Plus Ça Change

plus c'est la même chose

In the earliest period pagan authorities limited themselves to persecution, or to hatred and mockery, as expressed by Tacitus and Lucian in his Peregrinus Proteus. But in time the pagan world had to take account of Christianity and began to attack it scientifically. Heinrich Kellner, in his Hellenismus und Christenthum, describing the intellectual reaction of ancient paganism to Christianity, points out its kinship with present-day opposition to Christianity. The main scientific opponents were Celsus, Porphyry, Fronto the friend of Aurelius, and later Julian [the “Apostate”] who, as is evident from Cyril’s refutation entitled Against Julian, wrote a book against Christians. All the arguments later advanced against Christianity can already be found in these writers–arguments, for example, against the authenticity and truth of many Bible books (the Pentateuch, Daniel, and the Gospels) and against revelation and miracles in general; arguments against an assortment of dogmas such as the incarnation, satisfaction, forgiveness, the resurrection, and eternal punishment; arguments also against norms of morality such as asceticism, contempt of the world, and lack of refinement; and, finally, slanderous accusations of worshiping an ass’s head, and of committing child murder, adultery, and all sorts of immorality. [Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics vol 1., 121-122]