Those who sought to spread Christianity, Buddhism and Islam encountered a couple of similar obstacles throughout their mission. The most obvious problem, and most significant, was the challenge of converting people from their existing beliefs. Despite the fact that Christianity, Buddhism and Islam perpetuate vastly different traditions and cultures, they used similar methods to convert people to their religions.
Some strategies Christians utilized to convert people where to recruit from the “top-down”, coercion, and accommodation. The strategy to recruit from the top-down banked on the assumption that converting powerful people to Christianity would cause the ordinary people follow (479). This was a successful strategy as proven in the document History of the Franks. In this story, once the King of the Franks was converted to Christianity he had all 3,000 of his men baptized as well (501). Another strategy used was Coercion. This entailed using force or threats to convert people to Christianity. Coercion was an extreme strategy used, although it was inarguably effective in some cases (479). In the case of another King of the Franks, outlawing Saxon’s older religious practices eventually lead to the native peoples’ acceptance of God (503). In contrast to coercion, a gentler strategy used was the accommodation of the existing beliefs in the region. The blending of religions allowed traditionally pagan people a transitional period for converting to Christianity. The validity of this strategy is evident in the document 10.5 which illustrates the blending of the native pagan beliefs and Christianity (505). This persistence of past traditions intermixing was also evident in the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine...
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...an traditions in general (422).
Through the use of common methods these religions effectively spread across kingdoms and empires. The accommodation of the existent local beliefs was something that Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam all had to adhere to in some form. However, the allowance of the blending of the local religion with the new one was something only Christianity and Buddhism allowed. Additionally, the use of coercion was a method used only by Christianity and Islam. The fact that all three of these religions used such similar methods to spread their theologies in extremely interesting. Christianity, Buddhism and Islam have inarguably different doctrines, yet the way in which they gained popularity is eerily similar. Despite their differences in theologies, their similar journeys whilst spreading their religion will always remain a point of similarity.
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