Islam was founded during an epoch when the weakened remnant of the Roman Empire had been “Christianized.” However the official Christian church was largely under the control of a corrupt and decadent empire and became associated with its evil deeds.
Further, the church had become the sponsor of idolatry. Many “sacred” objects, such as bones of saints and relics of the cross, were considered to have magical powers. Although the objects themselves were usually of questionable authenticity, church leaders exploited them to manipulate the superstitious masses.
When Mohammed observed the church and the “Christian” rulers of his day, he saw that they violated the very principles they claimed to uphold. Considering the flagrant corruption and idolatry of the Christian world, it isn’t surprising that he and other early leaders of Islam assumed that every aspect of Christianity, including its Scriptures and key doctrines, was corrupt.
As Muslim armies swept through “Christian” lands they found that they were often welcomed as liberators. The astonishing speed of their conquests, along with their conviction that they were restoring the pure monotheism of the Bible, gave them even more confidence that their mission was God-ordained and blessed.
In more recent times the nominally Christian nations of the West have established political and military dominance over the Muslim world, from Morocco to Indonesia. Again, association with the often violent and exploitive policies of “Christian” colonial powers sullied the image of Christ. Further, in recent years the decadent values of Western secularism have disrupted the lives of Muslim people who had lived in relative harmony with their beliefs for hundreds of years.1
Today, just as few Christians are familiar with the Koran, many Muslims are unacquainted with the Bible. If they live in a Muslim society, all they are likely to hear about the Bible and Christian doctrine are misleading distortions based largely on cultural memories of conflict with the Western world.2
1. Conservative Christians are painfully aware of many of the negative effects of secularism in the modern world, including the breakdown of family life, the glorification of immorality, and the legalization of abortion. It is important to consider the negative effects of the massive influence of Western culture in the past century.
“Historically, over many decades, Christianity and Judaism made their own accommodations with modernity. The process produced further divisions and differences among them: liberal, fundamentalist, and evangelical Protestantism; orthodox, conservative, reform, and reconstructionist Judaism; orthodox or traditionalist and liberal Catholicism. Catholicism was for some time a distant third to Protestantism and Judaism in dealing with modernity. Until the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, pontiffs had condemned much of modernity — including modern biblical criticism, democracy, pluralism, and women’s rights. Despite change, all of the children of Abraham continue to struggle with modernity. The global resurgence of religion is driven by a desire of many well-educated believers of different faiths to rethink and reevaluate the relationship of religion to modernity. Many question the excesses of modernity, trying to reassert a faith and values that limit the unbridled use of science and technology, the sexual freedoms that weaken family life, the emphasis on individual rights rather than on responsibilities, or the accumulation and maldistribution of wealth.” pp. 123-124, Unholy War, Terror in the Name of Islam by John L. Esposito (Oxford University Press) Back To Article
2. Further, it is an unfortunate fact that in most nations with Muslim majorities, conversion to faith in Christ results in extreme social ostracism, or even in imprisonment or execution. “At birth, a person is marked either Moslem or non-Moslem depending on one’s descent. One’s religion is therefore marked on his or her birth certificate, identity card, and/or passport. Furthermore, a non-Moslem can easily become a Moslem, but not the reverse. This is why there are unknown visible churches of Moslem converts to Christianity. Converts do exist, but they are in small numbers, meeting secretly.” (Billy Kim, President of the Baptist World Alliance) Back To Article