Sooner or later the Christians were bound to collide with the Roman government. This collision came not primarily on religious grounds, for the Romans had long tolerated Eastern faiths, even in Rome. It came simply because they could not understand as anything but subversive or treasonous some of the practices of the early Christians: their refusal to worship (even the nominal worship which would have satisfied the government completely) either living or deceased emperors or other gods of the state; their strong bent to pacifism; their withdrawal from significant aspects of community life, such as games or festivals; and, perhaps most inexcusable from the authorities' point of view, their secret and legally unauthorized meetings, often at night, concerning which there were rumors of immoral and offensive proceedings. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "4. Jerusalem: 'The Blood of the Martyrs was the Seed of the Church.' Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 86-88.