How did Christianity persecute polytheism?

Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
The violence and repression of all paganism was intense for centuries. The public mob murder of the philosopher Hypatia in Alexandria is exemplary of this.

Over the centuries the Church progressively attacked all vestiges of paganism, which policy includes the witch burnings which were designed to eradicate the vestiges of pagan practices manifested in the healing practices of rural women.

Once a people were converted, they still were subject to extensive vigilance and persecution for any "heresy" or reversion to pagan thinking or practices.

The destruction of pagan temples or their conversion to churches resembles very much what Muslims did in India to Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines.

All of this bloody repression was not put aside by the Protestants; they continued the same practices. John Calvin himself presided over some very gruesome torture-executions of "heretics".
 

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Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,602
Florania
The violence and repression of all paganism was intense for centuries. The public mob murder of the philosopher Hypatia in Alexandria is exemplary of this.

Over the centuries the Church progressively attacked all vestiges of paganism, which policy includes the witch burnings which were designed to eradicate the vestiges of pagan practices manifested in the healing practices of rural women.

Once a people were converted, they still were subject to extensive vigilance and persecution for any "heresy" or reversion to pagan thinking or practices.

The destruction of pagan temples or their conversion to churches resembles very much what Muslims did in India to Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines.

All of this bloody repression was not put aside by the Protestants; they continued the same practices. John Calvin himself presided over some very gruesome torture-executions of "heretics".
Why have the two Abrahamic cults been so gory in the medieval era? For Islam, even if the majority of Muslims is non-violent, violent passages are found in both the Yahweh Anthology and the Koran.
 
Aug 2018
274
America
The violence and repression of all paganism was intense for centuries. The public mob murder of the philosopher Hypatia in Alexandria is exemplary of this.

Over the centuries the Church progressively attacked all vestiges of paganism, which policy includes the witch burnings which were designed to eradicate the vestiges of pagan practices manifested in the healing practices of rural women.

Once a people were converted, they still were subject to extensive vigilance and persecution for any "heresy" or reversion to pagan thinking or practices.

The destruction of pagan temples or their conversion to churches resembles very much what Muslims did in India to Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines.

All of this bloody repression was not put aside by the Protestants; they continued the same practices. John Calvin himself presided over some very gruesome torture-executions of "heretics".
I don't know about Hindus and Buddhists but to say that Hypatia is exemplary is complete hogwash. Hypatia is exceptional, not exemplary, and you will be hard-pressed to find any other example like her. Meanwhile, Diocletian killed upwards to 3,000 Christians, and Nero and Decius each killed dozens at least, with their brutal forms of execution (crucifixion, burning at the stake or in games, as in the case of Saint Perpetua). Hardly that number of pagans were executed under Christian emperors.

Nor do we find destruction of temples. Indeed, only example I can find is the destruction of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria after a minor pagan insurrection (where pagans were mostly incarcerated rather than executed, though I may be wrong here) and the temple wasn't even completely destroyed, only part of it, with the surviving portion becoming a church. Many temples were in fact not destroyed but converted to churches, a famous example being the Parthenon which was converted to a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Other temples were not destroyed, they were merely abandoned and were gradually quarried over the centuries for other construction projects, not just churches but other types of buildings too.

To say witch burnings have any continuity with pagan persecution is also utterly ridiculous. Witch burnings (and in fact, this term is inaccurate, since a huge proportion of witches were hanged rather than burned) were an early modern phenomenon a millennium removed from the disappearance of Greco-Roman religion and centuries removed from the disappearance of other European paganisms, and were far more related to the wars between Protestants and Catholics than any attempt at extirpating pagan remnants that Christians tolerated throughout the entirety of the Middle Ages without raising a ruckus.

Of course, it's true that this is what Christian witch persecutors claimed, but by then, pretty much everyone was a Christian and the only persecutions were against Muslims, Jews and heretical Christians like the Cathars. The Reformation and the ensuing wars of religion is what caused the vast majority of witch persecutions and they would not have occurred had that not happened. Witch persecutions occurred occasionally in the Middle Ages as well, but they were so uncommon that they're insignificant and, again, have nothing to do with extirpating "paganism".

Why have the two Abrahamic cults been so gory in the medieval era? For Islam, even if the majority of Muslims is non-violent, violent passages are found in both the Yahweh Anthology and the Koran.
They weren't any more gory than other religions. Try explaining why the pagan and polytheistic Indians and Chinese also engaged in wars that killed thousands at a given time and possessed war gods whom soldiers and generals prayed to. Also, as Joseph Massad says, people should stop using the term "Abrahamic" due to its anti-Semitic overtones.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
I use the expression "Abrahamic religions", and have no intention of stopping. However, I'll point out the bleedin' obvious that it can hardly be "anti-Semitic", ie anti Jewish, and of the three Abrahamic religions, the Jews are the only ones without blood on their hands, and do not engage in rigorously spreading their religion, as the other two do, and have in the past at the point of a sword, or scimitar. Calling it Abrahamic is, I think, apart from being factual, is being kind, not insulting.
 
Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
I don't know about Hindus and Buddhists but to say that Hypatia is exemplary is complete hogwash. Hypatia is exceptional, not exemplary, and you will be hard-pressed to find any other example like her. Meanwhile, Diocletian killed upwards to 3,000 Christians, and Nero and Decius each killed dozens at least, with their brutal forms of execution (crucifixion, burning at the stake or in games, as in the case of Saint Perpetua). Hardly that number of pagans were executed under Christian emperors.

Nor do we find destruction of temples. Indeed, only example I can find is the destruction of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria after a minor pagan insurrection (where pagans were mostly incarcerated rather than executed, though I may be wrong here) and the temple wasn't even completely destroyed, only part of it, with the surviving portion becoming a church. Many temples were in fact not destroyed but converted to churches, a famous example being the Parthenon which was converted to a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Other temples were not destroyed, they were merely abandoned and were gradually quarried over the centuries for other construction projects, not just churches but other types of buildings too.

To say witch burnings have any continuity with pagan persecution is also utterly ridiculous. Witch burnings (and in fact, this term is inaccurate, since a huge proportion of witches were hanged rather than burned) were an early modern phenomenon a millennium removed from the disappearance of Greco-Roman religion and centuries removed from the disappearance of other European paganisms, and were far more related to the wars between Protestants and Catholics than any attempt at extirpating pagan remnants that Christians tolerated throughout the entirety of the Middle Ages without raising a ruckus.

Of course, it's true that this is what Christian witch persecutors claimed, but by then, pretty much everyone was a Christian and the only persecutions were against Muslims, Jews and heretical Christians like the Cathars. The Reformation and the ensuing wars of religion is what caused the vast majority of witch persecutions and they would not have occurred had that not happened. Witch persecutions occurred occasionally in the Middle Ages as well, but they were so uncommon that they're insignificant and, again, have nothing to do with extirpating "paganism".



They weren't any more gory than other religions. Try explaining why the pagan and polytheistic Indians and Chinese also engaged in wars that killed thousands at a given time and possessed war gods whom soldiers and generals prayed to. Also, as Joseph Massad says, people should stop using the term "Abrahamic" due to its anti-Semitic overtones.
This is largely inaccurate. The Romans destroyed many pagan temples, often by simply prohibiting any funds be allocated for repairs, forbidding pagans from holding any govt positions, and so on. Many simply crumbled due to disrepair and disuse.

Christian Rome killed FAR more pagans than Pagan Rome had killed Christians. Murders of prominent pagans occurred many times. Hypatia was simply the best-known example.

Paganism was not tolerated in Medieval times. There was a progressive destruction of it. The "witch burnings" were indeed part and parcel of the process. They represented its extension into rural areas to a greater extent than previously.

There never has been a complete disappearance of paganism in Europe. Like its persecution by Christian institutions, it shows continuity from Roman to modern times, except that as time passed it was made progressively rarer and weaker. And the persecution of pagans continues even today, as when someone is fired from a job by a Christian boss in the USA for being exposed as a pagan.

Women were often killed as "witches" for practicing healing arts. That certainly is most literally an extirpation of paganism, as that medical knowledge all derived from the pagan context, while approved orthodox Medicine was based on Galen.

It was in Medieval times that the Teutonic Knights were abusing the Baltic people for being pagan, yet you wish us to believe that elsewhere in Europe paganism was tolerated, that there was no official Church program to eradicate it?

Agree that the term "Abrahamic" is not accurate, as the problems with Islam and Christianity are not rooted in its Judaic influences but in the crafting of both of those "religions" as imperial cults. Christianity as we know it is a Roman creation, not a Jewish one. And Islam was simply an improved Arab version of the same. Notice that in all the countries which became "Arab", the religion prior to the Arab conquest had been Christianity. If anything, both Christianity and Islamic should be called "Roman", not "Abrahamic".
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Calling it the "Roman religion" doesn't work. What exactly is this religion? what do people think it will mean when confronted with this term. In the first instance they will probably think it refers to Roman Catholicism. Otherwise they may think it refers to the polytheism of ancient Rome. We have Abrahamic, and we all know what it means, and I for one have never thought, or come across any instance, of it being anti-semitic. This sounds like yet more pc garbage.
 
Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
Calling it the "Roman religion" doesn't work. What exactly is this religion? what do people think it will mean when confronted with this term. In the first instance they will probably think it refers to Roman Catholicism. Otherwise they may think it refers to the polytheism of ancient Rome. We have Abrahamic, and we all know what it means, and I for one have never thought, or come across any instance, of it being anti-semitic. This sounds like yet more pc garbage.
"pc" is a nonsense term used by the right to debunk anything coming from liberals. It has no place in a discussion of history.

In fact, the religion in question, if we're speaking of the early days of Christianity as the official imperial cult, was precisely Roman Catholicism! And all the other extant mainstream sects of Christianity, from Orthodox to Methodist, are Trinitarian, which is to say Nicaean! Nicaea, the site of the council at which Roman Christianity was codified. All Nicaean Trinitarian Christianity is therefore Roman! I certainly can find no Trinity such as this in Judaism...

Calling Christianity and Islam "Abrahamic" is indeed antisemitic, as it passes the blame for the severe flaws of those 2 religions on to Judaism! But we don't see Jewish religious people conducting jihads or Crusades, now, do we...
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
"pc" is a nonsense term used by the right to debunk anything coming from liberals. It has no place in a discussion of history.

In fact, the religion in question, if we're speaking of the early days of Christianity as the official imperial cult, was precisely Roman Catholicism! And all the other extant mainstream sects of Christianity, from Orthodox to Methodist, are Trinitarian, which is to say Nicaean! Nicaea, the site of the council at which Roman Christianity was codified. All Nicaean Trinitarian Christianity is therefore Roman! I certainly can find no Trinity such as this in Judaism...

Calling Christianity and Islam "Abrahamic" is indeed antisemitic, as it passes the blame for the severe flaws of those 2 religions on to Judaism! But we don't see Jewish religious people conducting jihads or Crusades, now, do we...
When confronted by pc I will call it out, and will not accept any attempt to control language, the tool of totalitarianism, these days hiding under the name of "liberal". You can call the Abrahamic religions anything you want, you can call them George or Alice or Humbug, I don't give a damn, but don't try and impose your world view on me or anybody else.

And I'll repeat that I have never in my life heard it said that the expression "Abrahamic religion/faith" was anti-semitic, this is the sort of crap dreamt up by people with no real work to do and a devious mind.
 
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Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
When confronted by pc I will call it out, and will not accept any attempt to control language, the tool of totalitarianism, these days hiding under the name of "liberal". You can call the Abrahamic religions anything you want, you can call them George or Alice or Humbug, I don't give a damn, but don't try and impose your world view on me or anybody else.

And I'll repeat that I have never in my life heard it said that the expression "Abrahamic religion/faith" was anti-semitic, this is the sort of crap dreamt up by people with no real work to do and a devious mind.
You're verging into insults, which I attempt to ignore as I feel that on a history forum we ought to maintain some sort of academic decorum.

pc is an invented term, created by the Right, and it is from modern politics and has NO meaning in an academic context! And don't accuse me of totalitarianism, as you are obviously coming from the Right, the cradle of totalitarianism.

It is very legitimate to question the labels we use for things. Many of the labels are problematic, either rooted in the bigotry of the past, or simply superceded by more recent knowledge. An example of a label which doesn't work: Caucasian for white people (they did not come from the Caucasus!).

You in fact are the anti-intellectual playing the game of controlling words and discourse, by neglecting to engage in any reasonable argument, but demonizing and name-calling. That is how the Right seeks to control intellectual life, simply finger-point and wail at any truth which contradicts their twisted world view.

Nope, that academic fascism doesn't wash anywhere, so stop using it on me.

My postings are not "crap", as you claim. But your prevarications most definitely are.