Good Example Of The Rise Of Christianity Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Religion, Islam, Muslim, Christians, Church, Jesus Christ, Middle East, Crusades

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/28

[Class Title]

Islam, Christianity and Impact of Crusades

Introduction
Christianity and Islam are two of the major religions in the world that has a long history of conflict. But despite their hostilities towards each other, these two religions share a common origin. Christianity and Islam, for example, are both Abrahamic religions as well as monotheistic. But despite their similarities, the deep conviction of their faithful has somehow resulted to one of the biggest tragedy in human history and that is the series of crusades or the so-called Holy War that happened between the members of these two major religions. For the same reason, this paper would like to study how Christianity and Islam emerged and become two of the most widely practiced religions as well as examine their conflict during the crusades.

The origins of Christianity can be traced with the birth of Jesus Christ, which is also the start of the Christian era. Technically, the Christian religious movement did not start until Christ started his ministry in the first century. The ruling Romans, however, are quite tolerant of cults and religions within their empire. In fact, there are several polytheistic oriental cults that exist and persisted during the early years of Christianity under Roman rule the most notable of which are the cult of Cybele, the cult of Isis and Mithraism. According to the narrative of the Christian bible, Christ was born in Bethlehem, a small town in the present day West Bank. During the time, the region is under the rule of the Roman Empire. It should be noted that Christ does not consider himself as part of a distinct religious movement but rather he consider himself as a Jew. However, his teachings come in conflict with the teachings of Judaism when he claimed that he was the messiah or savior. While Jesus has a considerable number of followers during his lifetime, most Jews, however, does not believe in his teachings. Some Jews just do not mind Christ and his converts while others find them as troublemakers and destroyers of peace most particularly the Jewish authorities; the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Jewish authorities tried to suppress Christians by persecuting them especially their leader, Jesus Christ whom, according to the Christian bible, was crucified through their persistence. The death of Christ, however, did not suppress Christianity. In fact, it was after the death of Christ when Christianity embarked on a massive conversion campaign through Christ’s apostles and followers the most notable of which was Saul of Tarsus who was later on called as Paul. Paul’s ministry did not only center on the Jewish community in Asia Minor. As documented in his episcopal letters in the New Testament, Paul evangelized those who were once practicing oriental pagan religions whom he call as the Gentiles and converted them into Christianity. The Christian religious movement as it grew has met little resistance with the Roman Empire. Perhaps it is because their members are not as other religious denominations in ancient Rome and perhaps because Christians remained largely as a clandestine movement in the first century. Also, the Romans may have focused their attention towards the Jews, who by the time, has been increasingly unruly. Eventually, the Jews revolted against the Roman Empire that led to the siege of the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. . Yet another Jewish revolt took place in 132 A.D. led by Simon Bar Kokhba, whom the Jews believe then as the real messiah. Still, the Romans crushed the rebellian and destroyed Jerusalem to the ground, marking the start of the Jewish diaspora. While the Jewish stronghold have been totally destroyed, by the end of the 2nd century, Christianity has already gained a foothold in Asia Minor including a number of converts in the city of Rome, itself. Christianity rapidly spread throughout the Roman Empire in the second and third century but it was not until Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity as the official Roman religion that Christianity grew into prestige and it eventually became global in sphere and influence.

The Rise of Islam

Islam, whose lexical meaning is submission or adherance to the command of Allah, is believed to have been founded and established by Muhammad in 570 A.D. . Born from a ruling family in Mecca, Muhammad first preached Islam when he was 40 after a vision from the angel Gabriel who proclaimed that he was God’s prophet. It should be noted though that Muhammad was a trader by profession and may have been influenced by Jewish and Christian religious views that he might have heard in Mecca and in other cities in the East. This influence is quite apparent in the many similarities between Christian and Islamic traditions. One particular example is the monotheistic approach to religion. Just like Jews and Christians, Muhammad also preached that there is only one God and that he alone should be worshiped. Also, just like Christians and Jews, Islam believers also traces their ancestral lineage back to Abraham, the patriarch who is believed to have lived in the Ur of Chaldees somewhere in the Bronze Era . Christians and Jews, however, claim that they are decendants of Isaac while the Muslims claim that they have decended from Abraham’s son Ishmael. Muhammad’s new religious movement was initially denounced in Mecca and he was forced to migrate together with his close family and some of his converts to Medina, a key city in north Africa. Muhammad was well-received in Medina and has converted most of the Arabs in the city to Islam. He also established a Muslim state in Medina as well as conquered Mecca after a brief skirmish. After the fall of Mecca, Muhammad eventually established a caliphate and united most Arabs under his rule.

The Crusades

The crusades were a series of wars between the European Christians and the Muslims as they battle for control of the Holy Land in Palestine. Although there were several contacts with Christians and Muslims prior to the crusades, it was during the crusades when the hostilities between Christians and Muslims eventually deepened. Also prior to the crusades, Muslims have embarked in a series of expansion after the death of Muhammad. By the 8th century A.D., the invading Muslims has already taken a huge area of the Byzantinne Empire and has been rapidly establishing a foothold in the Palestine area. Christianity, on the other hand, has already gained a strong following in Europe as Monarchs have been converted to Christianity. The start of the crusade can be viewed in two major perspective. One is the religious aspect while the other is the political aspect of the crusade. The religious view of the crusade is for Christians to free the Holy Land from the control of the Muslims who has already established a stronghold in Palestine. On the other hand, some scholars believe that Pope Urban II, the first Pope to call for a crusade, was concerned that the expansion of the Muslims will go unchecked and would eventually displace the Byzantine Empire. Each major players in the crusades, however, has their own personal agenda. European kings, for example, percieves the crusade as an opportunity to extend their rule to new territories in the east while also hoping to gain new territories and wealth for their kingdom. Some nobles, on the other hand, are looking to have exciting adventures and perhaps pillage on the wealth of the east. Muslim rulers, on the other hand, has territorial ambitions as well aside from the conviction of spreading their faith. So while some may consider the crusades as a Holy War, the crusades are more similar to imperialism although it is only concealed by religious reasons.

Conclusion

Christianity and Islam are two religions in the world that has emerged out of the persecution from society. Even so, these religious movements grew and eventually become two of the major religions in terms of membership and influence. Christianity and Islam may have several similarities and differences but it was the history of hostilities that started during the crusades has deepened the conflict between these two religious movements. However, underlying the notion of a Holy War were personal motives that has driven the rulers on both sides such as political and economic gains. It can be deduced then that the crusade is not purely religious but rather a conflict of interests that resulted to a stalemate between Christianity and Islam.

Works Cited

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Galwash, A. The Religion of Islam. n.d. April 2015 <http://www.islamicbulletin.org/free_downloads/new_muslim/the_religion_of_islam_vol_1.pdf>.
Johnston, S. Ancient Religions. 2007. April 2015 <http://www.evolbiol.ru/large_files/ancient.pdf>.
Judaism 101. Mashiach: The Messiah. 2011. April 2015 <http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm>.
Mitchell, H.B., & Mitchell, J. "Did Christianity Liberate Women?" Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History. n.d. 79-80.
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