October 25, 2007

Why Muslims Follow Christianity

What is the appeal of Christianity to Muslims?  It is impossible to understand global politics in the developing world these days without understanding the role and force of religion.

Why Muslims Follow Jesus.  The results of a recent survey of converts from Islam.

In fact, and perhaps counterintuitively, the number of new Christians each year outstrips the number of new Muslims, even though the annual growth rate is higher for Muslims (1.81 percent) than for Christians (1.23 percent). Over the last century, Christians have grown at a slower rate than have Muslims, with Muslims increasing from 12 percent to 21 percent of the global population during that time. But this is hardly surprising. Christianity has more total followers than Islam.

The top reasons why.

1. Seeing a lived faith.  The lifestyle of Christians was the most important factor.
2. The power of God in answered prayers and healing. Dissatisfaction at the type of Islam they had experienced.
3. The gospel message, especially its assurance of salvation and forgiveness.  Particularly attractive was the love expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus.
4. Subconscious influences

it's hard not to notice that Iranians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, and Algerians became more responsive after enduring Muslim political turmoil or attempts to impose Islamic law.

Even now, Chinese Christians who now number 80 million are rapidly growing and expected to quintuple over the next three decades to embrace one-third of the population. 

Islam in China remains the religion of the economic losers, whose geographic remoteness isolates them from the economic transformation on the coasts. Christianity, by contrast, has burgeoned among the new middle class in China's cities, where the greatest wealth and productivity are concentrated.

Chinese missionaries believe they are called are now being trained to evangelize the Muslims back to Jerusalem. 

The most audacious even dream of carrying the gospel beyond the borders of China, along the old Silk Road into the Muslim world, in a campaign known as "Back to Jerusalem". As [Time correspondent David] Aikman explains in Jesus in Beijing, some Chinese evangelicals and Pentecostals believe that the basic movement of the gospel for the last 2,000 years has been westward: from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Antioch to Europe, from Europe to America, and from America to China. Now, they believe, it's their turn to complete the loop by carrying the gospel to Muslim lands, eventually arriving in Jerusalem. Once that happens, they believe, the gospel will have been preached to the entire world.

Thousands are already in the Mideast as technicians and ordinary workers and many practice evangelism on the side.

Posted by Jill Fallon at October 25, 2007 10:57 AM | TrackBack | Permalink