Said of Early Christians

Sir James Jeans in his book The Growth of Physical Science said of the early Christians;

“Their citizenship was in heaven, their life here only a preparation for a future life elsewhere, so that they saw the world of matter only as a prison-house, and the vault of heaven only as a veil; both were transitory and utterly insignificant in comparison to what lay beyond. Within a lifetime of some of them, a day was to come when the stars would fall from heaven, and the sky be rolled back like a scroll to reveal a Judge seated on his Throne.”

In C. E. Raven’s Science, Religion and the Future he wrote, “Then God whom Jesus had declared to be the loving Father would change his character, reverting to the ferocity and tyranny of Old Testament habits; even Jesus himself who had once prayed `Father forgive them` would now lay aside mercy and deal out justice and vengeance: sinners for whom he had formerly sought as a shepherd for his lost sheep would now be flung into hell and there would suffer endless flames and torments, a spectacle to increase the beatitude of heaven.”
Tertullian had written: “How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold…so many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot flames with their deluded scholars.”

What would it profit a man on that last day of wrath that he had spent laborious years in examining how the bars of the prison-house were made, or in studying the heavenly veil that had already passed away? Surely it was better to prepare for the judgment to come.

Holding such beliefs, the Christians could hardly be sympathetic to the study of science, especially as many of them were narrow fanatics; their religion was their all and, unlike the paganism it was supplanting, it knew nothing of tolerance or of magnanimity towards those of other opinions. This mattered little at first, for the Christians were few and uninfluential.

Even at the beginning of the fourth century, only a small fraction of the population was Christian; (or a fifth according to Bury in History of the Later Roman Empire.) the pagan writers barely mentioned their existence, even great moralists such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius either passing them over in silence or speaking of them with contempt.

Then came the year 312, a landmark in human history, when Constantine the Great, the illegitimate son of a Roman officer and a Serbian housekeeper, who had been elected Emperor of Rome by the Army in the field, suddenly embraced the Christian religion.

In 390 the pagan religion was forbidden by edict throughout the empire, save in out of the way country places, where the simple villagers would still assemble to sing hymns and offer modest sacrifices to the gods of their forefathers.

Twenty years later Rome was captured by Alaric and his barbarians, and when these too embraced the Christian faith the “dark ages” fell upon Europe, the ages of domination of all human thought and of most human activity by the priesthood, ages which “should probably be placed, in all intellectual virtues, lower than any period in the history of mankind.

A boundless intolerance of all divergence of opinion was united with an equally boundless tolerance of all falsehood and deliberate fraud that could favor received opinions.

Credulity being taught as a virtue, and all conclusions being dictated by authority, a deadly stupor sank upon the human mind, which for centuries almost suspended its actions.” said Lecky in History of European Morals.

How long? A thousand years.
As Sir James jeans said the Roman Legions were nothing compared to the Christians for when they appeared in Rome everything changed.

But so many things were misunderstood. So many things misinterpreted.

The apostles knew this would happen and warned it would as Paul said in Acts 20.


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