The philosophy of the Hellenic and Roman world was focused on finding some form of "salvation" and ultimate answer. Stoic and Neo-Platonist philosophy are surprisingly close to Christian doctrine in a lot of places. This compatibility and continuation of Christian thought with Greek philosophy gave it a lot of legitimacy. A lot of early converts to the religion were followers of platonism, look at Augustine's influence for the most influential example.
Constantine's conversion is also extremely important, of course, and a lot of people probably converted because it became orthodox.
did the politicians adopt it because it was the dominant religion of the streets, or was it implemented by politicians and adopted by the people? I'm not talking about the later force conversions not op btw
>>517655 to respect the gods of other peoples. This changed on a global scale when Christianity was spread, quite literally, by the sword. Those who attempted to assert their religious differences were harassed, tortured, robbed of their land and belongings, even killed. Before it achieved political power, Christianity was a small sect, a heresy against the Jewish faith, that had to accept equality among all the other religions of the Roman Empire. Yet it was the first religion to openly attack the religions of other people as false (the Jews, at least, were a little more tactful). Needless to say, Christianity only truly flourished when it had the ability to eliminate the competition—when it had the full support of Rome’s Emperors after 313 A.D., and when, in 395 A.D., every religion other than Christianity was actually outlawed. Through force and decree Christianity was immersed in the cultural surroundings of lands near and far, and in an environment where it was widely accepted, if not the only thing accepted, it spread and planted itself among subjugated peoples. As kids grew up taking Christian ideas for granted, they often did not realize that only a few generations ago those ideas were entirely alien.
Colonization of the world, more often than not by robbery and warfare, spread Christianity into the Americas and other corners of the earth, just as Islam was spread throughout Asia and Africa. It is not a coincidence that the two most widespread religions in the world today are the most warlike and intolerant religions in history.
>>518120 Many cultures were won merely by converting their kings or chieftains, who, in return, required their subjects to adopt the new faith of their ruler. Still others mistook the numerical and technological superiority of their conquerors as evidence that they had the better god. Thus, the spread of Christianity was not due to its truth, God’s grace, or its unique attractiveness to foreign people. Simply imagine two competing religious points of view, one holding the idea that other religions are to be respected and that war is justified only in defense, the other holding that war is justified in converting infidels to the only true faith, and that this faith must by its very calling be spread across the world. Which religion will survive and grow, and which will be stamped out and forgotten? The answer is self-evident—and yet it has nothing to do with which religion is actually true.
Christianity was an urban religion, mainly because it spread through trade routes i.e. from city to city. We also know this due to the term Christians used to refer to those who followed the indigenous faiths of their peoples - 'Paganus' - which means from the countryside.
Because it spread primarily among the cities it was in close proximity to the ruling class, who ruled from their cities. When some of the ruling class were converted, they were able to force their beliefs on the poor multitude they ruled in the countryside. This is why Christianity grew so quickly.
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