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When people speak of a universal religion, the understanding is that the religion belongs to all men all over the world. This means that the laws governing a universal religion are binding equally, irrespective of where an individual resides, travels or works. For example, Christianity applied laws in Western countries. These laws applied to all westerners. Similarly, Islam has laws which are applied to all Muslims irrespective of their colour, tribe, race and region among others. Christianity appealed to the poor for tackling social grievances, such as inequality found in the Rome Empire. Poor farmers, slaves and ordinary people who lived in the city got a hope from Christianity since the religion was promising rewards once they died. This earned Christianity a considerable popularity mainly because people became satisfied emotionally. The factors that made Christianity a universal religion have been discussed below in details.
The Rome Empire had the necessary positive qualities. For example, the empire was politically stable and had reliable communication services to facilitate missionary activities. There was the introduction of a formal government, where bishops acted as church leaders. Some bishops ended up gaining authority over the cities, which they presied. Under the leadership of Paul, Christianity became the universal religion because common laws had to be followed.
Conversion of Paul, who was Jewish, to Christianity also played a vital role in making Christianity an universal religion. Paul used to collect taxes. One day, on a mission to Damascus, where he was going to collect taxes, he met Jesus Christ. This marked his conversion. The birth of Paul happened in Greece, but he also understood the Roman culture. Paul could explain Christian beliefs in a way that Greeks and Romans would understand. He also preached in the Middle East. His Christian theology comprised of general principles, based on teachings of Jesus. Paul preached universality of Christianity, and that other religious beliefs were no longer necessary. He became a missionary after converting to Christianity, and he had helped in writing the New Testament; hence spreading the gospel. Paul contributed a lot to Christianity. He preached the importance of celibacy. He also eliminates the rule that all men needed to be circumcised.
People easily got used to the religion because Christianity showed similarities with already existing cults that had been accepted such as Mithraism. Thhis referred to a belief that sun had a son who had come to save mankind. Similarly, Jesus Christ came to save mankind from sins. This factor should not be overlooked while studying how Christianity grew. Other cults included Dionysus that was regarded a son of god who had also come to save mankind. Therefore, Romans had already heard religious beliefs before the introduction of Christianity, which made it easy for them to believe that Jesus Christ was truly the son of God who had come to save the world.
The church became an institution, which had some considerable power. This happened in the third century when the church started using brutal tactics. These included anti-Christian emperors. Although teaching of Jesus taught people to be compassionate and loving, Jesus did not run the church, but normal men did that. Just like in other institutions, some of these men were after power just like the politicians in Rome. Power motivated these Christian leaders. Others were engaged in hypocritical behaviour in the name of advancing the church. They, therefore, put a set of concepts and rules that there exists only one God and that there was no other way to practice Christian faith. This made people to abandon their previous practices regarding god and they adopted Christian teachings.
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