historypaper2 - Thomas Krenning Amy Boland Thursdays 2:15...

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Thomas Krenning Amy Boland Thursdays – 2:15 The Violent Adaptations of Christianity Christianity is a worldwide religion that has changed very much over the course of human history. This is due to the ability of Christianity to, for its survival, adapt and change to influences from inside and out. An inside influence, for our purposes, is defined by a spontaneous or gradual change in Christianity that is not caused by direct contact with other cultures. An example of this might be the heresy that the Church dealt with in the 12 th century. (Smith, 2010) An outside influence is defined by a change in Christianity due to direct contact with other cultures. An example of an outside influence would be the prohibition of Christianity by the Roman Empire, which resulted in many Christian martyrs. (Schoenig, 2010) This paper will be dealing with the latter so that points of contact between different cultures are emphasized. One of the ways that Christianity has adapted to influences is by shedding its early history of extreme pacifism and adopting a more militaristic stance. Christianity was integral in the formation of the modern Western world. It is because of these adaptations, and through them this militaristic stance, that the Western world came to be the way it is today. There are two general “ages” of adaptation in Christianity in the Middle Ages. The first, I will dub “expansion” and the second I will dub “survival.” The expansion “age” of Christianity spans from its inception to approximately after the decline of the Western Roman Empire. There are two main periods to the expansion age. The first period is the Infancy of Christianity, spanning from its founding to roughly 313 A.D., when Constantine issued the Edict of Milan setting Christianity as a tolerated religion of the Roman Empire. (Davidson, 2005) The second
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period of the expansion age is Integration, which extends from about the Edict of Milan to approximately the seventh century when Islamic states began infringing on the safety of the Christian kingdoms of Western Europe. (Vidmar, 2005) The Infancy of Christianity is defined by the zealous nature of the initial followers of Christianity. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” (Bible, Matthew 5:39-40) This quote shows that early Christians were pacifist from the start. However, this aspect of their culture was exacerbated by the prohibition of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Roman culture clashed with Christians because their religion was just emerging, which the Romans did not respect and because of the demonstrations of early Christians. (Shoenig, 2010) Some Christians would refuse to pay the Emperor taxes or worship him as a god. “Another day as we were at meal we were suddenly snatched away to
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historypaper2 - Thomas Krenning Amy Boland Thursdays 2:15...

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