Religion has been pegged as a very significant part of the process of civilization in the world. There were many sects and movements that rose up as religious groups all seeking to play the leading role in the conquest of the world but more so seeking to be the dominant denomination of the time. The growth and rapid dominance of the Christian religion has been for a long time fascinating leading to the frequent investigations and research into how it came about to be the dominant faith of the Western civilization. In developing this research paper the questions that will be addressed include what are the reasons for the rise in Christianity and adoption especially in Western countries and civilization? What was the great appeal that Christianity had to empires and the Western civilization that made it so important and popular?
Throughout history, Christianity has always been linked and connected to Western civilization where its role has been more than significant and pivotal to our societies as they exist today. The first reason for this association and argument has been the fact that Christianity is a religion of the people hence its popularity. Previously, many religions I existence were primarily regional meaning their reach was not vast. Christianity brought with it a change which empires seeking dominance and popularity with the people could associate with and prosper. Christianity had the ability to win and instill loyalty in its followers who in the classical period were the minority. With its introduction and acceptance as before it was despised and often persecuted, Christianity quickly became the religion of the Western and European nations but also the world as a whole. One reason for this acceptance was a decline in the rule of politics which shifted allowing people to adopt a more free and rewarding movement such as spirituality in the form of Christianity. These developments came at a time after oppressive rule and therefore for the majority of believers who were the minorities, Christianity symbolized the unimportance of earthly possessions previously emphasized, a centrality and equality of all beings and the divinity which stressed a life after death. Similarly, the Christian denomination gained fame and popularity due to its teachings and emphasis on giving rather than receiving an act established and proclaimed through missionaries and the need for truth an aspect proven through its source which was the Roman Empire where it was adopted as a reform measure to the then dominant Jewish movement (Stearns , 1992). The Christian creed and teachings were another cause of its rise as it taught its followers to be considerate of the each other, to atone for ones sins upon which one would be forgiven and also it was a source of comfort to those in pain or hurt a tool the leaders found useful in gaining favor with people as the teachings were twisted in their favor.
The Kings of empires similarly had a role in the enhancement and growth of Christianity leading up to its adoption to the Western civilizations. The Roman Empire under Constantine was a key leader in the rise and growth of the Christian movement where after his conversion to Christianity, the empire too had to change accordingly shunning paganism and Judaism. After Constantine took over power of Rome, the Christian denomination took a turn for the better with the movement growing and spreading beyond borders. One method used to actualize this by Constantine was the establishment of churches which served to weaken the hold the Jews had and promote more adoptions of the Christian ways and lifestyles (Wein, 2010). Moreover, Christian communities came up all over the country and moved to other cities in Europe and in the West through their missionary movements which also aided their success in offering hope in a time of violence particularly to the poor, the children and the women. Furthermore, the government at the time gave special treatment to the Christians which made the religion more appealing such as tax exemptions and promotions to high offices. Emperors and other leaders who were on the forefront of civilization are also noted as having aided the growth and popularity of the Christian religion into the modern and civil societies in Western countries and Europe for instance Theodosius 1 (The Saylor Foundation, 2012).
Despite the fact that Christianity preached a message that promised its followers gifts both material in the afterlife and spiritually that is the promise of immortality where they would be free of earthly risks such as illnesses, disease and poverty all aspects promoted in the civilized world as a symbol of power plenty of other causes led to its association with the Western ways and civilization. The first point noted through a variety of research studies and investigations is the fact that it eliminates boundaries and isolations which inevitably gave each individual an opportunity to be a part or an associate of something great which was rising in dominance. In the Western world, there are a number of inequalities be they due to gender or social status. The Christian denomination offered a new community where all were one through circumstances such as baptism where none was superior and none had an advantage over the other. They replaced with concern for each others well beings where a message of love and care for one another was a core and central part of Christianity a fact the Western countries and leaders associated with especially in gaining favor with their people and n enhancing and inculcating a trend and habit of social responsibility and accountability where hate was no longer preached nor accepted. The Christian mission was promoted by the mutual respect and concern leading to leaders such as Constantine to be keen and persistent on flowing it up and ascertaining that it is the dominant denomination where this was established by a takeover of the Christian institutions. This move was critical to civilization as the Christians believed in education and reading and inculcated the same beliefs and practices in their leaders and followers alike. Through these measures, the empire had elites to guide in development economically and politically a tool that as useful in civilization, growth and overall development and spread to Europe and the Western world past other religions.
The kings and rulers of these early empires used the Christian religion to consolidate their territories and to enforce their control over their people physically and mentally through the consistency of the teachings and the focus on the prosperity of the entire community as a whole through political and religious devotions of sacrifices and tributes all aspects that enhance wealth and growth of the empires (Morison & White, 2014). Case studies on the interrelationship between religion that is Christianity and western civilization have provided four core reasons behind the denominations success and growth and stronghold on people till date. The first is its ability to create and build up social networks. Throughout the Roman Empire period Christianity has been on the rise mainly due to conversions such as that of Constantine which was pivotal to the rise of the religion and its spread to other areas. The approach Christianity adopts has also aided civilization as it advocates for the creation of intimate and direct relationships between people and between them and God where its a personal association close to friendship. It helped break the barriers that had been set up between various communities or clans and even religious beliefs as it was neither biased nor prejudicial primarily focusing on uplifting and empowerment to equal levels of civilization. Second was the care and concern it advocated and preached globally. Prior to the development of Christianity, individuals and leaders in the Western and European countries and regions were individualistic opting for changes and reforms that were beneficial to a select few and oppressive to the majority. However, Christianity brought a change that has been the driving factor of civilization where the minority that is the won, children, widowed and the poor are in focus. Calamity even in todays society is no longer a concern for the victims or the affected lone. It is a collective burden which is shared and solved in unison for instance natural disasters, fires and so forth. In the past Christians would go on missions to the most grievous of locations such as plagues with no concern for their wellness or survival but for the affected where cared for them by providing food, shelter, medicine and knowledge a trend instilled deeply in the Western civilization of generosity. Also the fact that it did not sideline the non-believers in assisting them increased conversions as people appreciated the solidarity it offered and the change in general shifting social set ups and networks useful to the process of civilization.
Third was the strict stance the religion took to matters of adultery, abortions and infant deaths all factors rampant in the beginning of the period of civilization. There were a lot of unsaid injustices occurring at the time for instance the men could commit adultery with women who were not their wives that is the slaves or prostitutes unscathed and later similarly permitted to terminate pregnancies from such unions without any repercussions. The Christians took upfront role in highlighting and shunning such actions advocating for faithful commitments from partners of a marriage an act that instilled responsibility and accountability all aspects instilled in the civilized world. Fourth and last a summary of all other teachings which was love for one another. By caring for one another the kings of the empires were able to win over the loyalty of their people as it humanized them over shining all their misgivings and prompting devotion and the same love and care from the people. Christianity was not focused on the miracles nor was this the reason for its popularity and adoption into the civilization of the West. The self-revelation of the denomination in care, love and more so in prompting positive change was a core factor of its rapid acceptance and growth (Danckaert, 2014). The positive influence of the religion on the history of the Western civilization cannot be ignored nor neglected as the effects are far reaching to the current and future generations. Much of the languages spoken are as a result of Christianity while the artistry and literature was primarily influenced in one way or another by the Christian writings of the Bible and more. It has had some negatives but the positives outweigh them such as the values, beliefs and practices it encouraged people to adopt both believers and pagans. The liberty and justice enjoyed in the West and in Europe is as a result of Christianity that is a belief I the rule of law but more so in the law of God. Additionally, Christianity was vital in advocating and directing the observation of human rights and their freedoms both in the political, economic and social reals alike (Schmidt, 2004). From its inception, Christianity though faced by rejection and objection has maintained a consistent teaching and viewpoint which has built its reliability and dependability throughout history aiding in constitutional and legal structures and pans all critical to Western civilization thus the association and interrelationship.
Danckaert, S. (2014, June 2). Four Reasons Why Early Christianity Grew So Quickly. Retrieved from myocn.net: http://myocn.net/four-reasons-why-early-christian-church-grew-so-quickly/
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