Why has Christianity piggy backed empires? - DFWstangs Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Why has Christianity piggy backed empires?

Here's a line of thought I have held for some time. It seem to me that Christianity has spread around the world due to it's infusion with empires and conquerors. It's like the armies show up first, whoop all ass, then priest file in behind them and teach Christianity. The two seem to coexist pretty well throughout history. Even the principle of separation of church and state seem to be born out of this coexistence. Maybe there are several historical example I have missed out on, which show Christians standing up and holding their local conquest seekers in check. The whole relationship just seems like hypocrisy to me.

So, it's starts off with the Jews. However, they turn out to be pretty lousy conquers as soon as they face a large empire. So, the Jews change teams to make Christians. The Christians get in with the Romans and the big conquests get underway. I guess you get a little break, till Medieval Europe. So you end up with pretty much all of Europe. Then the empires hit the ocean. Now you've got colonialism which defeats North America, South America, Africa, and Australia. The only people of the world able to hold their own have been Asia and the Middle East.

As a whole it just seems like the "ungodly" did as they pleased conquering the world and the "righteous" just rode their coat tail, cosigned their actions and reaped all the benefits.

How do you see this relationship between conquers and the spread of Christianity? Obviously it worked, but do the ends justify the means?

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 04:34 PM
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Well, Christianity starts with persecution not with an empire supporting it. Jesus was put to death and Stephan was put to death in the Acts of the Apostles. The Sanhedrin actively killed Christians. Despite the killing of Christians, Christianity grew. Christians were persecuted by the Romans long before it was legalized under Constantine in 313 and then made the state religion under Theodosius I in 380.

So Christianity spread for ~ 270 years under persecution than for over 60 years before it was any official state religion. By this time, it had spread across the Mediterranean world, across Spain and into France, down to Ethiopia, to Persia and even some remote parts of India.

While the official religion of Rome, it spread into Ireland under Patrick. This was purely missionary work since the Roman Empire did not have any power there and there were no trade routes.

Christianity’s spread into Germany and Scandinavia was slow since it was missionary and not imperial, although individual kings backed Christianity along the way. German Christianity got a boost under Charlemagne and his sons so this is some imperialism spread during the Dark Ages.

During the Crusades (opening a can or worms) the Franciscans traveled deep into modern-day Iraq, far from the Christian armies and made contact with Caldean Christians.

During the 15th century forward, Christianity is going to follow the colonies since that is where the boats are going. Francis Xavier followed the trading routes to Asia because the traders/colonies/empires determined the known world yet he baptized tens of thousands without an army behind him.

In a nut shell,
- Yes, the spread of Christianity was helped by the backing of governments, but it also spread without it.
- It was also necessary to follow the colonies/traders or navies/armies since that was the only mode of travel until recently.

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Last edited by Brain_Mach1; 01-08-2008 at 05:04 PM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 07:34 AM
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If you ask me, the fact that the world would conquer places, then Christianity would spead and get into the government structure sounds like the ultimate plan for world domination or something like that, and it sounds extremely smart. This way, Christians basically aren't the ones doing the heavy-lifting. Instead, the world is doing the heavy-lifting, then the Christians are casually coming in behind them through missionary work or through the spread of believers living in these countries. So, the Christians let the world empires do their thing, as you do, and then the belief conveniently spreads into that new empire. It's incredibly smart. This way Christians generally are not the ones associated with conquest, but they still rule empires.

It's almost sounds like you resent Christians for being so smart. Or would it be that you resent God for being so clever as to spread His word in this way. It's is a principle in the Bible that God's people reap where they have not sown, and get homes they did not build. For instance, the Hebrews are enslaved by Egypt for 390 years, ending with 10 plagues and the Egyptian empire PAYING the Hebrews TONS of their wealth just to get them to leave. So the enemy paid God's people money they didn't make as sort of a payback for all the suffering God's people went through at their hand. Then, when these people go into the promised land, God tells them to run the people out and take their houses they didn't build, because well, God gave them this land, and you win land and countries by conquest. They did so and reaped what they had not sown. It's just a principle in the Bible that the enemy always has to pay for what he's done to God's people.

So, it is fairly typical that God's people will move into positions of power and take over throughout history. God IS quite clever like that, you know?

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