Denunciation of Christians, An Emotional Exercise since the Early Days
August 12, 2007 3 Comments
I bought the book, Early Christian Fathers about a year ago at the local used book store, though I have only begun to read it recently, well today.
Within it are major works of early Christian Fathers, or the generation of Church leaders that followed the Apostles and in most cases, were disciples of the Apostles themselves.
Started reading one these works, The First Apology of Justin, the Martyr circa 155 A.D., today and though I have not gotten far, I’ve realized the content of this apology (lit. a speech for the defense) is as applicable today as it was when Justin (below) first penned it.
The work was written to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (among others) acknowledging them as philosophers and pious men, so that they would see that the persecution of Christians solely on the grounds of professing Christ was unjust.
In the first section, titled a “Plea for a Fair Hearing” Justin writes:
For in these pages we do not come before you with flattery, or as if making a speech to win your favor, but asking you to give judgment according to the strict and exact inquiry–not, moved by prejudice or respect for superstitious men, or by irrational impulse and long-established evil rumor, giving a vote which would really be against yourselves…
But if nobody has proofs against us, true reason does not allow [you] to wrong innocent men because of an evil rumor–or rather [to wrong] yourselves when you decide to pass sentence on the basis of passion rather than judgment.
It seems that the denunciation of Christians back in the 2nd Century A.D., though far more life-threatening in Rome than in present-day America, might have been more fueled by emotion than on sound judgment.
Not much has changed has it?