All done in the name of loving, merciful Jesus source
From the fourth century and forward, the now mighty Christian Church, used harsh measures to suppress other faiths.
With pious enthusiasm the ancient pagan temples, works of art and libraries were destroyed, and trampled by rampant Christians in a frenzied religious demolition craze. Under the command of bishops and abbots Christian monks were often the most active. The Greek called them “swinish black-cloths”, because “they looked like men but lived like pigs”. A contemporary writer tells us “armed with clubs or stones and swords they ran to the temples, some without these weapons only with their bare hands and feet” (Libanios “Pro temples” 389 AD). As soon as they had destroyed one temple, they dashed away to the next. They toppled over walls, smashed idols, statues and art-objects and altars, and stole the temples wealth for themselves.
Bishop Theophilius of Alexandria participated personally in levelling pagan temples and altars. This busy bishop is personally credited with destroying a huge statue of Sarapis with an axe in 391 AD, a statue made by the great Athenian artist Bryaxis. The Christian demolition craze destroyed a huge parts of antiquity’s religious artworks and written texts. Numerous priests and bishops made a name and a career for themselves as temple-destroyers. A bishop named Marcellus distinguished himself in this area, he demolished among other things the big Zeus temple in Apameia. Among the ravaging Christians it soon became popular to gather souvenirs and trophies from the holy pagan places they levelled. Bishop Theophilius organised boisterous mocking-processions with these trophies through the streets of Alexandria.
Some were more drastic than others. Particularly in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, pagans, priests and priestessses were exiled or massacred during the temple destructions, or chained to the ruins and left to starve to death. The East Roman Emperor Theodosius 2 (401-450) executed even children for playing with pieces of a broken pagan statue. An early Church historian tells us that Theodosius 2 “exceeded everyone with his kindness and humanity”. Right!
Theodosius 2 became emperor in the age of seven, and he was thoroughly indoctrinated by the priests and became a very effective instrument for the Church. He removed all non-Christians from official positions, and introduced in 434 the death penalty for the practice of all pagan religions. The reason given for this was, funny enough, all the natural disasters the pagan gods caused(!).
Not all temples were destroyed but transformed into Christian Churches instead. The ancient pagan idols, altars and religious art were removed and smashed, and a cross was nailed up on the wall instead. By destroying the pagan temples, torching the libraries and with them huge parts of antiquity’s rich written literature and accumulated knowledge, – the Church were responsible for turning of the lights off and sending Europe into a darkness of superstition and ignorance. They destroyed a flourishing civilisation, set science and progress back centuries and created a Dark Age that crippled Europe intellectually for over a thousand years. And we have still not fully recovered.
As we have seen, real systematic persecutions of the early Christians by the authorities happened within a timeframe of only five years in the first three centuries. When the Church itself rose to power and became an authority, it has been merciless persecuting thousands of people, both non-Christians and Christians alike, more or less constantly, for seventeen hundred years. They have started wars, crusades, the Inquisition, burned people as heretics and witches, they’ve killing Jews since the very beginning, slaughtered Indians in the New World, and most of their “martyrs” are lies.
Who is the bad boy here? Oh, yeah, it is Emperor Nero.
(c) R.L. Børsheim