"The Persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire"
Christian persecution was a dramatic part of early church history.
Christian persecution started with Jesus himself. He was asked
directly at trial, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
His first two words were "I am." The religious leaders in Jerusalem
knew what Jesus was saying. It was very clear to them that He was
claiming to be God. Jesus was put to death on the cross for
the crime of blasphemy, thus becoming the first victim for what
would become the Christian Church.
The persecution of Christians by the Romans was not a constant
policy that was enforced the same way by every Roman provincial
governor or government official. Most of the time, Christians were
tolerated but were viewed as strange and somewhat antisocial by
most of the Roman people. The Roman gods were actually a part of
the state religion, and it was thought that they must be worshipped
regularly in order for the Romans to have victory in war and
prosperity at home.
It was considered a roman's patriotic duty to
sacrifice regularly to Jupiter, Mars, Juno, Vesta, and leave
offerings out for the household gods, the Lares and Penates. The
Christians, on the other hand, believed in one God and worship Him
in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Romans believed
that the favor of the gods was necessary to the security of the state;
the Christians were believed to be not only sinful and anti-religious
but unpatriotic as well. Christians refused to serve in the army
because they might have to kill other human beings and thus violate
the commandments of Christ. Some Christians refused to hold
government posts, engage in trade, or loan money because
they saw these actions...