Some historians say that any old cult could have taken over the western world had the emporer just enforced it’s practice. Christianity just happened to win the lotto. That’s more baloney though. We lose sight of how incredible it was since we are 1700+ years removed from it. We don’t realize how special Christianity really was back then and still is now, besides repeated attempts by modernism to write it off as just some slightly interesting psychological phenomenon. As Hart puts it in several places, Christianity may be the only true revolution the western world has ever experienced.
What is beyond debate is that by the time of the last great persecution and of Constantine’s ascent to the purple, Christians may have been a minority in the empire, but they were a strong minority, large enough to seem both a treat and a credible alternative to the ancient customs of the pagan world. Whatever might have happened had imperial history taken another turn…what did happen – what had been happening by that point for centuries – was that untold thousands of pagans chose to abandon the ways of their ancestors and to embrace a faith of so radically different a nature that they were obliged to leave almost everything proper to their old religious identities behind. This required not merely a change of habits but a total conversion of will, imagination, and desire. Why, then, did it happen? What made the new faith, and even the risks that attended it, so very preferable to a world of beliefs and practices that had endured with profuse and solemn majesty for millennia?
-David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies, p128