Classical Sages critique Christians during Rome’s Decline | Edward Gibbon

Concerning the time of the rise of the Christian sect in Rome:

“The names of Seneca, of the elder and the younger Pliny, of Tacitus, of Plutarch, of Galen, of the slave Epictetus, and of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, adorn the age in which they flourished, and exalt the dignity of human nature. They filled with glory their respective stations, either in active or contemplative life; their excellent understandings were improved by study; philosophy had purified their minds from the prejudices of the popular superstition; and their days were spent in the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue. Yet all these sages (it is no less an object of surprise than of concern) overlooked or rejected the perfection of the Christian system. Their language or their silence equally discover their contempt for the growing sect which in their time had diffused itself over the Roman empire. Those among them who condescend to mention the Christians consider them only as obstinate and perverse enthusiasts, who exacted an implicit submission to their mysterious doctrines, without being able to produce a single argument that could engage the attention of men of sense and learning.” (Edward Gibbon. 1788. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1, Chapt. 15)


§ The idea, that the linear advance of religion, began with a primitive Animism to superior Monotheism is false. “The world in general and Christendom especially, left for two thousand years to the regime of a personal God as well as its political and social systems based on that idea, has now proved a failure.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters, Chronological ed. pg. 479.)

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