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Clash of the Christians: Why Rome’s Religious and Social Practices Catalyzed the Christian Explosion in the First Century

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Romans and afterlife
  3. The emphasis on the importance of worldly effects
  4. Roman rituals surrounded a sacrifice
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

?Goodness is the only investment that never fails,? once penned poet Henry David Thoreau. Such was a belief of the earliest followers of Christianity, most of whom were disrespected lower-class citizens of the Roman Empire. Christians proclaimed the existence of utopian life after death attainable through an altruistic approach to life on earth. Conversely, during the same period of time that Christianity was birthed, Roman citizens practicing their pagan religion and its various forms believed that life on earth was far more appealing than what would come after death and their actions imitated this philosophy

[...] Though they may have been seemingly defeated numerous times on earth, they believed they were succeeding in heaven and this created an impossible foe for the Romans. Christianity was similar to many cult-like religions that appeared during this period of time. However, it differed in its zeal. While many religions opposed Roman pagan practices, Christianity sought to not only exist, but affect the world. It existed on principles contrasting the Roman way of life and as they began to clash, Christianity and Rome did so violently. [...]

[...] Besides having rather empty religious rituals and practices, the Romans did not place any hope in an afterlife either, as illustrated in Diffugere Nives, a poem written by Horace, a popular poet around the turn of the first millennium. In a translation by A.E. Houseman, Horace pens, swift hour and the brief prime of the year say to the soul thou wast not born for aye when thou descendest once the shades among not thy long lineage nor they golden tongue, no, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more.? (Houseman) Horace's words are the embodiment of Roman belief that life on earth is important to live to the fullest because there is no beauty, nor life, in death. [...]

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