The relationship between Christianity and Islam

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

Only by understanding the lost Eastern Christianities can we understand where Islam comes from, and how very close it is to Christianity.

Such incorporations of older faiths continued long after the initial spread of Islam. Asia Minor, for instance, had been Christian for twelve hundred years by the time the Muslim Turks secured political dominance, and many old Christian families survived, albeit as social inferiors. Women particularly tended to keep old beliefs alive, as they had neither the duty nor the opportunity to operate in the public sphere, where they would have been forced to reveal their religious loyalties on a daily basis. Christian women could pass on older ideas within the household, among the serving classes, and even to the children of Muslim masters. As late as the nineteenth century, many rural Turks who considered themselves faithful Muslims insisted on getting their children baptized, to safeguard their physical and spiritual health. In much popular Muslim practice, we hear the echoes of older voices.
——Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia——and How It Died, p. 38

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