Christianity within the Context of Historical and Contemporary Expansionism (1)

Historical Wars of the Empires

Historical wars of the empires, violent religious and political conflicts, and persecutions of religious adherents inaugurate expansionism and enable the spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. One cannot discuss the expansion of Christianity without the Western-initiated missionary movement. The explosion of Christianity in the twenty-first century is a profound development that has transformed the world’s largest religion. It calls for a paradigm of the hegemonic view that perceives Christianity as a product of imperialist expansion. I examined the role played by the three religions in contemporary expansionism to discuss the critical factors to the massive growth of the universal church. Their roles activate the desire for spiritual, moral, and cultural influence over the entire world. Their theologies show God and His Character to the whole world. The expansionism of these religions could have established sustainable peace in the world, but the contrary is the case.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all born in the Middle East, called “Abrahamic religions,” because they trace their history to the Biblical Abraham and are inextricably linked. Christianity is born from the Jewish tradition, and Islam developed from Judaism and Christianity. The three religions are the most influential in world history, and they all claim Jerusalem to be the holiest city in the Holy Land. While Judaism is not as large as Christianity and Islam, its impact on the world is still profound.

Palestine is home to the Jews and Judaism, Christians, Christianity, Muslims, and Islam. Palestine is situated at the hub of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. It covers a region of the Eastern Mediterranean Coast from the sea to the Jordan valley and from the southern Negev desert to the Galilee lake region in the north. Palestine though small was an important one that every power wanted to control: powers like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Rome wanted to control Palestine. Consequently, Palestine was involved in political and religious conflicts.

Jesus was born at this time in a fractured and fractious political and religious environment in Palestine. The Jews believed God was about to fulfill the messianic prophecies by sending the ‘Messiah’ to sweep away the wicked kingdoms of human sovereignty and fill the earth with righteousness. The people anticipated fierce conflicts with those in power, but Jesus said he did not come to destroy the wicked kingdoms of this world but the Kingdom of Satan.

Amid Jesus demonstrating and declaring his mission, there was an inevitable conflict with the Palestinian leaders’ culture, religion, and politics. With the inception of Islam in the 7th century A.D, the earliest community of Muslims saw itself in continuity with Jews and Christians. The Ottoman Turks, non-Arabs but religious Muslims, ruled the area for 400 years (1517-1917). Under Ottoman rule, the Palestine region was attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. The name Palestine was revived after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and applied to the territory in this region that was placed under the British Mandate for Palestine. [1] The name “Falastin” that Arabs today use for “Palestine” is not an Arabic name. It is the Arab pronunciation of the Roman “Palaestina.” [2]




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