This book explores issues of cultural tension that affect Muslim and Christian interaction within the Central Asian context. It looks at the ways that Christians have interacted with Central Asian Muslims in the past, and discusses what might need to be done to improve Muslim-Christian relations in the region in the present and future.
Since the time that Nestorian Christian missionaries traveled eastward from Asia Minor along the Silk Road, and Islamic cultures came to the region in the 7th century, Christians and Muslims have shared a unique relationship in a fascinating cultural milieu. Under the reigns of various conquerors, Czars, Soviets and modern nationalist strong-men, the ever changing political and economic situation of these former Soviet Republics has dramatically affected the ways that Muslims and Christians have practiced their faith. Today, as Muslims and Christians work to stabilize their interactions, they face new challenges because of the activities of Protestant Christian and Islamist missionaries who are flooding into Central Asia as never before.
The book corrects common misunderstandings of Central Asia as a cultural backwater, and is a valuable introduction to Muslim and Christian interactions in one of the most quickly changing regions of the globe. It will appeal to readers interested in Muslim-Christian interaction, and for researchers in the field of World Religions, Central Asian Studies and Intercultural Studies.
Table of Contents
1. "The Steppe is Cruel and Heaven is Far" 2. Central Asia- "A Great Sea of Land" 3. Central Asia’s Ethnic Mosaic: An Interreligious Perspective 4. A History of "Triumphs and Disasters" 5. The History of Christianity in Central Asia 6. Russians and Central Asian Muslims: "Eagle and Sickle against the Crescent" 7. Islamic Missionaries and the Islamicization of Central Asian Society 8. Post-Soviet Protestant Missionary Efforts in Central Asia 9. Central Asia and the New Geopolitical "Great Game" 10. Central Asia Tomorrow: Earthquakes of Transition. Epilogue: The Future of Central Asia’s Muslim-Christian Relations
A. Christian van Gorder is Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has also taught at Messiah College in Pennsylvania and the Yunnan University in Kunming, China. He is the author of No God but God: A Path’s to Muslim-Christian Dialogue on God's Nature, and co-author of Three-Fifth’s Theology: Challenging Racism in American Christianity.