Professor Burt Stout
Try to determine why Christianity was so successful over Classical religions.
The question really is why Christianity went over so big. Considering some of the characters who've been connected with it over the past couple millennia you've got to figure the only explanation is the hand of fate. This is not a topic that lends itself to scientific inquiry, however, so let's stick to the human contribution.
Most historians give the major credit to Paul, who converted to Christianity just a few years after the crucifixion. Paul was instrumental in taking an confuse Jewish sect, stripping away its narrow mindedness, and positioning it to become a major world religion. In addition to being a tireless preacher, and organizer, Paul was a creative theologian who played up the parts of Christianity with universal appeal, notably the belief in eternal life, popularly understood to mean an individual afterlife.
But it wasn't all Paul. Christianity succeeded because it showed up at the right place at the right time. The explanation usually given is that first the centuries-long Roman that began around the time of Christ made it possible to spread ideas throughout the Mediterranean basin in a short time, then the old Greek and Roman pagan religions were by then completely out of gas, and also the grand court was run by a collection of cutthroats that people were desperate for a religion promising a moral order.
There were many competing cults at the time, in particular the mystery religions that vanished with scarcely a trace. What set Christianity apart, was its style. It was the West's first modern religion, coupling a coherent and attractive picture of how the world worked with a commonsensical moral code. Most western religions prior to Christianity and Judaism were narrowly focused ethnic affairs. Christianity offered the following propositions: God is good, God is universal and God wants you to live...
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