The use of the term antiquity refers to the period of the late Roman Empire that commenced in 284.C.E. and has also been broadened to include the development of Islam. It is of importance to note that religious practices are not static and evolve over time to include new ways and meanings (Valantasis 2000).
This essay will discuss how Christianity departed from earlier practices in its place of origin and how it has spread to other regions. It will also focus on how it continues to have an impact on personal and public life. The paper will further discuss how Christianity fits into McNeil’s definition of” portable religions” and account for the reasons why portable religions spread from their places of origin while others failed and why Christianity is appealing compared to other religions(Whitman 2003).
Christianity was founded by Jesus who was born in 4B.C.E in the region of Palestine precisely Bethlehem. Christianity was spread by his disciples who were with him in Palestine and later by converts like Paul. From its birth place, it quickly found root in the major urban centers of Asia Minor that included Syria, Greece, and Mesopotamia, southern parts of Europe, North of Africa, and Syria.
Christianity departed from earlier religious beliefs of the time that laid basis on the significance of a god that had to be worshipped by the offering of sacrifices as decreed by the Old Testament writings of Moses to a new order of salvation which has foundation in knowing God through his son Jesus.
Christianity is characterized by having knowledge of the word of God displayed by one’s way of life, speech, actions, and the New Testament writings. It further emphasizes the significance of minding the welfare of the poor and oppressed in society. Another important characteristic of Christianity is the organizational structure that lays out the duties of church leadership. It derives its distinction from other religions in that in Christianity the individual is the foundation of defining the religion.
In the beginning, Christianity was spread by converts by way of preaching. The target recipient had the choice of accepting or rejecting its doctrines. There are some stages however when force was used advance the spread. This was evident when the Roman Catholic Popes wielded political power in Europe. (Duiker & Spielvogel 2011).
Currently, Christianity has touched all corners of the globe thanks to advanced means of transport and communication. Although there are other dominant religion like Islam, Christianity continues to exert greater influence on the social, economic and political facets of human life. Socially, Christianity attaches importance of the family in the society as taught by the scriptures. One is advised to mold their life lives in the most ethical and moral way possible or be condemned during judgment day.
Economically, the church is involved in activities that aim to raise the living standards of its members. The Catholic Church is the richest church with interests in academic and medical care provision. Politically, Christianity has lobbied for the respect of human rights and has supported legislation that supports freedom of speech and worship. Most governments consult the church before making critical decision such as drafting of new constitutions.
A portable religion is one that can be transferred by way of soliciting. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he instructed his disciples to spread the gospel. In most cases Christian converts will approach non believers and attempt to convince them to accept Christianity. This represents the mode of transmission of Christianity in modern times.
Christianity spread from its place of origin in Palestine due to its appeal. The core principle of Christianity is embedded in the Ten Commandments (Mcneil &Mcneil 2003). These e commandments, if followed to the later can transform the globe and the major ills facing humanity will be avoided. Secondly, Christianity promises a reward of eternal life to those who belief in Jesus as savior and punishment by eternal fire for non- believers.
Christianity spread more than other religions because it appealed to a wide range of audience including wealthy Romans during the period of late antiquity. These people financed the establishment of church foundations. Another aspect is that Christian material is written in different genres and languages starting from periods of late antiquity. Over the centuries Christianity has associated itself with powerful and dominant groups especially under the reign of Christian emperors ensuring that its interests were not interfered with.