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Bar-Aram
post Jun 28 2006, 08:42 PM
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What religion, would you say, was the first to spread itself through war and conquest, and what religions in all have done this through history? Why? And is this a trait inherent in a certain religion, or a certain class of religions, or just a matter of coincidence when it happens?

(Note that I know that war and religion have allways been closely tied together with special gods for war and such, but I'm asking about wars for the sake of spreading once religion to others by conquering and then converting them.)
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necrolyte
post Jun 29 2006, 01:02 AM
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QUOTE(Bar-Aram @ Jun 28 2006, 08:42 PM) *

What religion, would you say, was the first to spread itself through war and conquest, and what religions in all have done this through history? Why? And is this a trait inherent in a certain religion, or a certain class of religions, or just a matter of coincidence when it happens?

(Note that I know that war and religion have allways been closely tied together with special gods for war and such, but I'm asking about wars for the sake of spreading once religion to others by conquering and then converting them.)


The first I can think of is Christianity-certainly the first major religion today to have done it. Zoroastrianism was not forcefully converted on people to my knowledge until after the Romans converted to Christianity and began forcefully converting people. Possibly the Jews? Bhudddism was not spread by the sword for a while, and I dont think Hinduism ever was. East Asian religoins-Taoism, Shinto and Confucaism, I dont think had any theological basis in forceful conversion in that they were not strict theologies that excluded the possibility of the other religions near them, which is why syncretism is so common there.
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Thor of the Orange Hammer
post Sep 20 2006, 09:24 PM
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The correct answer is Islam.

But noboy wants to hear that.
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Lab Rat
post Oct 5 2006, 06:26 PM
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Depends whether you're asking whether the war and conquest was directly because of spreading religion, or just a byproduct of nations passing on their beliefs to whoever they conquered.
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JLord
post Oct 5 2006, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE(Thor of the Orange Hammer @ Sep 20 2006, 03:24 PM) *

The correct answer is Islam.

But noboy wants to hear that.


Well the founding of Islam is pretty well linked with war. Of course, they did not convert people forcibly and many would argue that the war was in self defence, not to spread a religion. Wheras Christianity was spread by force and many were converted by force throughout the world. Although the forced conversion comes after you've already taken over a place, so you could say that part was unrelated to the war in some cases. But I'm not sure when the first Christian holy war was relative to Mohammed's wars.
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ro4444
post Oct 7 2006, 04:02 AM
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QUOTE
and many would argue that the war was in self defence


What?
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necrolyte
post Oct 7 2006, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE(Thor of the Orange Hammer @ Sep 20 2006, 09:24 PM) *

The correct answer is Islam.

But noboy wants to hear that.


I see, so the founding of Islam in the 600s AD occured before the brutal opression of Pagans and forced conversions to Christianity after Rome switched faiths in the 300s AD? I wish I had your chronological skills Edward, I would have never guessed that.
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ro4444
post Oct 7 2006, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE(necrolyte @ Oct 7 2006, 04:32 PM) *

I see, so the founding of Islam in the 600s AD occured before the brutal opression of Pagans and forced conversions to Christianity after Rome switched faiths in the 300s AD? I wish I had your chronological skills Edward, I would have never guessed that.


Assuming that any Imperial actions taken toward weakening the pagan establishment within the Empire somehow counts as "war", way to ignore the fact that for the three centuries prior to Constantine, it was the other way around with Christians frequently subject to persecution (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif)
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necrolyte
post Oct 8 2006, 02:35 AM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ Oct 7 2006, 09:38 PM) *

Assuming that any Imperial actions taken toward weakening the pagan establishment within the Empire somehow counts as "war", way to ignore the fact that for the three centuries prior to Constantine, it was the other way around with Christians frequently subject to persecution (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif)


I never said the Pagans never opressed the Christians, but that's no consolation to both the Pagans of the 3rd century, the Manicheists, and the various other religious groups in the area.
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ro4444
post Oct 8 2006, 04:17 AM
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QUOTE(necrolyte @ Oct 7 2006, 10:35 PM) *

I never said the Pagans never opressed the Christians, but that's no consolation to both the Pagans of the 3rd century, the Manicheists, and the various other religious groups in the area.


And yet you still managed to avoid answering the most pressing question: what does all this have to do with the topic at hand, namely conversion through warfare?
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necrolyte
post Oct 8 2006, 08:40 AM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ Oct 8 2006, 04:17 AM) *

And yet you still managed to avoid answering the most pressing question: what does all this have to do with the topic at hand, namely conversion through warfare?


Because the question itself is flawed (no offense to BA), the warfare itself doesn't spread religion. Its the opression involved when the battles have been won.

Anyways, it seems Arianism and Niceaism were being spread by warfare (and its pretty clear who won that bout).
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Russian
post Oct 8 2006, 08:46 AM
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if you believe the old testament then it was the jews. I am specifically refering to the book of judges and the israelite destruction of the canaanites.

The book of judges in its instructions on waging war as well as its description of events is probably more violent then the koran. Except the book of judges is a retelling of history while the koran is seen as an actual guide.
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Skunk
post Oct 8 2006, 04:26 PM
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Jlord: How was the arab/Islamic conquest of the middle east, spain, and parts of central asia self defense?
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necrolyte
post Oct 8 2006, 08:35 PM
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QUOTE(Russian @ Oct 8 2006, 08:46 AM) *

if you believe the old testament then it was the jews. I am specifically refering to the book of judges and the israelite destruction of the canaanites.

The book of judges in its instructions on waging war as well as its description of events is probably more violent then the koran. Except the book of judges is a retelling of history while the koran is seen as an actual guide.


That more describes genocide, as opposed to forced conversion :-p.
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ro4444
post Oct 8 2006, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE

Because the question itself is flawed


No it isn't, unless you want to play a really dumb game of semantics here.
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necrolyte
post Oct 9 2006, 03:29 AM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ Oct 8 2006, 10:05 PM) *

No it isn't, unless you want to play a really dumb game of semantics here.


Well, its an important question. How do you define a "War to spread religion"-any war with some religious motivation? Any war where a result was conversion? A war specifically with religious backing? Some definitions could exclude certain conflicts.
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JLord
post Oct 10 2006, 08:49 PM
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QUOTE(Skunk @ Oct 8 2006, 10:26 AM) *

Jlord: How was the arab/Islamic conquest of the middle east, spain, and parts of central asia self defense?


Good question. Since i never said it was self defence it might not be able to provide an answer. But first of all, I was talking about the battle Mohammed fought. People say that he never forced his religion on anyone and that he fought to defend his followers. Same with Spain, people say that they never tried to force people to change religions. They just took over. At least according to many people, but I'm no expert.
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Bar-Aram
post Oct 12 2006, 01:45 AM
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Wow, I didn't realize people finally ended up discussing this.

Necrolyte is right. (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) My question was aimed at getting a certain answer (and studying the reaction).


It's all because of this debate I was in, in the LF forum at the time:

http://www.lebanese-forces.org/vbullet/sho...ead.php?t=18539


(I'm 'Libertarian' over there. Sorry Lib. (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) )


I still think Islam was first, if only because the late Roman Empire was too busy keeping itself from being devoured to think about conquest.
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Christian
post Oct 12 2006, 07:23 AM
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I would argue that rome and the pope have been trying to subdue people to Christianity more then any other religion both with the sword and without.


There is a reason Christian missonarys sweept over the new world africa and asia in the 1400-->.

Sure Islam had spread rappidly since 600, but christianity after 1300-1400 started to spread more rapidly.


The Pagans in Europe was put to death, and was forced to convert.

Many kings agreed out of conveniance (and they where probably not that devout) but the people refussed and was killed in large quantitys.

For example it was in sweden/norway/finnland forbidden to be a pagan untill i think from 1300 to late 1800, under the death penalty for anyone that was caught, and paganism was still a big faith here untill 1600, becuse it was popular.

Sweden launched several "crusades" against Finnland to forcefully convert them to christianity, and kill those that refussed.

Middle east crusades, the inquisition and all the missionarys that went with the explorers and traders, had often the help of the traders/raiders to convert people.
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Bar-Aram
post Oct 12 2006, 04:52 PM
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QUOTE(JLord @ Oct 10 2006, 10:49 PM) *

Good question. Since i never said it was self defence it might not be able to provide an answer. But first of all, I was talking about the battle Mohammed fought. People say that he never forced his religion on anyone and that he fought to defend his followers.


And the only version we have of that story is the one supplied by Muhammed and his followers, so I'd be a little careful about trumpeting it as fact. The pagan Arabs are no longer with us. They were wiped out by Muhammed & Co. Something tells me they'd have a different perspective on the events.
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necrolyte
post Oct 14 2006, 06:34 PM
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BA-alternatively, they all converted peacefully (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif) from what I read, they converted by clan, and there were enough financial incentives that all the big clans ended up converting. Some of the major Muslim leaders were the people who thought Muhammad was a loony.

Christian-The question is the first, not the worst. Christian treatment of Pagans was atrocious, as was their treatment of other Christians of different sect (See-Cathars). Then again, I think some of the Byzantine wars against barbarian kingdoms can count, and possibly the Sassanid-Byzantine wars to a lesser extent.
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Bar-Aram
post Oct 14 2006, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE(necrolyte @ Oct 14 2006, 08:34 PM) *

BA-alternatively, they all converted peacefully (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif) from what I read, they converted by clan, and there were enough financial incentives that all the big clans ended up converting. Some of the major Muslim leaders were the people who thought Muhammad was a loony.


Well, I think the Qur'an makes it clear that that was many times not the case. The question is if the other side was consistently the aggressors, as the Qur'an states, or not.

This post has been edited by Bar-Aram: Oct 14 2006, 07:36 PM
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ro4444
post Oct 15 2006, 06:32 AM
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QUOTE
Then again, I think some of the Byzantine wars against barbarian kingdoms can count


No.

QUOTE
and possibly the Sassanid-Byzantine wars to a lesser extent.


Definately not.

This post has been edited by ro4444: Oct 15 2006, 06:32 AM
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Ferran
post Oct 15 2006, 06:45 AM
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From what I heard from my spanish teacher, who's actually from spain, the arab invastion of europe wasn't so much a crusade to spread the word. As she said it, they just invaded mostly for the sake of invasion and didn't really mess all that much with the culture -- at least in spain.
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necrolyte
post Oct 15 2006, 07:13 PM
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Arab Muslims mostly tried to convert via tax incentives. I think they figured out early on that you can't really force someone to convert (unless you're a Zoroastrian, they forced a lot of them to convert).
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Bar-Aram
post Oct 15 2006, 09:59 PM
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Christians and jews were Dhimmis ("protected"). Which means that for the most part, once they agreed to surrender to the armies of Islam and accept Islamic rule, they had to abide by a set of rules but were otherwise reasonably tolerated (unless they rebelled, of course).

On the other hand, those who weren't "ahl-l-Kitab" ("people of the book") were treated harshly unless they converted. Sometimes, like in India, the sheer number of "polytheists" meant that the rulers had to settle for having a large number of them as their subjects, unconverted, but it was matter of realism, not tolerance.

Also, if you look at the list of rules that the jews and christians had to abide by, you'll see that many of them (especially those added on later during the crusades) are clearly intended to slowly convert them over time.

For example, a muslim woman was not allowed tomarry a non-muslim man. However, a muslim man was allowed to marry a non-muslim woman, and she would be allowed to keep her religion, but all the kids had to be raised as muslims. You can do the math and figure out where that system was meant to lead.

Also, no new churches or synagouges were allowed to be built and no repairs were to be made without permission from the authorities. I'm sure you can easily figure out where that would have lead as well had it been strictly enforced in all areas. (It's no coincidence that many of the areas where christian minorities have survived to modern days are mountain areas that were difficult for the muslim rulers to extend their authority over at all times.)


So, make no mistake about it, extension of Islamic political rule, in the long run, meant extension of the Islamic religion.

Other religions at the time would do the same things, of course, and without making distinction between religions like the muslims did. At the same time though, the Crusades into the Levant (the "Holy Land") did not (unlike those into eastern Europe) have much to do with conversions. A few minor attempts were made and were quite unsuccesful. The land was still majority (though narrowly) Christian at the time, anyway.
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Forben
post Oct 20 2006, 09:33 PM
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so... i'll put my foot in my mouth (yet again), why no mention of china/japan/monguls..... ??? I mean they do lay claim to some of the oldest civilization.
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necrolyte
post Oct 21 2006, 02:51 AM
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Forben, their expansion was mostly self-interested.

BA-however, they did not simply expel or execute other religions, as Spain did (with the obvious exceptions of some Pagans.) However, the Yazderi in Kurdistan are a great example of a minor group of pagans that have survived 1,000 years of Islamic rule. Same with the Zoroastrians. Only the Buddhists were really targeted of the major religions today I think. In Africa, Muslims didnt even bother to try to commit mass conversions, only the nobles were really Muslim (Timbuktu comes to mind-Muslim city ruling a kingdom of millions of Pagans.)
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Thor of the Orange Hammer
post Oct 22 2006, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE(Russian @ Oct 8 2006, 04:46 AM) *

if you believe the old testament then it was the jews. I am specifically refering to the book of judges and the israelite destruction of the canaanites.

The book of judges in its instructions on waging war as well as its description of events is probably more violent then the koran. Except the book of judges is a retelling of history while the koran is seen as an actual guide.


The Jews did not force conversion. What they did do especially in the case of the Philistines was teach lessons to stay away from foriegn women. Samson and Delila comes to mind.
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necrolyte
post Oct 23 2006, 05:35 AM
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QUOTE(Thor of the Orange Hammer @ Oct 22 2006, 09:52 PM) *

The Jews did not force conversion. What they did do especially in the case of the Philistines was teach lessons to stay away from foriegn women. Samson and Delila comes to mind.


Dude they fucking slaughtered the Canaanites (IMG:../forums/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif)

At least from what I remember, I havent read the bible since I was tiny.

This post has been edited by necrolyte: Oct 23 2006, 05:35 AM
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