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In the first and second centuries, the ruling authoritarian government of Rome persecuted Christians for crimes against the state. What were those crimes? Chief among the reasons for Christian persecution was the refusal of Christians to worship Roman gods. To the Romans, their deities, their gods, were the reason for their victory in war or bountiful resources. When told to give obeisance to these gods, Christians refused, claiming there is only one God who has disclosed Himself in the person and work of Jesus, the Christ. Roman authorities then used their political beliefs to penalize Christians for their speech in their finances and, ultimately, in their deaths.
Christian views that go against the ruling vision of any culture are seen as an attack on the accepted gods of that age, including political viewpoints. Everyone worships something. And by ‘worship,’ I mean a total dedication to current, cultural beliefs. Cultural idols come in many forms. We customize our preferences. We commercialize our consumer desires, equating our views with what we buy. We determine the logic of a thing. If it makes sense to our group – even if it doesn’t conform to created reality – then it must be true. We measure “truth” (in air quotes) by popularity and polls promoted by publicity. We live in the “now,” refusing to consider that there is a “then,” a life after this life, a final judgment.
To many people, politics is their religion. Groups live and die with each election, each ballot cast. And the governance of a nation can become a real idol. Parties and platforms are human-centered idols. Not bowing to the beliefs and threats of a governing body may begin the suppression of speech and the elimination of one’s job. What happened in Rome is happening here. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking Truth wherever it’s found. [First published at MarkEckel.com]