I hear this argument many times but i cant seem to know enoigh of historical evidence to speak against it. So can someone answer me from historical perspectives if Christianity was spread by the sword?
In some cases, eg Saxony, but even then, Charlemagne’s violent methods in converting the Saxons received criticism from churchmen, and (I would argue) it had as much to do with Germanic warrior culture as with Christianity:
Thanks for this . But i was more interested in the begining of Christianity. Like was it spread by the sword on the roman empire after the Edict of Milan?
Bart Ehrman says that Christianity spread particularly because it was both evangelistic ‘and’ exclusivist, people were encouraged to convert, ‘and’ set aside their previous gods. No violence needed, even if at some times there was violence.
The violence was very much the other way in suppressing Christianity in the first three centuries. The signs of this are all over the New Testament, at the very least. Indeed, there is quite a bit in the New Testament which only seems applicable in the context of a persecuted Christianity. Of course this changed at the end of the third century culminating with a reversal by Constantine. Once it was made the state religion then that by itself can be considered violence in favor of Christianity. there were edicts by Constantine supporting some religious toleration, but some pagan practices were made against the law. Even that much toleration vanished by the end of the fourth century.
Toleration of other religions hasn’t been a strong point of Christianity, with only Islam being worse during some time periods (at other times showing greater tolerance). We see much greater tolerance of other religions than both of these in Hinduism and Buddhism. The toleration of other religions by the Christian west in modern times was largely fueled by the increasing diversity of Christianity. Judaism is harder to evaluate for it has been a religion under siege and persecution for most of its history. Its opinion of other religions is fairly low but it hasn’t been in a position to persecute other religions for millennia. The most we can say is that the OT criticize the Israelites for being too tolerant of other religions.
I’m sure some of it was but most of it I believe was spread by Christians being christians and teaching and baptizing others into Christ.
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