Celsus, On The True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians. (Trans. R. Joseph Hoffman)
Romans were a highly skilled and educated lot and they demonstrated mild tolerance to religious sects, like Judaism. The goal of religion was to ensure the prosperity of the state, the people and the emperor under the protection of the gods. They honored this communal argument by preserving traditional ideology, moral conduct and religious responsibilities. But the rise of Christianity and their teachings became troublesome, with its circumcision, keeping the Sabbath holy and refusal to honor the Roman practice of occasional sacrifices for the Emperor, which Christians deemed to close to worshipping false idols (Bible, 1 John 5:21). With such ferocious frequency they punished Christians by execution. One can only wonder if such a tolerance existed then why punish the Christians if not for the harm that Christianity does to the stability of a person and the foundation of Roman Empire? Could it be the thought of them becoming internal conspirators against the establishment? Perhaps it’s the thought of altering man to lose his humanity, sorcery or superstition was a general fear for the Romans and often associated with the Christians. “Christianity is just another instance of irrationality that characterizes the mystery of cults.” (Celsus, Footnote 15). As the Greek pagan philosopher Celsus states, “It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of (miraculous) power.
Celsus aimed to answer and examine, as assuming questioning Jew, the entire Christian faith. He dissects its irrational beginnings to the unoriginality of their beliefs. "Many of the ideas of the christians have been expressed better-- and earlier-- by the greeks, who were however modest enough to refrain from saying that their ideas came from a god or a son of god (Celsus pg 92-93). And the...
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