Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Christian War Against Paganism - Part Two

As the classical world collapsed, Christianity followed the armies everywhere and the church became a secular power in its own right. Emperors and barbarians alike converted to Christianity for political reasons since the majority of the subject populations in their new territorities were Christians of one type or another (there were dozens of different sects within Christianity, later to be called heresies and violently suppressed). These secular rulers got baptized, then went on with their raping, pillaging and plundering with the full blessings of the church. There was no contradiction in this, however. The primitive Christianity of small, scattered congregations living a communal existence of peaceful brotherhood had turned into a wealthy, bloodthirsty monster.

The Bible was kept under lock and key, but few people could read anyway and the church discouraged education because the serfs might start thinking too much and questioning the authority of the priests. The peaceful side of the Christian message had its appeal, but mass conversions were the order of the day for a long time. When kings converted for political reasons, their subjects converted in mass or at least went through the motions as the better part of valor.

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