Trajan's Protestation Against Christianity

Superior Essays
Trajan’s persecution was instigated by the protestation against Christianity by the pagan population. The governor of the region would be forced to placate the community, by condemning the Christians to death. These persecutions were often localized and rare. Pliny the Younger states that the Christians do not commit themselves to crime; they actually take an oath against criminal activities, such as theft, murder and adultery . The admission of Pliny the Younger suggests that the pagans did not have a valid reason to fear Christianity, but their reputation as immoral and superstitious persons overshadowed the fact that Christians live by moral tenants that were in line with Rome’s. The letters from Pliny the Younger to the emperor Trajan suggest …show more content…
As time progressed, many pagans had drifted away from polytheism to monotheism. Witnessing the willingness of the martyrs to accept death with enthusiasm, rather than renounce their faith provided the pagans with a religion that people were willing to die for . The act of martyrdom signified a devotion to a higher power that the pagans had never before experienced. In their view, martyrdom did not make sense, why would somebody willingly die for their God? Although the pagans were devoted to their gods, they were prepared to provide sacrifices to them, not die for them, like the Christians died for Christ. This devotion moved them, Christianity provided the pagans with the opportunity to embrace a deity that loved His people and did not demand sacrifices for victory . The act of martyrdom destroyed the misconceptions associated with the claims of superstitious practices associated with Christianity. No one would be so willing to die for a god that promoted evils, such as adultery. 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

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