Translated from the German by Oscar A. Fechter, with a foreword by J. Estlin Carpenter, M.A.
religion had become a rigid temple ritual, which offered but little comfort and hope to the weak heart of man. In the eyes of the majority of the philosophers of the age every religion was only pernicious superstition, good enough for the masses, but scarcely worth consideration by the cultured. That Celsus made the Christian religion the object of serious treatment and refutation, not only implies a subtle and unprejudiced view of his age, but shows us at the same time how the Christianity of that period, entirely independent of the Jewish religion, had gained in significance, and had even in the eyes of a heathen philosopher begun to be esteemed as something important, as something dangerous, as something that had to be combated with philosophical weapons.
Christianity is especially indebted for its rapid spread to its practical side, to the energy of its love, which was bestowed on all who were weary and heavy laden. Christ and the apostles had understood how to gather around them the poor, the sinn