What was the rise of monotheistic religions and what challenges have the world's monotheistic religions faced in their early years? How have they spread? What are the divisions within each? How...
What was the rise of monotheistic religions and what challenges have the world's monotheistic religions faced in their early years? How have they spread? What are the divisions within each? How have they interacted with each other?
It's currently agreed upon that monotheism developed in the Late Bronze Age. While some religions arose out of political reasons, monotheism, along with other religions, arose out of an innate part of human essence--the need to see order amidst chaos and the need to understand the workings of our world ("A Brief History of Monotheistic Religions"). The four monotheistic religions in the world are Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism. All four are very closely related to the Pentateuch, which are the five books of the Bible attributed to Moses ("A Brief History"). While some have postulated that monotheism was the original religion and then developed in to polytheism, other scholars have argued that monotheism evolved from both animism, the worship of all natural entities as possessing a spirit, and polytheism. As we are limited in space, below is an example of the specific rise of Christianity as well as some of its challenges in spreading.
Christianity sprung from a breach in the monotheism of Judaism when Jesus of Nazareth protested against the legalism of rabbinical Judaism. Jesus of Nazareth proposed a fulfillment of the Jewish laws through love because he proclaimed loving others to be equal to loving God. The Jews saw him as an insurgent and oversaw his execution under the Romans, who also saw him as a political threat due to his claim of being king of the Jews even though Caesar now had full authority over Israel. What's more, to the "horror of the Jewish religious leaders," Jesus became known as the Messiah, meaning the anointed, or holy one. Since the Jews would not recognize a savior who had been defeated, especially through execution, Christians broke away from the Jews ("A Brief History").
One of Christianity's earliest struggles related to the Roman emperor's desires to still keep Israel under its Empire. Since they still saw Christians as political threats due to their rejection of any earthly sovereign above God, the Romans persecuted the Christians. However, despite the persecution of the Christians, Christianity still became so widely popular that continuing to suppress it would be completely in vain. Hence, in 324 AD, Roman emperor Constantine the Great declared Christianity to be Rome's state religion ("A Brief History").