A reader named Moiz sent us an email this morning that raised some interesting issues. I’ve bolded some items that may be worth discussing:
I do not know what the fuss is about considering the gung ho and forced conversions of the Christians and their missionaries during the few centuries before the 20th.
It was the result of Western colonialism that allowed Christian missionaries a free hand or rather they latched on to imperialists and traders of the west.
Now rather the things seems to be going the other way. Shame really. The weaker side gets it in the end.
gung ho and forced conversions of the Christians
There’s no denying that forcible conversion played a role in the spread of Christianity, particularly in Northern Europe. The historical record on such conversions is extensive.
But how crucial was forced conversion to the spread of Christianity? The first three or four centuries of Christian proselytizing occurred against the resistance of the political authorities, often under conditions of brutal oppression. How then does one explain the appeal of Christianity under those circumstances?
In contrast, Islam spread via coercion from its earliest days, following the example of Mohammed. Until Malaysia and Indonesia were proselytized five or six centuries after its founding, no significant Islamic expansion occurred peacefully. The Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, North Africa, Iberia, the Balkans, Persia, and the Mogul areas of India were all subdued and converted to Islam via unimaginable slaughter and destruction.
during the few centuries before the 20th
Where is the documentation for any mass forced conversions to Christianity in recent centuries, say from the 18th century onwards? Does any exist?
result of Western colonialism that allowed Christian missionaries a free hand… they latched on to imperialists
There is some truth to these assertions. European colonial expansion afforded a measure of protection to Christian missionaries who ventured far from home into what otherwise might have been dangerous locales.
They were also aided in their proselytizing by the manifest superiority of the Western colonizers they accompanied. Europeans were more powerful than their colonial subjects. They had more advanced technology, medicine, and agricultural methods. They were a confident and vigorous civilization.
They could only be perceived as the “strong horse”, and this fact helped persuade millions of colonized people to convert to the religion the newcomers brought with them.
Which brings us to the final point:
The weaker side gets it in the end
Yes, this is true. Osama bin Laden was correct: the West is now perceived as the “weaker horse”, and rightly so.
Until we reverse our cultural weakness — if indeed we ever do — we can expect that more people will convert into Islam than out of it.