How did Christianity persecute polytheism?

Oct 2018
1,690
Sydney
'Abrahamic religion' is a term that denotes religions that stem from the Tanakh, that is, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not everyone who employs the term is using it to discuss religious violence, and so the term is not inherently implying that religious violence should be laid at the feet of Judaism. Rather, the term simply acknowledges the lines of derivation and the relatedness between these religions, with the God of Abram being a commonality between the three religions. The term is a useful one, whether you want to discuss theological matters, social views, or indeed religious violence (in which case the Tanakh is indeed relevant, since it helps to justify religious violence in relation to idolatry, sacred warfare [the wars against Canaan], etc). So I will not cease using the term myself.

As for the term 'Roman religion' as a substitute, it would a) fail to be a substitute, since it would not include Judaism, which is indeed a related religion for which thinking about derivation and comparisons are useful, b) it would indeed create confusion in relation to Roman Catholicism, a distinct form of Christianity (noting that surviving Christian sects stem from the Council of Nicaea does not mitigate the likelihood of confusion), and c) it would indeed create confusion with Roman polytheism.
 
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Aug 2018
337
America
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.
Closing temples is not destroying them. This is truly a hilariously stupid statement. At best, and I'm being generous here, one can agree that letting them crumble like you say can constitute destruction, but by this logic Christians were intolerant against themselves due to God knows how many Christian churches were abandoned and left to crumble. Fact is, when people say "destruction", they mean the violent devastation and crumbling in one sweep attack of the temple, like Cortés's destruction of the Aztec temples in Tenochtitlan, or Germaicus's destruction of the temple of Tamfana, or the Ostrogoths destruction of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Those are actual examples of destruction. In the Christian case against the Romans, the only example of anything like this is the destruction of the Temple of Serapis, and that is a partial one that was done because pagan rebels violently rose up and used the temple as their fort.




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.

I like how you don't put a single example to back up any of this.





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.
There was never a complete disappearance of paganism because Christians largely tolerated it contrary to your assumptions. Why do you think those same women were practicing healing arts as late as the 17th century if medieval Christians were these intolerant totalitarians persecuting them brutally? The only exception where this toleration wasn't practised was in the Teutonic rampages of the Baltics, but you will be hard pressed to find other examples (Charlemagne's Verdun massacre is one that loser, no life Wiccans and other neopagans, many neo-Nazis, love to give as an example, but that was in reality a battle or at least a mass execution of rebels instead of non-combatant innocents, similar to that of Spartacus's rebels by Crassus, rebels who were largely Christianised and rose up not because of Christianisation but because they didn't want the Franks to rule over them). Now, one can make a difference between persecution of pagans and persecution for accusations of paganism. Christians in the early modern era (not the medieval one, where persecution of witches barely happened), mostly in the Thirty Years' War, did the latter (persecution for accusations of paganism), not the former (persecution of pagans).


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?
Yes, but like I said above, you will be hard pressed to find any other example of mass violence by Christians against pagans. The Teutonic conquest of the Baltics is the only example of this, really.
 
Oct 2018
1,690
Sydney
Pagans oppressed Christians. Christians oppressed pagans. Neither of these are controversial statements. Christians could be executed if they refused to sacrifice to the emperor's chosen deity or refused to hand over texts that they deemed sacred. For pagans, blood sacrifice was banned (a major part of their religion), certain pagan writings were banned (such as those of Porphyry), certain temples were destroyed (as early as Constantine we know of the destruction of temples in Jerusalem, Heliopolis, Aphaca, Aegeae and Mamre, as well as those in Byzantium), temple treasures were confiscated, eventually other public displays of paganism were banned (with temples abandoned as a result), and eventually philosophical schools were closed.
 
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johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,760
Cornwall
Yes, but like I said above, you will be hard pressed to find any other example of mass violence by Christians against pagans. The Teutonic conquest of the Baltics is the only example of this, really.
Apart from the Agotes in the Pyrenees

Or the indigenous 'moros' in the New World

or............................

Incidentally the Christians were known in Almohad times at least (12th/13th) centuries as the 'polytheists'. Sort of comes from the one true God as opposed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit I think. Same sort of thing as the Arianism/Roman Catholic argument
 
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
Constantine I. stopped the persecution of christians and soon gave them also the rank of some kind of favoured religion, but he was not baptized before his deathbed. According to early christian beliefs he thought he could not be a good christian and also an emperor of Rome. To avoid going to hell as he thought he decided that he would rather became a christian at the end of his life. Christianity as state religion in Roman empire was introduced by Theodosius I. around 380. However pagan rituals were banned but pagan beliefs were not banned and pagans slowly became christians, because it was better for them. Under some emperors conversions were even rewarded but on the other hand if you remained pagan you should pay higher taxes and you were excluded from any important job. However in cities christianity was very popular at that time already in 4. century because they introduced hospitals, public kitchens and other social services. You had pagan Roman senators also under Theodosius I. and some time after him.

Yet Roman christian rulers and also church rulers knew that people were not very deeply christian. When they banned for example very popular gladiator games, they decided at the same time that people can watch wild animals killing each other in arena instead of humans killing humans. Or allowed sacrifices of animals to christian God and saints. For the time being until people after a few generation will become more rooted in christianity. The remains of this you can still see today. You have a quite pagan rooted carnivals and immediately after them church ordered fasting days.

The most big persecution of pagans by christians was of course in Latin America with Spanish conquest.

Church history book number 1, published in Ljubljana in 1988.

Bede a history of the english church and people, published in UK in 1955
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,634
Republika Srpska
The Christian Bishops praised the mob, asserting that they had "done the work of God" in murdering Hypatia.
What? Socrates Scholasticus condemned the mob, calling Hypatia's murder an act completely unacceptable for Christians. He used these words:
"Surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort."
The first author to explicitly draw attention to Hypatia's religion was John of Nikiu who lived centuries after the murder.
 
Aug 2018
337
America
Apart from the Agotes in the Pyrenees

Or the indigenous 'moros' in the New World

or............................

Incidentally the Christians were known in Almohad times at least (12th/13th) centuries as the 'polytheists'. Sort of comes from the one true God as opposed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit I think. Same sort of thing as the Arianism/Roman Catholic argument
I'm talking exclusively of Europe as if that wasn't clear (heck, I mentioned the example of Cortés, showing I clearly only mean inside of Europe). Cagots, if that's what you mean, seem to have been shunned for national and political reasons rather than for being pagan, since they were as Christian as everyone else.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,760
Cornwall
I'm talking exclusively of Europe as if that wasn't clear (heck, I mentioned the example of Cortés, showing I clearly only mean inside of Europe). Cagots, if that's what you mean, seem to have been shunned for national and political reasons rather than for being pagan, since they were as Christian as everyone else.
Well they weren't, it was for religious reasons. They weren't Christian, they worshipped the wood Gods

As Spain was at the time the most 'Christian' of all, and Spain is in Europe as far as I know, I would have thought their persecution of indigenous Americans was relevant