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Modern-day Romans

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: no sheep

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 16, 2015 at 02:52

Hi, Waz. The Apostle Paul said,

"They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
[38] And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans."

To which you said,

Not being a Roman, I can't count on such largesse from potential future captors...

If you aren't a 21st Century "Roman", I certainly am. In Paul's day, the world map looked like THIS. Mr. Lessman gives us an indication of where the power centers were, with the font size he uses: The great powers of the day were:

  1. The Roman Empire, and
  2. The Han Dynasty (China)

India was divided at the time, as it has been throughout most of its history; and the Parthian Empire was relatively small and weak, and soon to be replaced by an equally small revived Persian Empire. There were also many nomadic peoples (Germans, Huns, Turks, Arabs) who would eventually overthrow both the Romans and the Chinese; but in Paul's day, they were mostly occupied with fighting one another.

What is the modern equivalent?

  1. The West (the US, Canada, UK, Germany, ...Japan, Australia, etc.) and
  2. China

Russia is a third, taking the strategic place of Parthia. If you look at the world that way, as I do, you are about as "Roman" as Paul was. The dark green areas on the following MAP-1 show the countries you can travel in for 90 days without a visa. My own range of motion is shown in MAP-2. That should illustrate the extent of the "empire" we both live in; and it also hints at the great benefit there is, in holding an Australian or American passport. It is that sort of benefit that Paul could rely on as a natural-born Roman (His native city of Tarsus was classed as a Roman colony, which gave him Roman citizenship).

Notice that being a Roman did not keep Paul from altogether escaping persecution; but it came in handy in a pinch. Even so, the Romans destroyed the Temple, exiled the Jews and made human torches of Christians less than 20 years after Paul's imprisonment in Philippi. We may have an equivalent time frame before us, or less, when we, too, will experience horrors like those of 70 C.E.

You contiued,

As far as allowing oneself to be led like a sheep to slaughter - that's not natural. It's cowardice.

I disagree. The six million Jews who died in the death camps were not cowards. Neither were the Christian martyrs. Given their circumstances, they were courageous. The cowards were the ones who turned them over to the authorities in order to save themselves. You and I don't control our lives, or our deaths; God does.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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