Academic hostility to Christianity is reaching hilariously transparent levels. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this story, but it’s the first time I’ve heard a mainstream media source like Yahoo talking about it. Apparently a Notre Dame (supposedly a Catholic University, but long ago turned into a “catholic” University) Professor believes that all that talk of Christians being slaughtered as martyrs by the Romans in the early days of Christianity is a myth, and has written a book about her studies. Okay, well, sort of a myth. They were killed, but it was PROSECUTION, not PERSECUTION! Silly us! Here.
Let’s see what our Professor friend thinks:
Moss contends that when Christians were executed, it was often not because of their religious beliefs but because they wouldn’t follow Roman rules. Many laws that led to early Christians’ execution were not specifically targeted at them—such as a law requiring all Roman citizens to engage in a public sacrifice to the gods—but their refusal to observe those laws and other mores of Roman society led to their deaths.
Moss calls early Christians “rude, subversive and disrespectful,” noting that they refused to swear oaths, join the military or participate in any other part of Roman society.
Translation: Christians weren’t killed for HAVING their beliefs! They were killed for FOLLOWING them! So what does this mean? Let’s have Professor Moss tell us!:
“If persecution is to be defined as hostility toward a group because of its religious beliefs, then surely it is important that the Romans intended to target Christians,” she writes. “Otherwise this is prosecution, not persecution.”
So let me see if I understand this: For refusing to worship foreign gods, the early Christians were martyred. But this doesn’t count as persecution, because EVERYBODY was required to worship Roman gods. Ergo, Christians weren’t persecuted. QED.
So, if we pass a law forcing everybody to worship the Supreme Court, and the Christians refuse and are killed, that’s not persecution since EVERYBODY is supposed to comply, not just Christians. Can you see how, and I’m just going to say it, STUPID this is?
Sure, if we redefine persecution to extremely narrow terms, it’s not persecution. On the other hand, since I’m redefining “book” to include something with ideas worth reading about, then she hasn’t written a “book”, just a large pack of bound papers containing bad ideas.
What? Well, if she can do it…