What would the world look like if Christianity had died out?

Author: K_Michael ,

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  • K_Michael
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    Suppose that when the Romans started persecuting the Christians, they actually managed to eliminate every single Christian and their ideology. How would history evolve from there? 
    A few things off the top of my head.

    The schism between East and West Roman Empire would not have occurred, or at least, not for the same reason. 


    Europe would be primarily a polytheistic culture adopting new gods to its panteon as it encountered other religions.

  • Deb-8-a-bull
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    If i know Christianity like i think i do.
    If it died out,  it would come back to life three days later.


  • K_Michael
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    --> @Deb-8-a-bull
    Yeah, to be realistic, it isn't that simple; you can't just wipe out a religion. But for the sake of the question, what would the world look like if you could?

  • Ragnar
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    --> @K_Michael
    I don't even know where to start considering that...

    I'd probably be Jewish instead of Catholic?

    The crucifix would still be around, but a different martyr would be on it (maybe not a religious one, but hard to say).
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @K_Michael @Ragnar
    How can you eradicate Christianity, without also eradicating Catholicism, Judaism and Islamism etc.

    They all originate from and maintain the same basic foundation.
  • K_Michael
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    --> @zedvictor4
    Islam and Judaism were both around for a lot longer than Christianity. I'm suggesting that Christianity never managed to take off. I said in the first post that it would be because the Romans managed to eliminate them, but it could simply be that it never really caught on.
    I've always defined Catholicism as a subset of Christianity, just like Protestantism. Even if you disagree with that, it is A FACT that Catholicism developed from early Christianity in the Roman Empire.

    "They all originate from and maintain the same basic foundation."
    I'm not suggesting eliminating the foundation, only preventing the growth of a branch.
  • ethang5
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    --> @K_Michael
    All the laws and dispositions we have based off of Christian philosophy that made us great would not be there.

    Self sacrifice, treating others how we want to be treated, punishment matching crimes, personal relationship with God, deferring gratification, the nobility of honor, faith and integrity.

    We would be lesser, and more like other backward cultures of today. Less inventive, less strong, less empathetic, and less artistic.
  • skittlez09
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    --> @K_Michael
    sounds like a good alternate history hub video lmao 
  • Alec
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    --> @K_Michael
    Yeah, to be realistic, it isn't that simple; you can't just wipe out a religion

    Saint Patrick genocided all the Irish Pagans of his time.  

    If the Romans wiped out Catholicism, it might survive today.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @K_Michael
    Suppose that when the Romans started persecuting the Christians, they actually managed to eliminate every single Christian and their ideology. How would history evolve from there? 
    A few things off the top of my head.

    The schism between East and West Roman Empire would not have occurred, or at least, not for the same reason. 


    Europe would be primarily a polytheistic culture adopting new gods to its panteon as it encountered other religions.
    Slavery would still be normal practice. Woman would have no rights - like their children. People would still be looking for answers. It is probable that we would all have died out from disease. After all, most of our science was developed by Christians seeking to explore God's world. We would not have had the industrial revolution - nor probably the time of the renaissance. Imagine the world of Rome. Yes, produced some good things - see the Life of Bryan for a wonderful list of "what did the Romans ever do for us?" done by Monty Python. But still produced some pretty horrific and evil things in society. Murder for sport - in the arenas. Entire genocide of some cultures.  

    But who would have taken over from the Romans? Probably the Goths. Scary thought. Perhaps today the Chinese would rule? Or the Indians. 

    Islam would be a different kind of religion. Probably more harsh, given the input of it by Christian thought. 

    We would not have Shakespeare. The Commonwealth would never have occurred. Many lands would probably remain unexplored. After all most of the exploration that took place was done as a way to evangelise others. Languages would be muted. The world would remain in a dark place. 
  • K_Michael
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Many lands would probably remain unexplored. After all most of the exploration that took place was done as a way to evangelise others. 
    I disagree. While missionary work inevitably followed wherever Europeans went, it was not the primary motivation. Columbus sailed west, not to provide a quicker route for missionaries, but to prove that the Earth was round and establish a faster trade route to the West Indies. He wanted spices, not converts.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @K_Michael
    Many lands would probably remain unexplored. After all most of the exploration that took place was done as a way to evangelise others. 
    I disagree. While missionary work inevitably followed wherever Europeans went, it was not the primary motivation. Columbus sailed west, not to provide a quicker route for missionaries, but to prove that the Earth was round and establish a faster trade route to the West Indies. He wanted spices, not converts.
    Have you read his diaries?
  • K_Michael
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    --> @Tradesecret
    No, and I don't plan to just to settle a debate. However, I do still hold that trade is by itself more than sufficient to motivate exploration.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @K_Michael
    and yet history says otherwise. 

    I have dispute about trade being important - in fact I take the view that businessmen make the best ambassadors between nations. 

    But historically it was not until people received the command to convert all the nations that exploration became the deal that it did. remember there were many thousands of years prior to this command - that the world remained small to the extent that we are aware of.

    Admittedly, other nations did explore - the globe. but never with the intent to settle. 


  • Ragnar
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    --> @zedvictor4
    How can you eradicate Christianity, without also eradicating Catholicism, Judaism and Islamism etc.

    They all originate from and maintain the same basic foundation.
    As stated in the OP, "Suppose that when the Romans started persecuting the Christians, they actually managed to eliminate every single Christian and their ideology."

    Christianity branched from Judaism, so Jewish faith would be unaffected, but possibly less oppressed.

    Catholicism is what early Christianity quickly solidified into, so it would be gone.

    Islam has a decent amount of Christian influence, so would be different.
  • Swagnarok
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    --> @K_Michael
    Well, paganism was about finished anyway. Socrates and Plato blew its head off with a shotgun, and then the Roman legions steamrolled over its dead body. That's the first thing to note.
    If Christianity didn't "make the cut" a pseudoscientific gnostic cult (e.g. Manichaeism) would've taken its place. Christianity suffices to say "God created the world and sometimes performs miracles within it" but doesn't bother to try to explain the mundane workings of the natural world and explicitly forbids such practices as astrology and divination.

    That is to say, in an environment where people knew next to nothing about science to begin with, it did way more good than harm via imposing a stable framework for a thousand years where unknown elements of the world were to be explained by means other than sorcery or magic or witchcraft. With there being no god but God, you couldn't say "Lightning is caused by Zeus!" or "the lunar cycle is caused by Artemis!"
    And yes, the natural world was governed by knowable rules because the God who set it all into motion was a God of rules.

    In theory one could've substituted for the polytheistic gods by saying "God directly causes every effect in every moment" but Christianity never seriously went down that path anyway.


    (That's not to say that there wouldn't still be some people making scientific inquiries, but I imagine the rate of progress in discovery would've been slower.)
  • ethang5
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    --> @Swagnarok
    +1

    Good post.

  • T_Recks
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    --> @Ragnar
    Christianity branched from Judaism, so Jewish faith would be unaffected, but possibly less oppressed.
    So, given that the Jews have been gratuitously persecuted, particularly in recent times, would that not precipitate the demise of all other Abrahamic religions?