Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2006 Volume 2 :: Article 6
2006 Volume 2, Article 6
Religious Competition and Roman Piety

Author: Rodney Stark (Baylor University)

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The market theory of religious economies predicts that when the state neither supports an official religion nor effectively limits religious options, a number of competing religious groups will exist, with the consequence that the overall level of public religious commitment will be high. In addition, the more effective and innovative religious organizations will prosper, and the less effective ones will decline. Applied to ancient Rome, these predictions are strongly supported by the evidence. An additional finding is that Roman religious persecution was prompted by governmental fear of and antagonism toward all faiths that sustained intense, local congregations. This fear accounts for the persecution not only of Christians and Jews, but of several pagan faiths as well.

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