Spread Of Christianity And Islam In Africa

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Spread of Christianity and Islam in Africa


Religion has become a major topic in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Christianity and Islam, the two largest religions in the world appear to be competing for influence across the world. These two world religions have also substantially increased their numbers in Africa.

A strange historical significance seems to surround the Africa. It has served as the birth place for many cultures and religions. Its Fertile Crescent contained one of the earliest culture hearths where civilization developed.

Islam and Christianity in Africa

It is important to note that the figures in this study are only estimates. However, it is also clearly important to study the religious breakdown of Africa, a continent with almost 11.7 million square miles and a total population as of July 2003, estimated at 857 million and projected to be just over a billion, 11 years from now in 2015. The purpose of this study is influenced by the fact that the new focus on religion around the world after September 11, 2001 has made it even more important to continue to closely study the differences in the religious make-up within the different regions of Africa (Barnard 52). This is especially important for students, government officials, and the general public and religious and experienced scholars of Africa who could find similarities or contrasts within the data. The purpose of this study is also to contribute to the long-term collection of such religious statistics so that they may be readily available to the public as people attempt to understand the impact of Christianity and Islam in Africa.

It is also important to point out that, although there are a number of religions in Africa, this study focuses primarily on the overall numbers and percentages of Christians, Muslims and Africans who continue to practice indigenous religions. Other religious groups are therefore classified as "Other." Furthermore, generally speaking, the study does not present a breakdown of the various denominations within Christianity or Islam.

Christianity existed several centuries prior to the birth of Islam, and by the time Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) founded Islam in the Middle East, Christianity had moved its centre to Europe, where it had firmly established itself as the official religion. But Christianity originally sprouted in the Middle East after Christ's resurrection in A.D. 30. The church began in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, and it initially preached the Gospel only to the Jews. It grew quite rapidly for a time--in fact, the book of Acts records the conversion of 3000 Jews in a single, extraordinary day. during this early period, however, Christianity did not expand far beyond Jerusalem and its vicinity. That would soon change. After the first few years of relative peace for the church, a terrible persecution broke out following the stoning of Stephen. Jewish leaders hunted down the followers of Jesus (PBUH) and threw them into prison. At this time many in the church scattered to the surrounding countryside of Judea and Samaria. Christianity's worldwide expansion was ...
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