In "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon blames Rome's demise, at least in part, on Christianity. He wrote, "The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged, and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister [and] a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion ..."
Gibbon was making the same argument that the pagan critic Celsus made more than 1,500 years earlier. Arguments that most historians have largely rejected. Still, like zombies in "The Walking Dead," the idea that Christianity destroyed the classical world and ushered in the "Dark Ages" is a notion that refuses to stay dead.