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BRIEF HISTORY
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH




 

THE APOLOGIST

The Christians, from the beginning, were persecuted because their manner of life was a condemnation of other ways of life. But no one knew this, so the pagans had to make up valid reasons for their dislike for Christianity. 

The most common reason for the persecution was violation of the law on Emperor-worship. This was, at least, a legal reason. But, later on, merely being a Christian became a crime. This was fanned by made-up rumors --  that Christians sacrificed a child covered with flour and practiced incest and cannibalism.

Later, Celsus and Porphyry launched a more intellectual attack on Christianity; they presented three arguments which were easily refuted. The first was that Christianity recruited members among the inferior social class , concentrating on gullible women and children. The second was that Christians made poor citizens, neither engaging in the affairs of the state nor in the  military defense of the nation. The third was dogmatic and intellectual in nature, i.e. how can an infinite God become finite, why did Jesus save man only now and not earlier, why do the different Christian sects fight each other?

To answer these accusations, God raised "apologists." These great saints wrote primarily for non-Christians, specially for emperors, magistrates and the elite. Few of their writings, however, remained. Justin was one of them. The apologists described Christianity as the "soul of the world, " for "Christianity alone makes our life in the world alive and meaningful." The apologists demolished one by one all the charges made against Christianity.
Answering the three accusations, the apologists showed that the first converts to Christianity were the elite, and that Christians were in all sectors of government, including the military. They further emphasized that there were no secrets in Christianity; Christians simply did things quietly. They showed that not a single Christian practice was despicable and even showed that the pagan practices were the ones that were despicable, like abortion.

Tertullian, a convert from the intelligentsia, not only praised the Christian religion, specially the courage of her martyrs, but even went so far as to attack, which angered many pagans.

 

 

 

 

 

(05-06-03)

 

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