Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mathetes to Diognetus Chapter 5 Part 2

In the 5th Chapter of his Epistle to Diognetus, Mathetes attempts to describe a typical Christian:
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly paradoxical method of life.
In other words, there is no real way to classify a Christian by normal, societal means. They defy the normal stratification of human society. To quote St. Paul:
Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth′ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. — Colossians 3:11

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28
For those interested in power, this is a very dangerous idea. Power is gained and maintained by pitting artificially created groups against each other.

In context of an FRPG, this suggests that Christians can be found in all walks of life, including those who walk in such circles as the imperial family. Thus, one of the first questions that I asked at the beginning of this series (Is Diognetus sympathetic to Christianity?) seems to be answered here in the affirmative.

Given the horror show I spun out of the phrase that Christians “do not cast away their fetuses,” Diognetus now appears as someone truly horrified by what he has witnessed walking through the upper echelons of society and wishes to find out more of Christianity to see if it is a more agreeable way of seeing and living in the world.

This also means that Christian NPCs can be sprinkled everywhere in the campaign, possible creating a very interesting espionage feel to the background noise of a campaign. Should PCs be Christian, they’d be constantly tested to see if they could be trusted and then secretly allowed in to various parts of society. If the PCs aren’t Christian, then they could possibly be constantly be spied upon.

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