Saturday, July 08, 2017

"Go, and he goeth" - Why Christianity Could Establish Itself in ancient Rome

Around Tokyo

Why Christianity Could Establish Itself in ancient Rome

Everybody wants to be rich.  But nobody uses violence, knives, or guns to be rich today, since there is any degree of rule of or control by law in addition to the police force.

In the Roman Empire about 2000 years ago, everyone wanted to be rich, too.  But there were not good police systems in ancient Rome and the Empire.  Even armed soldiers were forbidden in Rome except for some specified mission.  Only a small number of soldiers were stationed in Rome.  And as the assassination of Caesar showed, there were not enough special services for public figures.

 However, there were many slaves in Rome.  They were of curse restrained by not only Roman laws but also physical forces of their masters.  It means that although there were not many soldiers working as policemen in Rome, each free citizen was armed with swords, knives, etc.  Essentially, individuals in the Roman Empire had to protect themselves by themselves.  And, they had to suppress and manage their slaves first by their individual forces, although the Roman authority would send soldiers to suppress slaves who beat their masters and ran away.

In addition, the Roman Empire was not reluctant to give Roman citizenship to members of foreign tribes or ex-slaves taken to Rome after wars.  But, in Rome, order and peace were maintained not only by laws or the police forces but also by armed individual citizens and their will to maintain order and peace.

In other words, criminals could not be so easily arrested or punished by the Roman authority unless they had gathered to form a formidable force to which Roman troops must be mobilized to suppress it.

Originally, Rome was built by members of a tribe.  Order and peace were kept in Rome, because Romans had to fight in unity against other tribes and external forces for survival.  So, nobody in the tribe wanted a state of anarchy through violence and crimes.  No police was needed.  Basically, individuals should protect themselves with their own arms in peace time.

But as Rome became a center of the ancient Europe, many members of other tribes were brought to Rome as slaves, guests, or Roman citizens.  But the social system didn't change much.  Order and peace in peace time must be secured by individuals with their own arms.

This state of the Roman society allowed many criminals to perform crimes without being arrested or punished if they did not challenge the Roman authority.  So, ancient Rome or other cities in the Empire were full of petty crimes.

So, it is very natural for poor or weak Roman citizens and slaves or ex-slaves accepted Christianity, a religion of peace, to save themselves from violence and crimes.  Christian citizens could trust other Christian citizens.  They gathered, communicated, and kept contact with one another to protect themselves from violence and crimes being commonly observed in Rome and other cities in the Empire.

This must be one of reasons why Christianity could establish it in ancient Rome and the Roman Empire.

So, put extremely without fear of misunderstanding, we might be allowed to think if in America today there is only a small number of policemen, and order and peace of the society or communities are depended on armed individuals, Christianity should prevail more in a more serious manner.  

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Luk 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.