How Christianity and Islam took over the world, in 90 seconds
A recently released video supposedly depicts the growth and spread of the two largest religions in the world, Islam and Christianity, over a span of 2,000 years, in just 90 seconds.
Produced last year by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, a Christian ministry, based in Tenessee, the video shows the ‘Spread of the Gospel’. Christianity and Islam, represented in white and green, respectively, are shown to spring up from obscurity in the Middle East to morph into globe-spanning juggernauts.
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The video starts with showing the Roman Empire and the growth of Christianity on its margins and then spreading elsewhere. Islam starts spreading a little later, moving rapidly through the crumbling Byzantine and Sassanian empires, through North Africa and into parts of Europe. After that, both the religions continue to expand simultaneously.
Historians, however, might have much to complain about considering the broad sweep of the canvas that this video represents. In any case, it is clear to see that the ministry has a biased view of the history of Islam, since a post on their website claims how they are looking forward to Syrian refugees being disabused of their ‘Muhammedan way of life’.
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The spread of Christianity is grossly exaggerated, especially in Asia, as it was never a major religion farther East. It was, in fact, present through small communities of traders and missionaries. In the same way, India as it is depicted in the last frame of the map is hardly a Christian nation. The same can be said about Islams’ role across vast swaths of Africa and Southeast Asia in the centuries after its birth.
A note on the ministry’s website cites biblical scripture, pitching the map as a “beautiful visual reminder that ‘the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world … is bearing fruit and increasing.’ ”