[Pic: Emporer Augustus: Pontifex Maximus]
It is a popular piece of propaganda in secular education that just theories of government and civilization came from Greece and Rome not Christianity.
Did the Pagans force their people to believe a certain state religion without their consent? Yes.
John Robbins says,
“Because of the variety of gods in Rome, some historians have mistakenly concluded that Rome enjoyed religious liberty. But the command of the Twelve Tables (c. 450 B.C.), as well as the persecution of religious dissenters, makes it clear that religious liberty was not a feature of Roman society: “Let no one have gods on his own, neither new ones nor strange ones, but only those instituted by the State.”
(Christ and Civilization [Trinity Review], pg. 3)
Emperor worship in Rome began with Augustus 63 B.C.- A.D. 14 until the Christian era. Greece had state gods, Athena being the primary god of Athens and Olympia had Zeus. Socrates’ affront to the state gods got him killed. John Thomas Forbes says in his biography of Socrates,
“There was something in the constitution of the Athenian State and the atmosphere of Athenian life favourable to freedom within limits; but there was also that which was inimical to a too free interpretation of that freedom. [The normal habit of government by discussion did promote, within a certain range, the habit in the people of examining arguments and forming judgments for themselves. Nevertheless such freedom did not reach the ideal state of things pictured by Grote. His account rests on the idealised sketch in the Funeral Oration of Pericles, which gives the Athens of the statesman’s dream.) Such liberty as existed was not extended to matters deemed to affect religion, and bigotry was able to flourish in great strength. There were, moreover, in the beginning of the fourth century B.C. special causes at work intensifying the danger run by free speculation. It was in 399 B.C. (April) that these general and special tendencies of opposition to the teaching of Socrates culminated in his trial and death. An indictment was brought against him by Meletus, a tragic poet; Lycon, an unknown rhetorician; and Anytus, a democratic leader. It ran thus: “Socrates is guilty of crime—first, in not believing in the gods that the city believes in; secondly, in introducing other new gods; thirdly, in corrupting the youth. The penalty due is death.” Socrates (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), pg. 241-242
War was a way of life in these nations. Civilization was not the goal. John Robbins says,
“The pagan world was not peaceful. Athens, usually considered one of the most peaceful of the Greek city-states, was at war more than two years out of every three between the Persian Wars and 338 B.C., when Philip of Macedon was defeated. The following three centuries were even worse. Athens never enjoyed ten consecutive years of peace.
Livy reports that the Roman Republic was at peace only twice in its entire history, once at the end of the First Punic War in the mid-third century B.C. and once in 30 B.C. after Augustus’ defeat of Antony and Cleopatra. War was a way of life in the ancient world…Finley traces the prevalence of warfare in the ancient world to pagan religion:
“Neither the enormously powerful Roman Mars nor the weaker Greek Ares received the slightest competition from the minor divinities of peace. It was always assumed that divine support was available for a war…. [T]he gods through their oracles and signs [never] recommended peace for its own sake…” (Finley [M. l. Finley, Ancient History. New York, 1987], 68). (Christ and Civilization, pg. 4)
Slavery was based on a primitive eugenic theory of mankind. Robbins says,
“Slavery was not only the ubiquitous practice of the pagan world, it was the theory as well. The best and brightest of the Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, defended slavery, for slaves were naturally inferior beings. The status of slaves, women, and children reflected the judgment of Aristotle that “the deliberative faculty is not present at all in the slave, in the female it is inoperative, in the child undeveloped.” The Christian notion that all men are created in the image of God, and that the image of God is rationality, was foreign to pagan thought and societies.” (pg. 5)
Clearly, our secular educational establishment is either ignorant of the Protestant Reformation or they are deliberately censoring this period of history because there is not just one Christian History. There are 3: The Eastern Orthodox, the Romanist and the Protestant. The modern secular world likes to draw our attention to the second one or the Insanely Confused American Anabaptist Movement and represent all of Christianity as either incompetent, which Anabaptistism was and still is, or a political despot which the Roman Church was and still is. Here are just a few points how the Calvinist Reformation brought great freedom and Civilization to the world.
1. Freedom from the power play of the Roman Hierarchy: an atheistic group of men who refuse to trust God in the affairs of men, and instead resort to political intrigue to achieve their ends. Church officers were now confined to Elders and Deacons.
2. Freedom from the war hungry intrigue of the Papacy using the nation’s armies for his own personal ambitions. Primarily crusades against the Muslims.
3. The state in its function was to remain secular and not controlled by a money hungry clerical class of moral degenerates.
4. Freedom from the welfare state of Monasticism. Man has to work for his lifestyle. From this idea, Luther’s affirmation that the work of a common man and the work of a priest are equally valuable, and Calvin’s distinction between taking interest with business loans and not charity loans, great economic advances were made in the development of Capitalism.
5. Freedom from obligation to a foreign ruler-The Roman Papacy.
6. Universal literacy so that all men could read the Bible for themselves.
7. This itself gave rise to general education for common men not just the elite. This is why the traditional educational powers are universities established by Protestants: Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
8. The primacy of the conscience. Salvation is something intellectual. Not to be found in superstitious ceremonies, icons and relics. These same relics that took much of the money needed for the maintenance of the poor.
9. Freedom from the Divine Right of Kings (Scottish Covenanters and Rutherford’s Lex Rex) and the demand that the King has the consent of the people to be a lawful King, from which sprang the great civil rights of modern civilization (presently under attack).
10. Freedom from the divine right of Kings ipso facto denied that a successful aggressive war (Conquest) earned a de jure right to rule.
In short, the Protestant Reformation saved Christian Civilization from the pagan superstition and atheistic lives of the Roman Catholic ruling class. It is only in forgetting the Protestant Reformation that our county finds itself in the moral depravity, repealed liberties and War crazed insanity of the 21st century.