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Love of Neighbor and Other Values of Christianity

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The region of Palestine, where diverse peoples lived, among them Jews, became part of the Roman domains in 63 BC and directly influenced the emergence of a new religion. Christianity was a religion that was born in the Roman Empire, from the Jewish tradition that believed in the arrival of a messiah on Earth, who would be responsible for pacifying humanity, saving all those considered sinners. This belief was responsible for the formulation of a new religion, which, although it was persecuted and oppressed, gradually guaranteed, and over time, the adhesion of many faithful and spread throughout the Roman Empire and, later, by the whole West. Jesus Christ, the messiah of Christianity, was born approximately two thousand years ago, in the province of Judea (present-day Palestine), in a citizen named Bethlehem. To know Jesus Christ, it is necessary to understand the Holy Bible and his New Testament as historical sources capable of revealing evidence of Christian culture.

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It was in the midst of this politically tense climate that Jesus sought to express a message based on love of neighbor, forgiveness of offenses and detachment from material goods. Such a message in no way threatened Roman rule, not least because, according to the Gospels, Jesus always emphasized that his preaching had nothing to do with politics, that the kingdom to which he referred was not an earthly kingdom. On the other hand, the explosive character of the region, coupled with the Roman posture to systematically combat the emergence of leaders who could overshadow the predominance of the Empire, made Jesus a potential enemy for Rome.

It is through the New Testament Gospels that we know Jesus Christ, who is narrated as a wise man, responsible for spreading teachings throughout the region of Judea, in Aramaic, around AD 30. The novelty was the belief in a single god, because at the time the Roman Empire was polytheistic. With pacifying words, Jesus Christ carried messages of empathy, love of neighbor and humility. He began to declare himself the expected messiah, the one who would have been sent by God. This stance generated controversy, both on the part of the Jews and on the part of the Roman authorities, who feared their dominion over the people. This displeasure with the figure of Jesus Christ, accused of promoting himself as the god of the Jews, led him to prison. His trial was conducted by Pontius Pilate, a member of the Roman administration in the Judea region. His penalty was crucifixion, suggested to those considered criminals harmful to Roman society. However, even his death failed to contain the expansion of Christian thought, as his teachings continued to be spread by his followers, the apostles. They were responsible for spreading Christianity throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Many inhabitants of the Empire sympathized with the ideas of the new religion, because in addition to preaching equality between men, it was about humility and love of neighbor. The persecutions were also not enough to end Christianity. On the contrary. They strengthened the Christian people, which spread throughout the Roman Empire, primarily among the poorest populations, such as slaves, reaching the wealthiest of the population.

It was Constantine's rise to power that changed the Empire's relationship with Christianity. Constantine became a Christian in 313 and allowed Christian services to take place without the threat of violence or persecution. Thus, in the figure of Constantine, Christianity gained new adherents in all social groups and expanded more easily, eventually becoming indispensable for a good government of the Roman Empire, representing a force for the imperial union. In a short time, pagan cults were banned, and Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in AD 380. Even today the center of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, is located in Italy. 

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