The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Were Early Christians "Hippies"?

February 11th, 2008 · No Comments · christianity, culture, history

I suppose it was inevitable that I would find some connection between my favorite research topics, but I just realized how Diocletian’s Great Persecution of Christians and Nixon’s War on Drugs were very similar actions on the part of both heads of state.

Both occur during a time of difficult military engagements in which an Agent of Change was deemed source of domestic political divisiveness, and a great purge of that Agent was demanded. Both Nixon and Diocletian attempted to curtail this Agent of Change by specifically persecuting the observable, unique activities of the targeted groups. It’s also worth noting that neither actions were successful in their goals.

In both times, it was the fear of a general demise of the traditional culture in the face of some new culture that initiated change. It’s also clear that in both cases, the old guard understood the new cultures as the random conjoining of several old and new cultures. People new to these newfangled cultures didn’t care that they were being sold recycled goods, but instead used the recognition of connections to older cultures as a means to claim traditional roots more ancient than that of the mainstream.

“How are the early Christians like Hippies?” This seems too pregnant with possibility to leave untended for long.

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