Free Religious Worship In The Roman Empire Essay Sample
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There were several non-Jewish religions that existed in the Roman Empire during Paul’s Ministry. They include mystery cults, traditional deities, Gnosticism, Druids, the Bacchanals, and Judaism. Essentially, the worship of traditional deities in the Roman Empire involved several gods. The most common amongst them was the sun god, also referred to as the sun goddess. The solar deity was a sky goddess, who represented the sun, or its aspects (Horsley, 2009). Ideally, it was worshiped because of its perceived strength and power. Many beliefs were formed under or based on this God, for example, the belief in the missing sun was widely based on this god. Worship of Bacchus was another non-Christian religion practiced in the Roman Empire. Bacchus was represented the power of ecstasy and intoxication. In most instances, he was recognized as a liberator (Jeffers, 2005). A small family or local organization conducted these venerations informally during initiation. The worship involved celebratory and initiatory rites, which were dedicated to the Roman god, Bacchus. Another religion that existed during the Roman Empire was Gnosticism. It was one of the most heretic and prominent groups formed by a class of believers known as Gnostics. They represented an organized sect that acted as an alternative to Christianity. Their views about Jesus and his ministry entirely differed. As indicated by Ferguson (2003), they sometimes contradicted themselves as well as the beliefs of their church. Another non-Christian worship that took place during the Roman Empire, at the time of Paul’s Ministry, is the Arianism. Arianism was neither Gnostics nor pagans. As indicated by Sumruld (2001), it proved to be one of the fiercest competitors Christianity faced. Specifically, their worship elements and rites were similar to those of Christianity; however, they had distinguished themselves from Christians.
Ferguson, E. (2003). Backgrounds of early Christianity. London: Eerdmans Publishing
Horsley, R. A. (Ed.). (2009). Paul and empire: Religion and power in Roman imperial society.
New York: A&C Black.
Jeffers, J. S. (2005). The Greco-Roman world of the New Testament era: exploring the
background of early Christianity. New York: InterVarsity Press.
Sumruld, W. A. (2001). Augustine and the Arians: the Bishop of Hippo's encounters with Ulfilan
Arianism. London: Associated University Press.
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