I have been posting about apostasy, the act of deserting a faith, whether voluntarily or under coercion. But apostasy could be public, while people held on to other views in secret. This is an ancient issue in the Christian story, and so are the attendant issues of discipline and theology.
The New Testament includes several passages demanding the open proclamation of faith, at whatever cost. As Jesus warned, anyone who failed to acknowledge him in this world could expect no recognition on the Day of Judgment (Matt. 10.33). The Letter to the Hebrews was equally unbending about forgiving apostasy or “falling away” (Heb. 6.6-8). But not all Christian believers could or would live up to such absolute demands, and many resorted to subterfuge and clandestine faith. They became secret or crypto-Christians.
Crypto-Christians - Centuries - Muslim - Rule - Conversions
Crypto-Christians survived for centuries under Muslim rule. After the great conversions of the fourteenth century, mainstream Egyptian Muslims never knew quite what to make of the new Coptic converts, whom they called not Muslims but masalima—“pseudo-Muslims” or even “Muslim-ish”—and they treated them with suspicion. As a cynical preacher complained:
Now look at those who embraced Islam, inquire.
Them—in - Mosque
Do you find them—any one of them—in any mosque?
If they say they became Muslims—where is the fruit of their Islam?
They were never seen to pray, never fasted or went on pilgrimage:
Or else—you say—they are not Muslims. Then why is poll tax not exacted from them, humiliation not imposed upon them?
Middle - East - Families - Communities - Turkey
Across the Middle East, crypto-Christian families and communities were regularly rediscovered in Turkey and elsewhere, long after their supposed acceptance of Islam. The best-recorded examples are found in the Balkans—in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania—where hidden Christians maintained links through activity in seemingly Muslim religious activities, especially through certain Sufi orders. Observers commented on the practice of double faith (South Slavic dvoverstvo, Greek dipistia). One Macedonian congregation, complete...
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