetua and Christians pointed to confidence in God, instead of fear of death. Before the Roman state killed Perpetua, she said, “Now it is I who suffer, but then another shall be in me bear the pain for me, since I am now suffering for Him” (334). Perpetua understood suffering was beneficial because it praised God for his promise of eternal life. The fear of death could scare Perpetua and her fellow Christians, nevertheless they were joyful: “The day of victory dawned, and with joyful countenances they marched from the prison to the arena as though on their way to heaven” (334).…

    • 817 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    If I was alive during this time, I would like to say as a Christian, I would be a bit more open minded toward the Romans way of thinking. I believe the pursuit of knowledge is never ending and a lot of that has to do with the complexities of God 's creations. But, on the other hand why would early Christians be interested in anything the Romans had to say, due to the way they were treated by them. I think a lot of this war was due to lack of perspective on both sides. The Romans saw the Christians as paria that would infect their way of life, and the Christians rejected all Roman ways of thinking so extremely, that they wouldn’t even associate on an intellectual level.…

    • 728 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Loyal Romans would also find Christians suspicious and treasonous because of their refusal to worship previous emperors as deities. To Romans who were devoutly loyal to their city and its history this was seen as sacrilege and particularly treasonous. Not only did Christians not care about possibly angering the Gods but they were also traitors of Rome. These were very real worries of pagan Romans so when Emperor Nero began executing Christians en masse these Roman citizens were not disturbed enough to protest; neither did they protest the subsequent 100 years of persecution Christians living in Rome went through. Romans were just as zealous as their Emperor to round up the Christians and eradicate them from the…

    • 1077 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Most people who did not want to be Christian said that they were so that they would not be killed; Constantine forced Christianity onto the Roman empire. The expansion of faith could also be something bad because Jesus told his disciples of many nations, he never specified that the number of people had to be massive, but that there were people of diversity in the Christian faith. The Edict of Milan was a good thing, but Constantine used it to his benefit, he thought that if he were to bring the Christians out of hiding than he could use their religion to his advantage in making the roman empire…

    • 1375 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Previously I had assumed that Christianity could not have persisted in Rome without the empire collapsing, but if France could survive a split in faith and the tedious wars that followed, maybe Rome could have survived as a Christian Empire. Studying Rome and how Christianity affected its downfall also let me appreciate how Catherine de’ Medici kept her country together. She could easily have chosen a side from the beginning and caused warfare even more destructive that what occurred when she remained neutral. However, she held her position until the Huguenots directly attacked her son, which she could not stand for. If the Roman emperors had been more tolerant of the new religion and remained neutral, maybe they would have had a chance of…

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Abelard and Augustine: Devout Sinners and Christians Abelard and St. Augustine felt compelled to write of their mistakes and misfortunes reflective of their lives. Despite the fact they did so in efforts to confess their sins, the two differ in a multitude of ways. Some of which include their approach for convincing people religion can provide them with salvation, or their attitudes towards religion in their earlier life. St. Augustine wrote within the first century where Christianity was a competitor when it came to religion. Up until this time, Roman Paganism was undoubtedly the main religion within Europe.…

    • 1671 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays