Would Christianity have existed without a Roman Empire?

Would Christianity be a major religion today if it did not come to be during the time it did (Roman rule)? How big a part did the Roman Empire play (both directly and indirectly)? Was timing everything?

I’m convinced that Rome/Christianity had a very symbiotic relationship and Christianity would not have come to be without Rome first oppressing it, and then finally adopting/accepting it.

You can thank 1 man, 1 stupid prayer and 1 battle victory for the popularity of x-ianity today.

Unlikely. It’s not so much the opression, but that the Empire allowed for the flow of ideas across Europe, Northern Africa, and into Asia. Without such a huge empire and the ensuing exchange of culture within it, I doubt the religion would have escaped the Mediterranean region. Maybe not even Israel.

To be sure, which “ones” are you referring to?

Constantine. As the story goes, he prayed to the christian god promising a life-long devotion to it’s cause if he won that war (assuming the 312-324 civil war).

I doubt it would even have emerged in Israel. The messianic longing that won Christianity an early following was grounded mainly in discontent with the rule of the Herodians. No Roman Empire means no Roman meddling in Judean affairs, which means the Hasmonean kingdom (founded by the Maccabees) would have survived.

Of course, the later Hasmoneans were no great shakes as rulers either, so who knows. Maybe the people would’ve felt even more resentful.

I think the question is now somewhat twofold. A before and after if you will.

One, Did the Roman Empire have an impact on “carrying” Christianity along after Jesus was crucified and declared Christ? The responses above suggest that it did. I concur.

Two. Were the conditions in the Roman Empire in place to allow a messiah to emerge? Brian Glutton agrees, but also feels another “evil” overlord would have lead Christianity to a similar fate. This second part though has me interested in other “messiah’s” Were there other people claiming to be the second coming? Were there other popular “Christian” type cults who had followers claiming their messiah was the second coming? Was Jesus one of a few/many who just happened to catch on and become widespread?

That’s the story. It’s more likely, though, that Constantine saw how large and popular Christianity was getting and extended official recognition to win allies.

  1. In a word, yes, see Constantine. Now a few of my nitpicks - Lets reword it to Jesus’ alleged crucificion since there’s no primary sources validating his existance Next any spread of xianity had to have taken place atleast 30-50 years after his crucificion, because thats when it first cropped up - atleast documented, that we know of - everything prior to was oral.

2)No. Apparently human nature is sufficient alone to allow for a messiah. And to your last question - yes. There were many xian and non x-ian (based on other messiahs) cults around that time. xianity just got lucky.

ps. sorry for all the X’s… its an abbreviation I started using in highschool and its stuck and saved me alot of typing.