The early church spreads by proclaiming the Gospel. In the pluralistic Greco-Roman world, as it is now in some sense, early Christians were regarded as "atheists" because they denied that the other gods of the nations were truly gods.
It is in this light when we read of the martyrdom of Polycarp. Polycarp was the disciple of the Apostle John, and was martyred by being burnt at the stake for his faith. In the trial, it happened as follows:
While he spoke these and many other like things, he was filled with confidence and joy, and his countenance was full of grace, so that not merely did it not fall as if troubled by the things said to him, but, on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his herald to proclaim in the midst of the stadium thrice, “Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian.”
This proclamation having been made by the herald, the whole multitude both of the heathen and Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the overthrower of our gods, he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods.”
In light of the pressure in society towards pluralism, and so-called "religious tolerance" and "harmony", it is instrumental that we know what Polycarp was charged with and what our faith is about.
Remember these verses:
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)