The video above depicts the growth and spread of the world’s two largest religions over a span of 2,000 years. Represented in white and green, respectively, Christianity and Islam spring up from obscurity in the Middle East to morph into globe-spanning juggernauts.
It was produced last year by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, a rather grandiosely named Christian ministry based in Tennessee, as an accompaniment to a supposedly historically accurate map that depicts the “Spread of the Gospel.” A note on the ministry’s website cites biblical scripture, pitching the map as a “beautiful visual reminder that ‘the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world … is bearing fruit and increasing.’ ”
Real historians will doubtless find plenty to quibble about with the broad sweep of the canvas that this video represents. And, to be sure, this ministry doesn’t exactly have an objective approach to the history of Islam — in another post on its website, it looks forward to Syrian refugees being disabused of their “Muhammedan way of life.”
The video begins with the Roman empire and shows Christianity sprouting up on its margins, then spreading elsewhere. Islam follows suit a bit later, moving rapidly through the crumbling Byzantine and Sassanian empires, through North Africa and into parts of Europe. They both inexorably expand thereafter.