Did you know early believers were persecuted for being atheists?
Since the early Christians refused to believe or acknowledge the Roman gods, the primary charge against them was one of atheism, and in Roman culture that was a serious matter.
You see, the Romans were a very pious people who (unlike the Greeks) really believed in their gods. They believed one had to sacrifice to and worship them in order to avoid disaster, and if disaster came it was because the gods were not pleased.
The early Christians, by their refusal to bow knee to the false gods and goddesses of Rome, put themselves in position to be easy scapegoats anytime some sort of disaster struck. The Romans believed their refusal to worship put the entire community in danger, and this is why persecutions against the early Christians often followed a Roman loss in battle or a natural disaster like an earthquake. The gods were displeased, and it was the Christians’ fault – they had to be punished!