If religion today remains to be a touchy subject among people, it was way worse in the olden times, specifically during the time when the New Testament came out. Back in those days, the persecution of Christians was the main trend, mainly because the tenets of the religion did not sit well with the Jews at the time. This, apparently, was a prevalent movement, despite the fact that Christianity and Judaism were parallel with each other in terms of scripture. The reason for the persecution of Christians, however, was more of a mindset, as the Jewish community believed they were the more “established” community, given their history and strong influence at the time. However, there seems to be more than meets the eye when it comes to the persecution of Christians and the entire reason behind it. Through this article, readers can hopefully understand it fully, and not create a division among everyone, as organized religion does tend to be a major root cause human conflict.

Just like any other new ideology that was being introduced to the masses, this new religion called Christianity was not immediately accepted by people, due to its radical inclinations. Early Christians mostly preached about the “Second Coming” of a savior, or what is known as a “Messiah,” and were hopeful that their faith would eventually be embraced. Instead, the persecution of Christians took place and was believed to have first taken place during the Roman Empire under Emperor Nero around 64 AD. It was a brutal massacre wherein a major fire broke out that essentially wiped out a huge chunk of the Roman population, and Emperor Nero was believed to be the main culprit. But the biggest act of persecution of Christians took place around the onset of the 4th century, which is also referred to as “The Great Persecution.” Not only were edicts put out to ban every single Christian practice known to man, but each and every one of them was also ordered to offer a form of sacrifice to the Roman Gods. Of course, not everyone complied, which led to the death of more than 20,000 Christians, and all of it happened during this Diocletian reign alone.

Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians continued to occur through the succeeding periods of time, particularly during the Middle Ages through the Early Modern period around 614 AD. But this time around, the Christians refused to take things lying down, as they now incited a full-scale rebellion against the Jews, with the Eastern Roman Empire being their allies. It was not a scene that ended well, as it was believed that around 17,000 Christians perished, and many churches have been torn down due to the war. The persecution of Christians carried on even during the Islamic rule in the 7th Century, where they were turned into slaves for being unable to pay taxes. Sadly, it has been a never-ending cycle, even throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. Nowadays, there still remains a long-standing rift between Christians and Muslims, seemingly proving that organized religion may actually cause more harm than good on a grander scale.

This is a guest post by Mary-Anne Rochester.
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