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March 08 2016


The Growth of Christianity

You'll find three main related factors that caused the growth and expansion of Christianity, and ultimately its success. We were holding a combination of political, social and economic factors. The growth of early Christianity has been the topic of much debate and historical analyses. We are attempting to simply outline and touch upon some of the main social factors that cause the rise of Christianity.

Christianity has come at the proper time, in an age where life was uncertain and several circumstances could not be controlled like the barbarians invading; fires home whole cities and plagues killing off a great deal of the population, whether you were rich or poor it made no difference, life in the Greco-Roman world was very fragile and short. Life expectancy was not great and also the average person lived until round the age of 30 as well as considerably less. Life expectancy was suprisingly low and what may have attracted pagans was that the Christian religion and doctrines offered hope and certainty from the afterlife and even some personal divine protection these days. These new doctrines would have seemed attractive to pagans, when there is growing discontent with pagan practices as well as a general spiritual unrest. Like Christianity the Roman Religion was for that ordinary man but interest was waning and the mystery religions were way too complicated for the common Roman, thus the people's choice was likely to be Christianity.

Christianity also offered wish to a usually pessimistic society that considered that their destinies were fixed, with the idea to be in the Gods' favour or to be out of it, without hope of redemption. Christianity offered an alternate with the much desired possibility of salvation.

Christianity was primarily a metropolitan movement, in these urban centre's Christianity grew in a steady pace, the towns of cities like Antioch, were very condensed with folks it is estimated that there were 117 people per acre. When compared with modern cities of today this is rather overcrowded. The overcrowding was extreme, entire families lived together in single room apartments; this left little personal space and allowed everyone to understand each other's business. Since urban centre's were dramatically overcrowded knowning that early Roman Greco cities had minimal sanitation or sewerage to the average apartments people would often just throw their bodily waste out your window of their apartments onto the streets. Starks describe your situation in these urbanized areas as:

Given limited water and method of sanitation and the incredible density of humans and animals, a lot of people in the Greco-Roman world would've lived in filth beyond our imagining.

Apartments were often Smokey, dark, damp and constantly dirty. The air was full of the smell of sweat, urine and faces. Onto of those conditions the rodents and bugs were everywhere during these apartments. The city streets are not much better they had open sewers, animal manure and crowds occasionally it was so bad there were dead human corpses abandoned inside the streets. When cities were within a constant state of filth, insects and crowding, disease was rife of these conditions, especially when these Roman societies had no antibiotics or familiarity with germs. Often plagues would strike and physical illness was almost certainly a part of daily life. Among this was the analysis of human faeces which were found in a cesspit in Jerusalem showed large amounts of tapeworm and whipworm eggs, which shows poor sanitary conditions where humans often entered contact with human faeces.

Christianity revitalized the clear way of life in Greco-Roman society offering telecomutting saves gas, which dealt with some of the consequences of urban problems. Charity and hope was agreed to homeless and the poor, usually the cities were filled with newcomers and strangers and Christianity offered a long family and a base for attachments along with effective nursing services in times of disaster, that were often due to plagues, earthquakes and fires.

Christianity's attitude towards society and its particular social impact greatly triggered the expansion and success in the church. The church was particularly well-known for its acts of charity, it's likely that the charity itself was the most influencing factors to the growth of Christianity.

The church offered this charity to everyone, including pagans and Jews. Through the third century the Church was taking good care of one thousand five hundred widows in need of assistance. The church itself was well off and according to Eusebius, through the year 251 the church in Rome supported the bishop, 46 presbyters, 7 deacons, 7 sub deacons, 42 acolytes and 52 exorcists, reader and doorkeepers, but additionally more than 1500 widows and needy persons. The churches obvious financial stability leads that it is popular and it successfully expanded as it helped those in need, it offered help and often people were converted to Christianity as a result of the kindness and a focus they received. Although the Roman Empire did have some charitable services such as the bread dole, Christian charity far outweighed the state's charity.

Throughout the first century to the fourth century there were government enforced persecution of early Christianity, though not constantly. Persecution and martyrdom has been a sign of the strength of Christianity, which in turn shows if the movement was attracting attention from your Roman state. Such emperors that instigated severe persecution were Decius and Diocletian. There was sufficient amounts of Christians in North Africa for martyrdoms to be noticed, one of these martyrdoms were Perpetua and her slave girl, Felicity who were thrown to the lions from a trial.

Tertullian wrote that "the blood of Christians is seed" which are often misquoted as "the blood from the martyrs is the seed in the church." Tertullian might have been saying this as he believed that martyrdoms created new converts or may have strengthened the church.

The Roman Empire planned to exterminate this new religion as fast as possible and it seems it tried initially to exterminate every Christian they might find but later under Decius they started new techniques to try and exterminate Christianity one of many ways was by removing the clergy and the bishops and in addition taking away lands and churches from your Christians, irrespective of rank while forcing these to sacrifice to the states pagan gods or why not be punished severely with torture, exile, slavery and sometimes execution, depending on numerous reasons along with the time of persecution.

This would have experienced to give this new religion much publicity, particularly if it was in the circus arenas being killed by wild beats would have been creating attention, this indicates many would have seen these peculiar people prepared to suffer excruciating torture and also die for their God and religion, this will need to have left the pagan with something further to take into consideration and consider if they were willing to die for their pagan gods.

The Christians might have won converts in some areas, because of their courage through the persecutions, the strength of their faith and also the support they showed each other, Tertullian said that pagans had exclaimed from the arenas during martyrdoms "See how these Christians relative another" this indicated the social nature in the Christian faith. The persecutions also created apologists they were people who would be writing trying to convince the authorities that they done nothing wrong, get the job done Emperors read these long letters of apology no one knows, it seems rather unlikely however you can suggest State officials having read these letters of apology.

Another part of Christian growth was that Christianity as well as friendships formed from the inside the Church lead to its successful growth because people that had become a Christian felt that they are to fulfil the truly amazing commission as taught by Jesus and also the apostles and they were to pass the material onto their family and friends, this quite often resulted in a close knit community this also was appealing in a era when it was expected people to look after yourself. On this Greco-Roman era religious and social interaction was very much interlinked. It turned out taught in the church when Christian travellers came from outside of the city or were strangers to an alternative city, Christians would provide their needs and offer shelter to these Christians, this became not only taught in the teachings of Jesus but in addition by the apostle Paul. So it was an incentive becoming a Christian as there was always help and social support systems that could support you in a large empire. It absolutely was like an extended family anywhere you went within the Roman Empire. Eusebius writes that the Christian missionaries were so inspired with the Holy Spirit which they saw mass conversions occur, this may also be a contributing factor.

Christianity also gained some favour in society due to the improvement in the management of women, and it elevation of these social status. Christianity taught that marital unfaithfulness in a partner as serious like the other and that in in line with the New Testament, husbands should treat their wives with such consideration and love as Christ manifested for his Church, though women were still considered homemakers and wives. It can be believed that Christianity made its distance to the aristocracy in Rome at that time through the influence with their wives.

The Greco-Roman world was quite different woman had much less rights than men. It absolutely was a very male orientated society where male babies were wanted and female babies rejected this led to infant side of female babies. Some excavations have discovered hundreds of babies bones within an underground sewer viewed as female babies. It had not been uncommon that girls were offered in marriage before they had reached puberty to older men and the cultural custom could be that the women were the house of the man, either the daddy or the husband. Women played a huge role in the early Christian church this may have been because they received more rights within the Christian community when compared to women in the Greco-Roman world. We percieve in some early writings around the persecution of Christians a large number of more females clothing were stored or found than men's, more than double, this may suggest there have been far more females than males in the early church.

If this is correct that there were far more females than males during the early church then which allows for many secondary conversions. Secondary conversions are those that are a result of another individual being converted as a result of first conversion, for example a woman is converted but then shortly after her husband is converted which most likely would not have occurred if your woman was not originally converted. Christian doctrines were against abortion and infanticide. This may have had some impact on the birth-rates of Christian woman when compared with their pagan counterparts.

The spread of Christianity also involved Christian writings after the first century the writings of Paul along with the apostles of Jesus ended up spread sporadically over the Roman Empire. Apart for your early apostolic writers, others set about advocating, defending and propagating Christianity. Justin Martyr who lived around Ad 100-160 was a Christian teacher and philosopher, he wrote creation second apology. There were many subsequent Christian writers throghought earlier years of the church, most often they were well-educated, such as Origen, Tertullian and many more. In the pagan mystery religions just the elite could look at sacred and secret texts, yet, in Christianity often the Gospels and Paul's epistles were read out aloud for all to hear in the church, this will likely have appealed to the pagans when contemplating a choice in further religious observance. The Christian writings also acted as a method of spreading the Gospel message around town, often reaching more than the Roman Empire itself.

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