In general, the idea of exclusivity was alien to Greek and Roman religions, given their polytheistic nature. The pagan cults did not expel members who adhered to rival religious traditions or philosophical circles. But often the gods of pagan religions were officially recognized by the civic authorities and identified with the well-being of the state. In such instances, the abandonment of politically sanctioned religions met with public criticism and even state-sponsored persecution. In the Greek East, Christians were accused of atheism because they rejected the gods of the people. In the Latin West, Christians were charged with abandoning the religion of their ancestors. On either charge, the early Christians who refused to pay respects to the civic gods were condemned and often persecuted for insurrection against the state. In short, apostasy only became a problem in pagan society when its ancestral customs or its civic gods were rejected.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.