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Featured How did Christianity kill longstanding paganism in Europe?

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by Jonathan Bailey, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Jonathan Bailey

    Jonathan Bailey Active Member

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    What was the driving force or motivation for Europe to mostly come to Jesus following the fall of Rome?

    How did Christ eventually hook European culture which was widespread pagan/polytheistic for thousands of years?

    It's ironic that the Catholic Church would be founded in Rome since Rome herself crucified Christ.
     
  2. lostwanderingsoul

    lostwanderingsoul Well-Known Member

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    Actually the early church welcomed pagans bt accepting many of their customs and beliefs. Many believe Constantine converted to Christianity and brought most of Europe to be Christian. Actually Constantine kept mostof his pagan beliefs and brought them into the church. So pagans gladly accepted these ideas because they were what they alreaady believed. The people who were hurt were the true Christians who believed what Jesus taught. They were forced to accept these pagan ideas or face death because Constantine demanded his people to follow these pagan beliefs or be killed.
     
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  3. Jonathan Bailey

    Jonathan Bailey Active Member

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    It sounds like Constantine had a lot of clout in his day. It sounds like religion was forced onto people according to the faith of the rulers over them. It seems like religion was once established by governments, a far cry from the American First Amendment. Why is America mainly Christian? The Pilgrims brought Christian traditions from England and the Colonists acquired the faith from Europe. King Henry VIII, a Catholic converted to Protestant, made buggery a capital offense in England. Why homophobia and Christianity go so hand in hand seems odd since Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the bible and there is no commandment against it.
     
    #3 Jonathan Bailey, Apr 6, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  4. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    2 processes: bottom-up, and top-down

    Christianity spread organically to some extent, for example the Roman Empire was about 7-10% Christian pre-Constantine.

    The other process was based on leaders and elites converting so their people became Christians by default. Traditional pagan religions lost their main source of income which was redirected into promoting Christianity instead so temples disappeared to be replaced by Churches. Over many generations, traditional beliefs died out or were assimilated into Christian practice.
     
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  5. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @lostwanderingsoul hit the nail on the head. The church apostatized from the teachings of the Christ and introduced all the things that the pagans loved by just changing their name. This apostasy was foretold by Jesus and his apostles. (Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-42; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

    By the 4th century, Christianity had become a weak shadow of its former self, so when Constantine stepped in to unite his divided empire, he tried to appeal to all his subjects. As long as it sounded "Christian", it was fine for the 'Christians', and as long as it allowed their favorite pagan festivals and beliefs, the heathens didn't mind either. It became a truly "Catholic" (universal) religion....but unfortunately it didn't resemble the faith that Jesus espoused at all.

    Once the church gained power it ravaged the people with threats of hellfire and torture at the hands of the Grand Inquisitor. There was much blood on the hands of the church. (Isaiah 1:15) Many were "converted" at the point of a sword.

    Constantine was a pagan his whole life, feigning Christianity whilst sacrificing to Zeus. He was not even baptized until on his deathbed....hardly someone you want to organize the doctrines of a Christian church.

    The church held a rather ruthless dominion over Europe for 1500 years until Luther posted his thesis on the church door. Protestantism resulted, but many Catholic teachings went with them. Rather than unite Christianity and bring it all together, it just splintered into more and more bickering sects.....and the rest as they say, is history.
     
  6. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    A lot of violence was used, not something Jesus would have approved.

    Northern Crusades - Wikipedia

    Paganism isn't really gone either, they were still trying to eradicate it before it started growing again with the internet.
     
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  7. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    This wasn't uncommon at the time due to the belief it washed away all sins. It made sense to delay baptism until as late as possible, particularly if you were are warrior and leader who is responsible for many deaths.

    So it is not correct to infer that this shows he was a Pagan up until this point.
     
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  8. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Unfortunately your comment shows that you know as much about baptism as Constantine did. o_O
    If anyone delayed getting baptized because they thought they could sin with impunity until they "washed their sins away" later in life, then they were fooling themselves. Baptism was not the end of a Christian's life but the beginning. It was a public display of commitment and dedication to God to do his will first for the rest of their life.

    The apostle Peter, alluding to the waters of Noah's ark, said...."Baptism, which corresponds to this, (Noah and his family being saved through the water) is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

    Baptism is NOT a washing away of sin.....Jesus' blood did that, (1 John 1:7) it was a presenting of oneself to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Once one was committed to Jesus, then sin was something to be avoided at all cost......so apparently a very skewed application of what baptism accomplished is still as misunderstood today as it was back then. No Christian can be a warrior and take human life as if God sanctions murder. No amount of baptism makes up for deliberate unrepentant sin.

    Constantine's baptism was meaningless.....just like infant baptism is today.
     
  9. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Whether a 21st C Jehovah's Witness sees it as theologically correct or not makes little difference regarding what beliefs were prevalent in the 4th C. When discussing actual history, your personal theology is remarkably unimportant.

    So you can think he will go to hell or whatever tickles your fancy, but inferring that delaying baptism signified he viewed himself as Pagan up until that point is wrong.
     
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  10. England my lionheart

    England my lionheart Rockerjahili Rebel
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    In the UK the Romans had already wiped out the druids so when the missionary's came from Rome they set up places of worship near pagan sites,then the pope sanctioned Kings or not,original mafoa really.
     
  11. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Dont forget to buy your grandkids Eostre eggs
     
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  12. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I suspect mainly it was propelled by ideas like forgiveness and universal peace.

    By the way Christianity never killed paganism but sought the glory of God in it. What I think is that it did teach that there was one God, but it didn't deny either that divinity was omnipresent. It wasn't directly counter to beliefs that people had, so they would adopt Christianity and adapt their symbolism into it.

    It is not so ironic considering how bloodthirsty the Roman empire is. Bloody deaths are virtues of Rome, but what really changes is the story of Rome. The differences are more subtle than ironic, and it seems a shifting away from bloodletting. Instead of glory for an empire and giving their lives for the empire citizens begin to focus on glory of another kind, but they aren't in denial of their bloody past.

    The deconstruction of the empire into feudal states is one of the sad parts of the story. I think of feudalism as a huge press that just crushes and ruins Europe. Europe goes backward culturally, many of the good things about Rome are lost. Roads fall into decay. Medicine and Sciences are abandoned and forgotten. Most people become ignorant and superstitious and are legally required to remain on the property owned by their lords. Ignorance keeps a feudal system working and is an important part of it. Call it managed ignorance.
     
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  13. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    The act of baptism was the beginning of a Christians life not the end. Baptism, unless a person is genuine in his reasons for getting baptized, and making a concerted effort to refrain from sin, is relying on the act itself to accomplish something that is not in his heart. Constantine was a pagan until the day he died. What happens to him after that is God's affair.
     
  14. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Based on your personal theology, rather than his actual beliefs or how he viewed himself. Unfortunately for you, critical historical enquiry doesn't consider 'conformance with JW theological principles' as being a particularly important criteria when attempting to explain what actually happened.

    So unless you can give a good reason why Deeje's personal religious preferences should, in fact, be given pride of place when looking at historical events, I'll stick with my original point that it is wrong to believe Constantine delaying baptism should be interpreted as evidence he saw himself as Pagan up until then.
     
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  15. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, one way was to make the practice of paganism illegal. At the very least, this pushed paganism underground.

    Another way was the adoption of pagan rituals but oriented to Christian beliefs (Christmas replaced Saturnalia, for example). This gave a 'legitimate', but familiar alternative to paganism.

    But it is relevant to note that many pagan beliefs continued until quite late. Various aspects of the beliefs in magic, fairies, wood spirits, etc ultimately were residues of paganism. Some of these were seriously believed even after the Protestant reformation.
     
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  16. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Some still continue but under the guise of Christian ritual (or earth religions). I am thinking specifically of christmas, christmas trees and yule logs, easter celebrations, harvest celebrations
     
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  17. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Isaiah 1:15 is chastising Israel.. Read the verse in context.
     
  18. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Pagans worshipped creation not the creator.

    Consider ancient Mesopotamia.

    During the periods of Halaf (5500-4500 BC), Ubaid (5300-3750 BC) and Protoliterate (3750-2900 BC) we see incredible changes take Mesopotamia by storm. We see an [​IMG]increase in pottery design and decoration, the smelting of copper and other metals which replace stone tools and weapons, we see towns increase in size by the thousands, enhanced irrigation systems put in place, temples grow larger and higher, and fertility become a focal point of the peoples.

    During these times nearly 70% of all children under age five died, and with deaths increasing from people in battles a sense of the progression of life was focused upon.

    To the peoples of these periods, they also saw fertility as the earth giving back, and pantheons of gods and goddesses began to develop so that by 3000 BC there were over four thousand deities worshiped in the region as mankind worshiped and adored the creation instead of the true Creator.

    Abraham: From Ur to Haran
     
  19. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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