Islam rivals Christianity in its “travel” around the world. But the spread of Islam looked different than the spread of Christianity.
Os Guinness talks about differences between Christianity and other religions in an interview with Justin Brierley a few years ago. He made a statement that Christianity is the only “traveling religion”.
He observed that Hinduism began in India and remains primarily in India. Buddhism began in India and remains primarily in India and Eastern Asia. Islam began in the Middle East and remains primarily in the Middle East. Christianity, however, began in the Middle East. Then it moved to Europe; and then it moved to North America; and now Christianity is growing fastest in Africa and Latin America and Asia.
While I think Guinness overstates the case little bit, he got me thinking about the how the major world religions have spread. For instance, Islam, which rivals Christianity in numbers, grew very rapidly during the life and immediately after the death of Muhammad. It spread throughout the centuries into Europe and down into Africa and more recently across Southern Asia.
Islam rivals Christianity in its “travel” around the world, but the spread of Islam happened very differently than the spread of Christianity. This is the significant fact, in my opinion – not so much that Christianity has traveled through all the world like no other religion. (Though it has.)
Continue reading “Significance in the Way Christianity Spreads”
An unprecedented number of Muslims are turning to Christ in the 21st Century.
I have been “collecting” the stories of people who became followers of Jesus from all sorts of different backgrounds, including different religious backgrounds. Some of the more interesting and compelling stories are from former Muslims.
The sheer number of former Muslim testimonies is amazing. In fact, Muslims turning to Christ in the 21st Century is a global phenomenon. It’s happening all over the Muslim world. Whole communities are turning to Christ and becoming followers of Christ. This phenomenon is unprecedented over the 14 centuries since the birth of Islam.
In previous centuries, Christian areas were turned wholesale into Islamic areas by conquest and coercion. Even today, the Muslim religion is growing faster than Christianity, but that is first and foremost a matter of demographics – Muslims have more children than any of the other major religions in the world.
In addition, the same coercive practices that grew Islam in the previous centuries are in operation today. While conquest isn’t broadly practiced as it was in previous centuries, strong prohibitions exist in predominantly Muslim countries and areas that inhibit people from leaving Islam. Families disown former Muslims and, in extreme cases, kill them. Those same inhibitions extend even into the west where the same cultural influences discourage leaving Islam or denouncing Islam.
For that reason, the testimonies of Muslims who become followers of Jesus Christ are remarkable and poignant. Afshin Ziafat’s story is such an example. His father disowned him immediately when Afshin admitted that he has become a Christian as a young man in Houston. The decision cost him his father and his family.
One of the hallmarks of the Muslim turned Christian phenomenon of the 21st Century is the way in which so many former Muslims become Christians. A very high percentage of those stories include experiences like visions and dreams of Jesus. Even Islamic radicals and ISIS jihadists have had these experiences that changed their lives. You can watch them tell their stories in their own words on the Muslim testimony page and Muslim/ISIS testimony page.
I am going to do something a little different in this blog. I often weave other people’s presentations and thinking into my articles, but, in this one, I am going to lay out another’s person’s presentation in its entirety.
No one topic, perhaps, in all the world today has demanded more of the world’s attention than the happenings involving radical Islamic terrorists. This article is not going to attack Muslims; neither is it going to defend them. Rather, if you will listen to each of the segments, it will help you to understand Islam and Christianity in comparison to each other from the viewpoint of a man raised a devout Muslim of Islamic missionary parents.
Continue reading “Islam & Christianity Through a Former Muslim’s Eyes”