With each persecution, it grew stronger and spread farther. Rather than eradicating Christianity, they somehow were infusing it with new growth. It became apparent that new methods of opposition would have to be found. Violence had exacerbated the problem, not solved it. Christianity had flourished, even amidst persecution, because it had been based on matters of the head and the heart—not of the bow and sword.
Contradict that teaching, show it to be erroneous, disprove it, and then supplant it with other information—and what could not be accomplished through violence could be accomplished through instruction. Ultimately, the pen is mightier than the sword.
And so, eventually a new phase of opposition to Christianity was born. No longer were the prison, the cross, or the sword the instruments of choice.
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While no article of the brevity of this one can do justice to all, or even most, of them, I would like to offer some insight on a few, and on the methods they employed in their attempts to destroy Christianity. An examination of their backgrounds and efforts, in light of their common goal, makes for an interesting and profitable study. One of the most celebrated enemies of Christ in the ancient past was Malchus born A. Early in his career, Malchus went to study under Origen in Caesarea.
Later, he moved to Athens to study under Longinus, who was so highly regarded that students came to him from all over the world. Longinus commended Malchus as a brilliant student by changing his name to Porphyry—the name preserved by posterity. At the age of thirty, he went to Rome to study for several years under Amelius, a disciple of Plotinus. Eventually, he studied under Plotinus himself, and established a sterling reputation as a writer, philosopher, and orator. But why did Porphyry become so bitter against Christianity? Porphyry wrote a volume series, Against Christians , in which he sought to lay bare alleged contradictions between the Old and New Testaments and to document how the apostles had contradicted themselves.
He excoriated the book of Daniel, and charged Jesus with equivocation and inconsistency. His volume series has not survived, however, for in the emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III ordered all copies to be burned. The writings of Porphyry now extant have come from fragments reproduced by writers contemporary with him, and who opposed his arguments in their texts. Schaff has noted:. There can be no denying the effect that Porphyry had on early Christianity.
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That is evident by the fact that men such as Eusebius, Apollinarius, and others spent considerable time and effort offering rebuttals to his arguments. One of the works of Eusebius even was titled, Against Porphyry. Schaff has commented:. Porphyry died around The extent of the damage that he caused to the early church is inestimable. Another man of the ancient past whose name is associated with vitriolic attacks upon Christianity is the Frenchman, Voltaire. He was a riotous young man who spent a portion of his youth in prison for one reason or another.
He traveled throughout France, and spent some years in England. At first, he was famous for his stage plays, especially his tragedies.
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In , he began what would consume the remainder of his life and for which he would be most famous —his attacks upon the Christian religion. Durant observed:. His attacks were both frequent and vicious. He then alleged chronological contradictions in the narratives of the Old Testament.
He challenged as incorrect many of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, and he stoutly denied any such things as miracles and the efficacy of prayer. Voltaire lived to be 83 years old, dying on May 30, The steady stream of written materials that he produced against the Christian religion eventually made him far more famous than his romances, tragedies, and comedies ever could. David Hume was born in in Edinburgh, Scotland. However, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he developed a sudden but serious disdain for law, and embarked on a mission to establish his own system of thought.
In , while only 28 years old and living in France, he wrote the first two of his three volume set, A Treatise on Human Nature , the last volume being penned in Many consider this set to be his landmark contribution to philosophy. He published the three volumes anonymously, and only in reluctantly identified himself as the author. After approximately , he made no further contributions to the philosophical literature, except for his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , which was published posthumously and likely written in the s. In , his health failing, he wrote his autobiography, My Own Life , and died the next year.
Hume attacked the idea of the immortality of the soul, and placed the origin of religion on par with elves and fairies. The essay arranges itself into two divisions.
The first section draws the conclusion that a miracle is a scientific impossibility; from what we know about the laws of nature, a miracle simply cannot occur. The second section concludes that the testimony regarding miracles is specious, and never strong enough to override important scientific considerations. For Hume, and those who agree with him, there is no evidence strong enough to suggest that a miracle actually had taken place.
Roman victories elsewhere meant that peace was eventually made on Roman terms in BC. Hannibal then became involved - eventually unsuccessfully - in internal Carthaginian politics, and was driven into exile in BC. In BC, he committed suicide by taking poison to prevent himself being handed over to the Romans. Search term:. Read more.
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