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Diocletian to Dawkins
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Christ related
From Roman emperor Diocletian to modern day Richard Dawkins: Can they get rid of Jesus?
Around 33 AD the Romans in Jerusalem could relax. The King of the Jews had been crucified. There was nothing funny about that; it was just part of their duty to get rid of troublemakers. Rome was not going to loose sleep over an unknown Jew.
The short life of 33 years of the Galilean, Jesus Christ, abruptly came to an end. Many Jews, waiting for a conquering Messiah who would free them from foreign powers, realized that they would have to wait longer for their glorious Messiah. In the meantime they just wanted peace with their conquerors, the Romans. Most of them were glad to be rid of this ‘King of the Jews’, a poor Galilean.
Then the unheard of thing happened... Jerusalem was electrified by a motley group of unschooled followers of Jesus Christ who started preaching. The Preacher became the preached. The message spread at an alarming rate throughout the Roman Empire.
The message baffled the Romans. They could not understand how a king could die on a cross. The utterly vile death of the cross was reserved for slaves and rebels (M Hengel, Crucifixion In the Ancient world and the folly of the message of the Cross, Fortress Press, 1977). But they soon began to take note. The emperor Nero was the first to persecute the growing group of Christians. Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Valerian, Diocletion all tried their best to rid the empire of them, and restore the worship of the gods (B K Kuiper, The Church in History, Wm Eerdmans, 1951, p 7-13). To no avail. The blood of many martyrs stained the theaters. Did it stop the growth of Christianity? No. How does one get rid of an invisible Jesus?
We live in 2007. Christianity is found on most of the continents. And just as of old, many are warring against it. Modern day Caesers like Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006), Tony Bushby (The Bible Fraud, Pacific Blue, 2001), Lane Fox (The Unauthorized version, Truth and Fiction in the Bible, Penguin Books, 1991), ably assisted by an army of other writers, atheists, evolutionists, unbelieving philosophers, hostile theologians and critics are fighting this battle. Will they succeed where the Roman Caesars failed? It is rumored that Julian the Apostate, persecutor of the Christian faith, was mortally wounded in combat against the Persians. He took some of his spurting blood and threw it heavenward, exclaiming, “So Thou hast conquered after all, Galilean!” (B K Kuiper, ibid, p 28).
And what lesson from history are there for the christians? When Polycarp, to be executed in the amphitheater in Smyrna, was asked to save his life by reviling his Christ, he answered: ”Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong; how can I blaspheme Him, my King, who has saved me? I am a Christian” (B K Kuiper, ibid, 9,10).
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