So why were early Christians looked down upon in pagan Rome?

Is it true that if they didn’t sacrifice to the Pagan gods they were heavily taxed and ostracized from society? What was the relationship between early pagans and early Christians in ancient rome? How does Constantine tie into it?

9 thoughts on “So why were early Christians looked down upon in pagan Rome?

  1. Actually by not contributing to the local temples they avoided one of the heavier de facto taxes that most Romans had to pay. Needless to say this caused resentment, plus since it was believed that the local gods influenced health and prosperity this nonconformance was seen as the reason when things went bad. Now, compound this with worshiping a man who died a traitors death….

  2. Many Christians went into hiding because of their belief in God and many were put to death for not obeying Roman laws and their gods.

  3. They were killed. Constantine ended it by combining Christianity with paganism, thus creating the Roman Catholic Church.

    Revelation 17

    1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

    2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

    3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

    4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:


    6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

  4. No, the Roman gods demanded no sacrifice. In fact, the Romans were tolerant of every polytheist religion. The only requirement the Romans had of every religion was that the Roman Emperor was to be worshiped as a god. For all religions, except for Judaism and Christianity, this was no problem.
    The punishment for heresy was death, heresy being not seeing the Roman emperor as a god.

    The Christians weren’t taxed more heavily than polytheists, and they weren’t ostracized for their belief that Jesus was the son of God, but for the lack of belief that the Roman emperor was some form of god too.

    First the Christians were ignored, then they were outlawed, then it started to trickle up through the layers of society until eventually an emperor happened to become Christian.

    That emperor was Constantine. He became Caesar at a time when the Roman empire was divided into an Eastern and Western half. He owned part of the Western empire, which was in civil war with the East. After the Augustus of the West died, he became Augustus, and after a while defeated the East. During one of the battles, he supposedly got a message from God to paint the Christian cross on everyone’s shields. He did that and won. After he won the war, he made Christianity the official religion. At that time, he still hadn’t been baptized. Only on his deathbed was he baptized, because his religious advisers said that would get him into heaven.

  5. the rome empire had their own state religion and to refuse to worship their roman
    gods was treason and punishable by death. after the death of Jesus and His
    apostles preached the Gospel, Christianity spread all over Rome which caused
    the Roman government to worry. a lot of romans abandoned the state religion
    and converted to Christianity. to be a Christian or even to be accused of being
    one, was enough to be put to death. a lot of Christians were persecuted being
    arrested and jailed and if refused to renounce their faith, they were thrown to wild
    animals to be mauled to death or tortured by various instruments of torture. you
    should read the history of the Catholic Church to have a more detailed information
    of the sufferings of the Church in their early days as Christians. you would be
    amazed of the hardships, sufferings and triumphs the Church went through. also
    the saints that defended the Catholic Church’s doctrines and beliefs; among them
    St. Athansius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine and St. Jerome.

  6. It’s not just “sacrificing”, they refused to follow the basics of the Roman Law.

    If some upstart group started driving on the wrong side of the road or other basic laws like that?


  7. It wasn’t just Christians… Romans disliked Jews, too. And pretty much any non-Romans.

    Early Christians were a vocal group stirring the pot. That’s why Romans targeted them. To make examples of them.

    Constantine saw that the wild behavior of the Romans would probably lead to their own downfall. They were really partying too hard for their own good.

    A conversion to a more conservative religion with a strict God made sense… but Judaism was out because there were too many changes required to become a Jew (circumcision, diet, rituals, etc.). People would never go for it.

    So Christianity was the ticket. Christianity was still in it’s early stages, and Christian cults were autonomous, so there was the opportunity to try and shape it into what would be effective in reigning in the empire.

    In a nutshell, but there you have it.

  8. They were not more heavily taxes. Religion was heavily tied to the state. if you refused to pay at least token respect to the Roman gods, it was seen as treason (since the welfare of the Roman empire was in the hands of the gods). Christians refused to pay that token respect and were periodically persecuted for it. In addition, Christians tended to keep to themselves and were rather odd from a Roman point of view. All sorts of rumors started about them, similar to the blood libel which later developed among Christians about Jews.

    Christianity was specifically outlawed in 202 CE. Constantine made Christianity legal (but not the official religion) and called for religious tolerance. He also urged the Christian church to get more organized and gave them financial support. Exactly what his own faith was is debated. He seemed to be dipping into several throughout his life, although he was baptized on his deathbed.

    We’re now theorizing that he thought his crumbling Empire might be able to reunite if a single faith could be embraced.

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