When Christianity first began did people have to change their religion to become a Christian? If so how did that come about?


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ZombieE Lee Profile
ZombieE Lee answered

From the point of view of the Romans Christianity started out as a cult branch of Judaism. Christianity spread the same way all early religions did. They used Roman roads to spread the message throughout the Roman empire and Middle East. Of course the first and only converts for the first couple hundred years were poor people because the idea of rewards in the afterlife sounded awesome to poor people. 

At first Rome turned the other eye but after Christians started doing things that seemed unpatriotic to the Romans, such as refusing to pay tribute to the emperor or praying to the Roman gods, Roman authorities began to get frustrated with Christians. Although the exact numbers are largely exaggerated today, a few Christians were thrown in Colosseums for sport but not as many as you'd think. Christians were blamed for a lot of Rome's misfortune such as the time Rome's capital caught on fire. Everybody blamed Christians for the fire and many people of the time believed that the Christians purposely started the fire to kill nonbelievers but many modern Historians think that Nero might have actually been the one to start it. Christians still spread their religion to the poorer citizens in Rome's backallys and ghettos. 

After a while though as more and more citizens became Christians Rome tried to become politically correct and became overly complacent to Christian's demands. They allowed Christians to refuse military service. After the emperor himself became Christian he made a Roman version of Christianity (in other words "sugarcoated version") the state religion. He allowed Christians to refuse worship of foreign gods. Now it wasn't just the poor who were targeted for conversion. Many pagans and non-Christians suddenly experienced hardship as a Romanized version of the faith took hold. Polytheists were forced to convert or killed. Pagans were discriminated against. Now the peaceful religion that Rome once saw as a backwater version of Judaism was the strongest faith in the west. 

However, their non-Christian neighbors had it pretty rough as the religious powers of Rome began cutting off ties with non-Christian peoples. To answer you're question peacefully, Christianity gained followers at first by targeting the poorer citizens of society. Later on they gained followers by the sword of Rome. There are exceptions to the rule. St. Patrick gained followers peacefully in Ireland and Egypt gained followers peacefully enough during Rome's reign. But for the most part, after the rise and fall of Christian Rome, the mindset was "convert or shut-up". I just realized how big this answer is. You probably won't read this /:

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ZombieE Lee
ZombieE Lee commented
He isn't asking about a prophecy. He's asking why people converted to Christianity in the first place
Ty Hibb
Ty Hibb commented
What you answered is a conversion to apostasy. What Jesus left to be followed was not followed. Calling it Christianity is where the problem lies. That's why the point about apostasy had to be mentioned. How else can there be so many "Christian beliefs" John 4:23,24
ZombieE Lee
ZombieE Lee commented
I'm just telling the history of people that call themselves Christians. You realize that the way we worship today is all related to how the Romans spread Christianity. I'm just telling it like it is. If you don't like it then I'm sorry. This is the last that I'm going to talk about it. I'm actually not even sure what we are talking about right now but I'm finished. Have a good day (:
Moga Deet Profile
Moga Deet answered

One of the earliest debates in Christianity had to do with who could become a Christian.  Some felt that Jesus was the Messiah and that the religion was a fulfillment of Judaism and that followers must first become Jews.  Paul espoused the view (in Galatians, as I recall) that Christianity was open to all.

St. Thomas (of the doubting Thomas fame) is credited with spreading Christianity to India where the church still has features of Hinduism, such as the caste system.  Constantine is credited as being the first emperor to convert from the Roman religious tradition (Jupiter and those guys) to Christianity.  When Julian become emperor later, he tried to return Roman to its traditional religious practices.

Elaine Pagels is a history from Princeton University who writes a lot about early Christianity.  She is a good writer and you can probably find her books in the library. 

There were a lot of crazy Christian sects and their beliefs are very interesting.  Read about Carpocrates of Alexandria!

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Ty Hibb
Ty Hibb commented
What you described is not Christianity but the apostasy that Bible warned would come after the death of the apostles.
2Thess 2:3, Acts 20:30, 2Pet 2:1, 3

What religion were the first Christians before they became Christian?

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