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Home > Triumph > the triumph of christianitythe triumph of christianity
The guys with with the swords decided what "Christian" is

"Who does not see how much the worship of the name of Christ has increased."
[St. Augustine, Civ dei :18:45]

In one dark way the new Christianities differed from the other Pagan religions. They were exclusive. They were intolerant. They hated dissent and crushed freedom. And in the black seed of Christian intolerance lay the death of ancient civilization. Which brings us to...



Constantine and social Darwinism: Crushing Paganism
In 312 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine responding to a dream (how Pagan!), converted from paganism to Christianity. The world changed forever. All of a sudden it was good to be Christian and bad to be Pagan. Within a century of Constantine's conversion the Empire went from roughly ten percent Christian (most of these believing in now extinct "heretical" Christianities) to mostly Roman Christian

How'd the conversion happen? Partly by giving Christians preference for government contracts and advancement.

Also by coercion.

Constantine made divination in public matters was punishable by burning to death.
Pagan sacrifices were banned [341 AD].
Nocturnal pagan worship was forbidden [353 AD].
By mid-century, pagan temples were ordered closed.
In 356 AD worship of non-Christian images became a capital crime.
In 385 Christians tore the great and famous temple at Edessa to the ground, and the praetorian prefect Cynegius' trip to Egypt was marked by Christians rampaging around the pagan cities of Syria as vandalizing, looting mobs. Taking Pagan gold, but not stealing it, for

"...there is no such thing as 'robbery' for those who truly possess Christ." [Libanius, Or. 30.9f]


Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.
In 399 AD Gaudentius and Jovinus, counts of the emperor, "overthrew the temples and broke the images of the false gods" in Carthage. Ever since, says St. Augustine...

"Who does not see how much the worship of the name of Christ has increased." [St. Augustine, Civ dei 18:45]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Well, no kidding.  

Constantine and social Darwinism: Crushing non-Roman Christianities
Picking sides It was tough to be a pagan in the fourth century. It was also tough to be a Christian believing in a non-Roman theology. The emperor took sides.

In 317 Constantine's Roman Christian sectarians in Carthage filled the well outside the main Donatist [non-Roman Christian] church with the bodies of their Christian opponents.
In 333 AD Constantine issued edicts against "Arius, wicked and impious," forbidding his teaching and even outlawing owning the Arian version of the New Testament.

"Whoever hides them [Arian's version of the New Testament] shall be condemned to death."

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.
Constantine didn't kid around about stuff like that. At least you knew where you stood.
In 382, in Egypt, celebrating Easter on the day set aside by the local non-Roman Christian sect was punishable by death.
In 383, in Spain, Urbanica was stoned to death and her bishop Priscillian was executed for their non-Roman Christian beliefs.
St. Augustine describes the sectarian struggles in North Africa, in which believers had their eyes torn out and one bishop had his hands and tongue cut off. [Augustine, Epistles 44.7]

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