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CNN examines the tumultuous early years of Christianity in a special narrated by Liam Neeson. ET.

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canadian goose jacket And when a Roman executioner approached Perpetua with a sword, her last uk canada goose outlet words before collapsing were aimed at her Christian companions: “Stand fast in uk canada goose the faith, and love you all one another and do not let our Canada Goose online sufferings be a stumbling block to you.” canadian goose jacket

buy canada goose jacket cheap Millions of Christians worldwide will celebrate the canada goose coats on sale death and resurrection of canada goose black friday sale Jesus on this Easter Sunday. But the story of how the church rose to prominence after Jesus’ death is being turned upside down. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose black friday sale According to a belief passed down through the centuries, the church grew because of canada goose clearance Roman persecution. The blood of Christian martyrs such as Perpetua became “the seed of the church,” said third century church leader Tertullian. It’s the Hollywood version of Christianity reflected in epic biblical films such as “Ben Hur” and canada goose “The Robe.” Vicious Romans relentlessly targeted early Christians, so the story goes, but the faith of people like Perpetua proved so inspiring that Christianity became the official religion of Rome, and eventually the largest religion in the world. canada goose black friday sale

canada goose coats But that script is cheap canada goose uk getting a rewrite. The first Christians were never systematically persecuted by the Romans, and most martyrdom stories with the exception of a handful such as Perpetua were exaggerated and invented, several scholars and historians say. It wasn’t just how the early Christians died that inspired so many people in the ancient world; it was how they lived. canada goose coats

“You had much better odds of winning the lottery than you would have becoming a martyr,” canada goose uk shop says Joyce E. More people read about martyrs than ever saw one.”

canada goose clearance Do Christians Canada Goose Online have a martyr complex today? canada goose clearance

buy canada goose jacket The debate over exactly how many Christians were persecuted and martyred may seem irrelevant centuries later. A scholarly consensus has indeed emerged that Roman persecution of Christians was sporadic, and that at least some Christian martyrdom stories are theological tall tales. buy canada goose jacket

But a new book by Candida Moss, a New Testament professor at the canada goose uk outlet University of Notre Dame, is bringing that message canada goose factory sale to the masses.

canada goose Moss says ancient stories Canada Goose Jackets of church persecution have created a contemporary cult of bogus canada goose store Christian martyrs. She says too many American Christians are acting like they’re members of a persecuted minority, being thrown to the lions by people who simply disagree with them. canada goose

She cited former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Romney claimed last year that President Barack Obama was waging a “war against religion,” and Santorum said the gay community Canada Goose Parka “had gone out on a jihad” against him.

The problem with invoking persecution is it implies your opponents are evil and no common ground can be found with evil, Moss says.

Canada Goose Outlet “When someone Canada Goose sale is persecuting you she says, is no room for dialogue. say Moss’ claim is dangerous. Canada Goose Outlet

Canada Goose sale People such as Perpetua did die because of their beliefs. Jesus and most of Canada Goose Coats On Sale his apostles were executed, he says. Canada Goose sale

“To deny the history of the movement is a way of attacking the movement,” Morgan says.

canada goose coats on sale Some opposition to contemporary Christians is indeed cheap Canada Goose evil, Morgan says. Christians are being killed today in places such as Nigeria canada goose coats and North Africa. canada goose coats on sale

Canada Goose Parka “Christians do not have a victim’s mentality,” Morgan says. “They buy canada goose jacket cheap take their stands, they know what they believe and they do good in this world. They are the ones who have established orphanages, hospitals and charitable institutions. For some reason, there’s this animosity against them.” Canada Goose Parka

Hatred of Christians is woven into much of the New Testament. Jesus constantly warned his followers to expect persecution. The Apostle Paul wrote many of his epistles from jail. And the death of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, is dramatically recorded in the New Testament book the Acts of the Apostles.

canada goose clearance sale The Easter message itself is a story of martyrdom Jesus, unjustly executed by the Romans. The idea that Christians are at war with demonic forces in the world is reflected throughout the canada goose clearance sale New Testament, says Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. canada goose clearance sale

Canada Goose online “If Jesus was just a soft moral teacher who taught us to love one another and petted little babies, the Romans wouldn’t have crucified him,” Litfin says. “Jesus is a polarizing figure, then and today. The early Christians weren’t foisting a narrative out of the blue about being martyrs. ” Canada Goose online

cheap Canada Goose the action heroes of the ancient world the first Christians pictured themselves canada goose uk black friday as waging war against the world, the martyrs were buy canada goose jacket their version of the Navy SEALs. They were the elite Christians who inspired and united others of their faith cheap Canada Goose.