Although he immediately declared that Christians and pagans should be allowed to worship freely, and restored property confiscated during persecutions and other lost privileges to the Christians, these measures did not mark a complete shift to a Christian style of rule.
All that to say, ancient Rome had a lot of similarities to modern-day Washington D. Nero wasted no time. On their evidence a number of Christians were convicted and put to death with dreadful cruelty.
How could an emperor subscribe to a faith which involved the worship of Jesus Christ - an executed Jewish criminal? As a result of their refusal to worship the pagan deities, Christians experienced popular abuse, intellectual condemnation, and persecution on a local and eventually statewide level.
For instance, the Gnostics promoted a secret way to the divine that vilified the flesh and contradicted the theology of the Hebrew scriptures with its own pantheon of deities, demons, and spiritual beings.
General persecutions tended to be sparked by particular events such as the fire at Rome under Nero, or during periods of particular crisis, such as the third century. In his recent book Destroyer of the godsNew Testament scholar Larry Hurtado focuses on the first of these questions.
Consider a few Christian distinctives, which are often taken for granted today: When people worship God, Christians claimed they should withdraw from worshipping the gods of their families, cities, and peoples.
Christians were first, and horribly, targeted for persecution as a group by the emperor Nero in 64 AD. He supported the Church financially, had an extraordinary number of basilicas built, granted privileges e. Although not an ally of this minority, Severus still saved their lives from a brutal demise at least once in his reign.
Conflict In addition to persecution from outside sources, there is also ample evidence that specific groups of Christians within Rome experience conflict.