The state of Christianity today is briefly positioned against the rise of Islam in the West. However, Paul also gives a global perspective. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.
The Confrontation Between Islam and Christianity: Some Historical Perspective.
All the best documentary evidence from the 7th and 8th centuries (the brief few generations when Islam triumphed over Christianity in the Middle East) suggests that Islam triumphed so unexpectedly because the Christians had lost vital interest in their inherited faith.
Serious Christians were divided into mutually hostile camps by the doctrinal disputes of the past. Even as commitment to the creeds had succumbed to a secular spirit among the ruling elites a sort of tribal spirit kept alive suspicion against other denominations (as in Northern Ireland in our own time) and it was this that prevented the taking of united measures of moral and intellectual defense. Intellectual vagueness made for easy compromise on the teaching of Scripture. A spirit of “openness” to alternative religions and a weaknesses for religious novelty and superstition characterized the nominally Christian world precisely as the rigorous unbending doctrines of Islam appeared in their midst.