Back to Justin.
The real history that Justin provides…the little details that provide evidence that he was an ancient Roman citizen makes this all the more compelling to me. I love that I’m connected with this man from so long ago. I feel his passion and frustration as though it were my own. It helps me get my sense of perspective, remembering that Christianity isn’t the brainchild of modern evangelicals, but an epic story that spans many generations…and I’m PART of it.
Secondly, we used to worship Bacchus, Apollo, Proserpine, Venus or Aesculapius (the stories of whom are filled to the brim with perversity), as well as all sorts of gods that we now have utter contempt for, because of what we’ve learned from Jesus Christ. Even though we are threatened with death, we will not return to the worship of these inferior and perverted beings.
In all honesty, we feel real pity for those who follow these religions. Dark forces invented these gods, and we reject them.
Chapter XXVI.-Magicians Not Trusted by Christians.
Thirdly, after Christ went back up to heaven there were those who, inspired by demonic forces, came forward to assert themselves as gods. You did nothing to stop or harass them, in fact, some you even honored in public ways. There was Simon the Samaritan from Gitto. During Claudius Caesar’s reign, he (by the power of demons) did all sorts of amazing acts of magic right in the capital city of Rome. Did you persecute him? No, you built a statue in his honor on the river Tiber(right between the two bridges) with the inscription “Simoni Deo Sancto” (“To Simon the Holy God”)! Almost every Samaritan and people from all sorts of local provinces call him the “first god” and worship him. This you allow.
There was the woman Helena, the prostitute, who was living with him during his rise to fame. They call her “the first idea”, and say she was the living incarnation of his teachings.
What of Meander the Samaritan from Capparetaea, who was a follower of Simon. He followed in the same pattern of using magical arts to trick people into submitting to his doctrines while he was in Antioch. Remember him? He told people they would never die if they followed him. There are only a handful of those who believed that line who are still alive. This you allow.
There was the man of Pontus, Marcion, who is alive today and teaching gullible people to believe in some other god who is supposedly greater than the Creator. He is so empowered by evil spiritual forces that he has a huge following of people who buy into his teachings of some different, hidden god who is greater than the Creator of all things.
You will find many of these people calling themselves Christians, but as we said before, just like many who don’t follow the disciplines of philosophy will call themselves philosophers, likewise many call themselves Christians who are not. I have a treatise I’ve written previously, exposing all these false doctrines. I can make it available to you if you’d like to read it. Whether these false followers of Christ do the things you’ve accused us of, such as arson, sexual orgies or cannibalism, I don’t know. What we do know is that they aren’t being arrested or put to death because of their opinions, but we are.