I got into a debate recently, and I couldn’t find any information to help my point (which is to say I lost). I did find a thread over here with a reply from Trent Horn, but it wasn’t enough to bring down my opponent’s argument.
This is the gist of it:
The New Testament was specifically designed by Romans to quell their constant wars (300 BC to 70 AD) by inventing a passive Jewish prophet. You have no idea how annoying it was to constantly reconquer Judaism as a Roman. Nothing short of eliminating Judaism was an option.
It was designed to make the warlike Judaeans absolutely repulsive to the common man. And what more repulsive than to attribute to them the murder of an innocent man.
By the end of 70 AD, and the second destruction of the Temple, the zealot Jews were wiped out and eventually replaced by the (1) the “Christian” Jew and the (2) Rabbinical Jew. These were passive non-War like Jews who accepted Rome’s rule.
The only remaining vestige of pure Judaism (as practiced from 300 BC to 70AD) is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus’ account of the Jewish Wars.
They even allowed New Testament paraphernalia and text to circulate for centuries. And why not? The New Testament is great Roman propaganda. See Matthew 27:
The Jews all answered, “Crucify Jesus!” (Matt 27:23)
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, he … washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” (Matt 27:24)
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (Matt 27:25)
In one hilariously unrealistic conversation, the Jews condemn themselves and the Romans are described as wise and just people. Why WOULDN’T you want this book to survive?
The Romans never intended on converting the orthodox Jews into Christians. The New Testament was forward-thinking propaganda. It was a prophylactic for future generations designed to do two things
(1) Make Zealot Judaism SO unattractive that it forced Jews to reinterpret their religion in peaceful terms (i.e. Rabbinical Judaism)
(2) Make Christianity more attractive to newcomers.
The bottom line is that Romans never really cared if you were Jewish or Christian. They only wanted a population they could control.
I also said “If the Romans had these plans, why did they persecute Christians?” His response was:
“Christians were persecuted by local authorities on a sporadic and ad-hoc basis, often more according to the whims of the local community than to the opinion of imperial authority.” - Wikipedia
In other words, the majority of Christian persecution was done locally. Imperial authority (i.e. the Caesars and the Flavians) had very little motivation to harm Christians, because like I said earlier, Christians “give to Caesar what is his” (Mark 12:17)
There is actually no real evidence that “Christian-Jews” were persecuted. Or at least, not to the extent that is popularly conceived.