The Global Spread of the Religions of Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism

Most religions tend to be culturally specific, meaning that they only appeal to those with certain cultural profiles. These do not spread beyond their culture of origin. World religions, however, are religions that are widely accepted, with followings in a plethora of physical and cultural environments Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism were three world religions that were seen as unusual in aspiring to be universal, and in becoming global. Christianity is the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and the Savior of humankind Islam believes that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet, Buddhism is centered on four noble truths, including suffering is always present in life, desire is the cause of suffering, freedom from suffering can be achieved through nirvana, and the Eightfold Path leads to nirvana, The faith of these three world religions was spread in four different ways: through war, Lrade, missionary activity, and elite sponsorship, War, the most hostile of techniques, was used in that time to force conversion to a faith Buddhism does not believe in using force in order to coerce and instead focuses on peace.

Nevertheless, there are cases of Buddhism being forced onto others through a royal reignt King Anuruddha, for example, showed his devotion by waging war on the Mon kingdom in order to gain possession of Holy Scriptures.

Christianity is forbidden by the law of the Catholic Church, however, it has used force in the past. Conquerors would abuse religion to justify war, and then imposed worship along with a promise of peace.

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One such case of violence in Christianity is that of Olaf, King of Norway, who massacred, mutilated, and blinded pagans who refused to accept the faith. Islam was the main utilizer of the powers of war. The Arabic word jihad denoted war both in the sense of inner struggles with evil, and real war fought against Islamic enemies. In chapter nine of the Quran, it legitimates war against all polytheists and idolaters. Another term used for jihad is holy war, which means an enterprise sanctified by obedience to what are thought to be the Prophets commands and rewarded by the promise of martyrdom, who go straight to t e highest rank of Paradise, nearest to the throne of God. The Quran implies the just ication of war and a direct link from war to the spread of Islam, Along with war, trade was also a very powerful technique for the spreading of religion.

The Si k Roads were very significant during this time, allowing for merchants, soldiers, and otter travelers of the time to be immersed in a communication system unlike any other. The Silk Roads allowed for the spreading of culture and religion. Merchants woud rest at Buddhist monasteries along this road, and be completely immersed in a new faith and its ways of life. Also, many works of art depicting religious traditions woulc align the road, influencing the reach of the religion. In contrast, Christianity was not as successful along the Silk Roads. Few Christians engaged in long» range trade, an the majority feared persecution from non-Christian rulers. Islam was elite in the trade along the sea routes of maritime Asia and across the Sahara. As Muslim merchant communities dispersed, they were able to found their own mosques, elect their own holy men, and often times simply attracted locals to join them. Although it was not spread far inland, Islam was most likely the most influential religion of the East African coast.

Through missionary activity, the three world religions were able to reach people of all different classes with their faith, Christian missionaries often aimed to convert those in high positions, so that they would then convert those beneath them Once Christianity began to obtain popularity, joining became an act of “hopping on the bandwagon”, or joining the growing common culture, Similar to this, it was normal for religious allegiances to change with political alliances. Buddhist missionaries also showed a preference for royal and imperial disciples. Buddhism was favored by those who wanted to usurp the Chinese throne and legitimize their rule, and for monarchs in need of a propaganda machine It was first introduced in Koguryo by Chinese refugees, which then led to the conversion of the kings of Paekche and Silla. After that, an image of Buddha was gifted to Japan by Korea, which was followed by the fear that Buddhism would act as a foreign intrusion and a menace to the imperial rites. The advances of Buddhism, however, were irresistible and rapid expansion occurred under royal patronage in India, the Buddhas homeland, Buddhism failed due to Hinduism taking hold.

The Karakhanids were the first Turkic people to subscribe to Islam, due to the favorable impression they received from raiding lslamic territory, The Turks would then provide Islam with expertise in war and manpower. Violence then became central to the Islamic culture: boys weren’t named until they first murdered, heroes were judged on their ability to plait their mustaches behind their heads, and even women were trained in war. Although it was not practiced much by Muslims during this period, one of the main strategies used to spread Islam and Christianity was the conversion of kings, emperors, and other royals, They learned that by targeting the top of the society, more people would follow suit, as they followed the example that the power of leaders imposes. Several forms of culture “trickle down” from the king’s influence, and this especially includes religions.

Three main conversions impacted the spread of Christianity: that of the Roman Emperor Constantine, King Ezana of Ethiopia, and King Trdat of Armenia. After these rulers accepted the Christian faith, the majority of their citizens adopted the religion as well. Elite sponsorship in Islam was centered in Turkic areas of Central Asia Altigin, a Turk who had converted to Islam while serving as a slave in Persia, founded a Muslim state at Ghazni in Afghanistan. Another significant conversion to Islam was that of Seljuk, a Turkic chief whose descendants supplied some of the most effective frontiersmen in the Islamic world. Ultimately, the world religions of Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism were more influential and impactful than any other religion. War spread these faiths through violence and force, and trade spread them through communications and religious immersion Missionaries spread faith far and wide, and elite sponsorship led to religion being accepted by higher influence. All of these techniques proved successful and helped to build these three world religions to their global state.

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The Global Spread of the Religions of Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. (2022, Oct 08). Retrieved from

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